Some of the faces blessed by Aussie Mums!

The Aussie Mums 4 Indo Kids Christmas campaign was all about sharing Christmas generosity with children and the city poor who never get to experience Christmas. So many of you added some children to your Christmas list, providing a present, lunch and a care pack to over 1250 kids in Indonesia! Here’s some of the faces of those who were blessed. We’d like to say THANK YOU and we hope you join us again next year!

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Giving Christmas to kids who never get one!

2015 was the first year of our Aussie Mums 4 Indo Kids campaign where over 140 Aussie Mums - Christmas lunch ran out_KFCreplacementAussie Mums gave so that Indonesian street children can get Christmas. These kids watch as the middle and upper class celebrate Christmas among themselves, and our Lifewords team thought it was not good enough to enjoy Christmas knowing that these kids go without. Surely we can make a difference – and we have!!

 

AussieMums - Christmas gifts2Over 1250 kids were blessed because of the generosity of Aussie Mums, who really know how to give great gifts at Christmas. In the Western world, we often make the mistake of circulating generosity among ourselves and forget those who have nothing! Not this year. $11,000 was raised to share with Indonesian Kids, and we’re sure that this is just the start. These photos show some of the kids who received a Christmas gift, lunch and a Care Pack containing toiletries and hygiene kits. When they received their gifts, so many of children were overwhelmed with the thought that people in another country would care for them and make Christmas special for them.

“I didn’t know I would get a present this Christmas. But them Mr Gunar came and we sang some songs with the group, ate lunch together and then received a present. It is my first present.” Assa, 12 yrs old

AussieMums - Christmas Gifts_GunarGunar (pictured) has felt so blessed that Aussie Mums would think that his ministry is valuable enough to support. They would honestly work with thousands of people living in shanty towns and city slums, and for them to be able to provide Christmas is a HUGE blessing to their ministry. And although the goal was originally $12,500 for 1250 kids, our team were able to make the $11,195 spread to still reach 1250 kids, even if the last few ended up with KFC boxes! But they were still happy, as it was the first time they had every had KFC!

One final thought: Our Lifewords team know these kids by name. They work with them week-in, week-out. They regularly bring rice and milk as they run education programs, outreach events and weekend ministry. To provide Christmas is like the icing on the cake to a fruitful year of ministry and hard work. Thanks so much for being part of it!!

 

AussieMums- Christmas gifts4

Aussie Mums for Indo Kids – Christmas Campaign

LAUNCH DATE: Monday, 9th November!!!

Aussies are generous and love giving gifts at Christmas. There’s plenty of feasting, gifts and happiness – and it’s great! Our Lifewords team in Indonesia are working weekly in poor communities, spreading that same love & generosity to street kids and orphans.

Last year, our Indonesian Director, Gunar, and a team of students wanted to bring Christmas joy to those who never get to celebrate. They took whatever funds they could muster up and bought gifts and lunch for the city poor who have to watch on as everyone else does Christmas. And, wow, what an impact for that community! The reality is that if Gunar and team had more funds, they could do the same for so many more. Here’s where we step in…

With a team of volunteers and a bunch of generous Aussies behind them, we can join Gunar and give Christmas to 1250 of the street poor who would be blown away by the love shared with them. It’s not that hard for us, but would mean the world to them!

We would love it if you joined the cause and helped make it happen. The action step is super-simple: $10 gives Christmas to an Indo kid. $100 = 10 kids. You get the drift. You would bless those kids MASSIVELY!! Better still, we’d love you to become an advocate and sign up for a “personal fundraiser page” in the top right corner here! Pick a target goal for yourself and get family & friends to join your cause as you become an Aussie mum for an Indo kid this Christmas.

View the campaign and join at www.aussiemums4indokids.causevox.com

UPDATES


 

WE’RE AT 200 KIDS!!! PLEASE JOIN US HERE

 

The passing of a supporter leaves a significant financial gap

We have been blessed to have amazing core supporters who give to our organisation monthly in order to see the general ministry continue. This is the part of charity work that is not glamorous – keeping the bills paid, the staff on board and the government happy. However, a number of people believe so much in what we do and the impact we make that they support the general work of SGM Lifewords so we can continue to do our mission after 127 years running.

Sadly, last month we lost one of our longest supporters of the SGM mission in Australia. This person was not highly verbal, nor did they want to be named as a financial supporter. They just wanted to see God’s word advance and liked that we had such a rich legacy of sending millions of scriptures around the world to areas that need it most. They gave us $250/month to contribute to our general funds, which helped immensely! That is so important for us at the moment, as we have been re-establishing our work in Australia and building up our support so we can not only be self-sustaining but also be a resource hub for the Asia-Pacific region!

Over many decades, the Lord has raised up different people to see his work continue. We have faith that as some go to be with the Lord, he will see the baton passed to the next generation. We are praying that God would stir people to support our work. Even the unglamorous of supporting us organisationally. We want to be a healthy organisation. We want to keep publishing scriptures and getting them to the thousands of people who can least afford them. It’s an exciting time for SGM Lifewords, and we are really taking ground. Our prayer is that you would join us in the mission and consider becoming a core monthly supporter, continuing the legacy that our dear friend has left for others to take on.

If you’d like to contribute monthly, please write an email with the subject “core support” at australia@sgmlifewords.com 

How does an Indonesian Bible College graduate get a job?

Imagine studying for 5 years and then having no job to go to!? This is the situation for many Bible College graduates who have a passion for reaching the lost and making an impact in their community.

Pak Jimmy studied theology for 5 years, feeling a call to do church planting and reach out to the poor. Last year, he graduated from the Moriah Theological Seminary and was teaching part-time at Pelita Dunia, the sister college that focuses on mission to the poor and church planting. He didn’t study his degree to teach in the College though; his heart is for those in the village areas who never receive the gospel.

“When I found the Lord, my life was changed. Jesus Christ changed my whole perspective and outlook on life. And he has called me to bring this same good news to others. I think of the people in the village I grew up in, and I just want to reach people like them. So many have nothing and not much hope, but I can bring hope in Jesus.”

Earlier this year, we wrote to you about Pak Jimmy, asking if anyone would support him as he starts a ministry in the area of Bumi Indah, Tangerang. In faith, he had already started a small school for primary-aged children who can’t get to a school. He had no money to even start that, so Pak Gunar Sahari (SGM Lifewords) and our team gave support to help him make a start. 4 College students are spending their “field ministry” year with him, teaching daily classes which now have 110 children attending. Now they have started a mid-week Bible study group with 40 adults attending, and Pak Jimmy is now ready to move his family into the community and work full time.

When we launched a student sponsorship program 2 years ago, we wanted to get alongside College students who were actively putting into practice the things they were learning. They are active every weekend with outreaches that reach and serve the poor. Most students are from poor communities themselves, and so we still actively support their work as we fulfil our SGM Lifewords mission to bring God’s life words to those who need it most.

Pak Jimmy was one of our first Lifewords’ sponsored students.

Now he is a mature graduate, the oldest in his class and a man with passion and authority. The amazing thing is that some Aussies have really got behind the vision and we praise God that a number of people made a response to the story and request to support Pak Jimmy. It’s exciting to think that we can have a part to play in a new generation of church leaders who are planting churches which are growing and reaching the lost and bringing hope to those who need it most!

Thank you for sharing this mission and burden for the lost. We see thousands of Bible booklets shared by these students and graduates. There are 5 more graduates who are starting ministries in the coming months, so if you’d like to join the mission, please don’t hesitate to contact dan.hardie@sgmlifewords.com to get on board.

How our Indonesian ministry shocked a supporter

There’s no doubt about it: our work in Indonesia is exciting. We’re reaching into poor communities; church planting in rural villages; equipping pastors and missionaries with our programs; and sending booklets far and wide.

Aussies seem to have a soft spot for Indonesia, perhaps because of our love for Bali as our favourite holiday destination, possibly because of the easy-going nature of the people or simply because it is our nearest northern neighbour. But SGM Lifewords’ in Australia have had a good response to the student sponsorship program (which supports poor Bible College students who are actually active in practical weekend ministry and using our programs and resources). We have also had wide interest in our work in rural villages and translating Scriptures into Supportersdifficult dialects; And certainly many have supported our Pavement Project among children at risk.

Recently, I (Dan Hardie) made an open invitation to anyone who would like to see the ministry first hand and we had 3 supporters join us. These were our Chairman Rob Reeve, one of our core supporters, Nick Cullen, and a young photographer, Matt Harwood who joined us.

What we did:

  • Within an hour of arriving at the airport, we were set to visit the church in the leprosy community. The ministry here is so grateful for our partnership and helping them with their mission.
  • We spent a day at the Bible College students at Pelita Dunia, our partner college where students volunteer with us. We were able to share from the scriptures, encourage them and hear about their individual ministry areas.
  • We were also able to join a Visible Story introductory session and meet all the Lifewords volunteers and staff. We shared prayer together and enjoyed the passionate Indonesian worship.
  • It’s not always comfortable to visit slum communities and the city poor, but we wanted to see the places where Lifewords’ volunteers do weekend outreach. Our Australian team prayed for people, shared scripture and encouraging messages with some of the widows, orphans and new church attenders. We heard some of their stories, gave some booklets and just sat with those in pain.
  • We had a visit to the new Church plant and primary school in the village area of Bumi Indah. The church planter (Pastor Jimmy) and 4 sponsored students use The Visible Story, Pavement Project and booklets, and think of it as an SGM mission project.
  • Of course, plenty of time was connecting with Gunar, Nia and the team.
  • We did eat snake, goat, Ayam, Ikan and rice. We thank God that all enjoyed a healthy tummy throughout!

At the end of the trip, I asked each visitor what they thought and how it had impacted them. Nick left me with the words,

“Dan, I gotta admit that when we went to visit that city slum, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that they could live like that, and yet, when we sat and talked with them, each one is just a normal person who has loved ones, enjoys laughter, loves Manchester United, and has just been dealt a dud hand. I love that Lifewords is right there in the mix, making a difference for them both physically and spiritually. Keep it up…”

There were plenty more reflections shared, and these might be beneficial to share at a later stage, but certainly we witnessed a small part of the New Testament instruction,

“Go into the world and preach the gospel…” 

Anzac Day – WW1 gospels well received

Testimony from ANZAC Day memorial, 2015:

Julie Alexander, Maldon Baptist Church

My husband, Gavin, and I distributed the WW1 replica Gospels yesterday at the Maldon (Victoria) Anzac Day RSL service held at the cenotaph in our town gardens. The RSL members were very agreeable for us distributing them to the crowd and were the instigators of us doubling our original order – they didn’t want anyone to miss out.

As people arrived for the service we explained what these Gospels are [as replica’s of the gospels that were given 100 years ago] and we offered them to individuals. Only two people said, “no thanks”. During the service, Gavin explained to the whole crowd [the significance of these gospels for troops who were facing life and death situations], and that these replica gospels were available.

It started to rain during the service so there was a mad scramble at the end, not just for shelter, but towards Gavin and I and the gospels! I’ve never experienced anything like it – Aussies clamoring for a copy of God’s Word! We made sure all the veterans received a copy, plus the officiating dignitaries, including our local state parliament Member. We had so many good conversations. One lady took one for her daughter who is currently serving in the Middle East. Some took an extra copy for family or friends unable to attend the service. An elderly lady said she even had an original! We gave one to the editor of our local newspaper and she said she would do an item about them in the paper.

We are praying that God’s living Word will be as eagerly opened and read, not just taken as a “collector’s item”.

God bless SGM!

Julie

Gavin & Julie Alexander
Maldon Baptist Church

Reg Hind: A Great Australian in War and Peace, founder of SGM Aust.

Reginald Hind – Saved from a bullet hitting a Bible in his coat pocket, later became the first Secretary of Scripture Gift Mission, Australia

Rumours have circulated for years about soldiers being literally saved by the thickness of a Bible in their breast pocket – but is there any truth to it? In the case of Reg Hind, not only is the rumour true, but it led to an incredible life devoted to the work of scripture and serving his fellow man.

Reginald Arthur Hind, 1897–1982

“A Great Australian in War and Peace” was the title of a prize winning essay written by Reg Hind’s grandson. The prize was presented by the NSW Returned Soldiers League. How was he great?

“Your gentleness has made me great” Ps18:35.

On completion of High School, Reg enlisted in the 6th Field Ambulance, not wanting to kill, but to actually save life. Upon deployment to Gallipoli, his father sent him off with the words from scripture: “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near to you.” Ps91:7. These were encouraging words for a young man heading to a war zone.

As a private at Anzac Cove, Reg had been noted by his officers for his bravery in serving his fellow man and in facing grave danger to rescue wounded soldiers. It was during this time that in his own effort to save others, the scriptures would save him in a most literal sense; the actual pages of a New Testament in his left breast had stopped a bullet from killing him. There was some recovery from his injuries, but Reginald Hind was to return to service.

The actual pages of a New Testament stopped a bullet from killing Reg

Later in France, now a Sergeant serving at Pozieres, he was recommended and received a Military Medal “for valued service … he has proved himself a gallant soldier and a fine example of endurance and devotion to duty to his men”. Reg had rescued men from a gas barrage under heavy enemy fire.

The following year, 1917 in the battle of Polygon Wood near Ypres, Reg left his men in safety, and under heavy machine gun fire and shelling, located the Ambulance Post which had moved forward with the fighting. He brought up his stretcher bearers and evacuated the wounded who had been there for 48 hours. For this he received a Bar to his first Military Medal, but was severely wounded during this action and was evacuated to Hospital in England.

War memorialLetters received from Reg’s commanding officers assured his father that his son was the “whitest man in the unit” and “his fine physical condition” would see him recovered from his injuries.

By God’s saving and keeping power the shrapnel had peppered beside the spine but not the spine itself. And although arteries were severed, packing of the wounds staunched the flow, infection did not ensue, and over time healing occurred. This however was significant enough to have Reg invalided out of the Army.

Reg had proved his Lord trustworthy and lived in dependence on Him.

Come World War ll, leaving a good position, Reg again went to war. This time, his aim was not only the saving of men during this life, but also for eternity. As a Welfare Officer, at Greta Soldier’s Camp NSW with Open Air Campaigners, he ran a welfare hut where the men could relax, write home, play games, listen to music and above all hear the way to life through Jesus. On the wall of the welfare hut was an etching of a soldier kneeling before the Cross with the caption, “We kneel only to Thee”.

Many soldiers were comforted, encouraged and saved through the Scriptures being read and explained in quiet talk and formal services.

A post-war Reg soldiered on in peace time! He became an evangelist and preacher for the Brethren Assemblies and participated in some church planting. He later became the first Secretary-Director of SGM Australia (now SGM Lifewords), passionately sharing God’s word, printing it and making it available to whoever needed it. He would bring in Bible booklets, testaments and portions that were tailor made to unique audiences, and thousands were given to the armed forces each year. Reg continued to promote the Word of God which in early life he had come to know and rely on its life giving power.

Reginald Hind was the father of Nan and Marg Hind, long-serving members of the SGM Council, faithful to the gospel and instrumental in the beginnings of SGM in Australia. SGM continues to serve the Armed Forces today, giving tens of thousands of scripture portions to chaplains for use in service.

Special thanks to David and Marg Hind for the article contribution and photos.

WW1 Gospels given in Gallipoli and more…

The response to our World War 1 replica gospels has been outstanding. Over 25,000 copies have been ordered in the past 10 weeks in Australia alone, with gospels set to be given at many ANZAC services including the Gallipoli dawn service, on the 25th April 2015.

The Royal Australian Navy chaplains have been equipped with 7000 of the WW1 replica gospels and are sending them on ships around the world. These will be given at ANZAC Day dawn services and shared with servicemen who spend months at a time away from home. Chaplain Walker from the Fleet Base East Sydney (Garden Island) told us,

Navy chaplains“It is such a blessing to have these gospels to help us share God’s words of truth and comfort. These books are so well designed and have a compelling historic link to WW1 serving soldiers. Even servicemen who have very little religious background are interested in receiving and reading these pocket gospels. These will become part of our regular distribution for new recruits and others who are searching for faith and meaning.”

It is thanks to those who gave to our Booklet Appeal last year that we have been able to supply more than 25,000 copies in Australia. That appeal gave us funds up front to be able to print and ship these, and now people are continuing the generosity by either giving for the books they received, or donating so that more can be printed.

SGM Lifewords will have these gospels available as a feature product for the whole 100 year WW1 anniversary period, from 2015-2018 in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

War, wounds and words of life

Bishop John Taylor Smith was the Chaplain General to the British Forces during the First World War. He was often to be found at the front line talking to officers and their men. He wanted to understand the conditions in which they lived, fought and died.

Taylor Smith was deeply concerned for the spiritual and moral welfare of soldiers, both in the training camps and at the front. “His job”, writes his biographer, “was to see that no man went into the trenches without having close at hand some word which would help him in the hour of danger and in the close approach of death…”. His chief question to prospective chaplains was: “What would you say to a man fatally wounded but conscious, and with only ten minutes to live?”

Bishop John Taylor Smith at the War Office, 1915

Bishop John Taylor Smith at the War Office, 1915

Bishop Taylor Smith had been a member of the council of the Scripture Gift Mission (SGM) since 1910, and later was to become the President of the mission. During the War, he ensured that each soldier was given two pocket-sized, durable booklets: one a copy of the Proverbs and the other a copy of the gospel of John. They were well received and valued by most troops.

As they read the life-giving words of the gospel, “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31), many found the Saviour.

Forty three million items of Scripture were distributed during the course of the war. Each New Testament and each gospel concluded with a decision form based on the words of John 1:12,

‘Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

As the war proceeded and tens of thousands of men were killed, their simple belongings, as far as practicable, were returned to their loved ones. Many letters were received at the office of SGM indicating that men had written their names at the end of the decision form with the date, in some cases only a few days, or even a few hours before their death.

In this, the centenary year of Anzac involvement in WW1, SGM Lifewords has reproduced a replica of the gospel of John that Bishop Taylor Smith shared. Over half a million copies have been distributed in the UK as the nation paused in sombre remembrance of the sacrifices made a century ago.

It is our hope and plan in 2015 as Australia and New Zealand remember the Gallipoli landings, and the epic battles on the Western Front in the years following, that we may be able to get a copy of this gospel booklet into the hands of many who may not otherwise read it. You may find our article on “7 ways to use the War Gospel” helpful in sharing it in your own context.

If you would like a sample copy or to order multiple copies, please contact the office, australia@sgmlifewords.com

Blessings,

Chairman Rob Reeve with wife Lorna

Chairman Rob Reeve with wife Lorna

Rob Reeve, Chairman SGM Lifewords Australia-NZ