Managing the Bible distribution centre may not seem like the most obvious method of Bible mission, but for the past three and a half years, Lim Kok Meng, Manager of the Bible Resource Centre (BRC) has been doing exactly that. The BRC is much more than a simple distribution centre, however — it is the hub of operations for the Bible Resource Network (BRN). Kok Meng’s work with the BRN is a vital part of the Bible Mission, as it makes the Word accessible to people from many different language groups by collecting Bibles from a wide variety of languages and distributing them to people who need the Bible around the region.
TAKING THE WORD TO THE REGION
Kok Meng has been involved in leading some of the Bible Society’s Bible mission trips (see page 23 for more info on our BMTs) to the Chinese cities of Anhui, Nanjing, and Yunnan, where the team participated in distributing Bibles to Christians in the area.
“We believe that the Bible is God’s message to the world… [and] contains the truth of God’s love and redemption for everyone and that without it nobody can fully understand the purpose of their (lives). That is why… we are committed to making it available and affordable to all people everywhere.”
We often take for granted the ease with which we have access to the Word, but for some countries that BSS supports, restrictions and sensitivities make having the Bible available for sale a real challenge.
Kok Meng is often reminded of the clear call to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel (Mk 16:15); and notes that working with the United Bible Societies connects BSS to 146 other Bible Societies around the world and often opens doors to get the right translation to the right people.
SUPPORTING THE LOCAL CHURCH
Kok Meng is very involved in the raising up of satellite bookstores around Singapore, as well. The inspiration for these bookstores came from the idea that “one of the most important things Christians can do in their walk with God is to be continually learning and growing in their faith.” This desire has led to the Bible Society partnering with churches to set up bookstores that are run by the church but supported and resourced by the Bible Society. Since a percentage of the proceeds go to funding both their mission fund and the global Bible Mission, these bookstores provide a wonderful opportunity for churches to build up their members and support missions simultaneously.
With all these tasks at hand, Kok Meng’s favourite part is still knowing that “the Bibles and resources that go out will be used by God to touch someone.” He maintains that his job is not just selling books, but “the ministry of distributing Bibles, books and Scripture resources in as many different ways and situations as possible.”
If you’d like to know how you and your church can get involved in a satellite bookstore, resource partnership, or Bible mission trip, email email@example.com
MOBILISING THE MASSES TO SHARE THE WORD
Even after these resources are made available through translation and publishing, they may still not reach the hands of the people. This is usually due to one of two reasons: the mission field is an area with restricted access (geographically, politically, etc.), or the people are too poor to afford a Bible.
One such individual is Ni, a man in rural China living on the poverty line. He received his first Bible as a gift but eventually gave it away to someone in greater need. Ni has gone on to give away five Bibles to those poorer than him, and the Lord has faithfully provided another for him each time.1
Worldwide Bible Distribution
The Bible Society has been involved in Bible distribution efforts in Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The work is ongoing in many of these countries, as well as Nepal, India, Egypt, and Paraguay.
On average, 32 million full Bibles are successfully distributed each year under the banner of the United Bible Societies so people like Ni can have access to their own Bible. Collectively, we reach close to 5% of the world’s population yearly, after including the distribution of New Testament and Scripture portions.
While Singapore is better off than most countries in South-East Asia and there are many Christian bookstores, the Word is still not accessible in many pockets of society, which includes ex-offenders and migrant workers. To overcome this, we have initiated a number of Bible distribution projects within Singapore.
Local Bible Distribution
Within Singapore, we have been at work on various projects, such as specialised Bibles for the Filipino migrant community and the Free on the Inside Bible for Prisoners, as well as multilingual Easter and Christmas Scripture tracts.
Most notably this year is the publishing of the SG50 limited edition Jubilee Bible in partnership with the Jubilee Day of Prayer committee. Over 51,000 people attended the JDOP celebration, and each received a copy of the Jubilee Bible. Another 4,000 Jubilee Bibles were distributed to those involved in GoFest Singapore, and a representative from the Bible Society helped conduct a workshop on effective Bible Distribution.2 Participants from both events were encouraged to give these Bibles to their pre-believing friends and families.
You can be a part of this effort to distribute the life-changing Word of God to even more people, both within Singapore and beyond. These Jubilee Bibles are still available for a small donation to encourage your own distribution efforts. Donations will go towards the production and distribution of foreign-language Bibles to bless the migrant workers in Singapore. To join us in this mission, visit bibleresource.net/donateJubBible.
1 Source: Bible Society Australia
2 If you’d like a copy of the workshop materials for church use, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org