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

Help a Bible student fulfill their calling in 2015

Many Bible College students in Indonesia struggle to make ends meet and have no support from Muslim family and friends. So last year, SGM LW arranged a sponsorship program where we help them with their education and mission work. Well new recruits have arrived, and so has our opportunity to bless them!New students

With just $55 per month, a sponsorship with SGM Lifewords means a student will receive:

– Resources, training and transport for their field mission work

– A contribution to meet their daily needs, accommodation, supplies.

– Significant contribution to the college fees and tuition.

Dozens of students are being helped through SGM Lifewords, with Australians building close relationships with students who are serving the Lord. If you would like to be part of reaching Indonesia and helping young students fulfill their calling simply pop an email to dan.hardie@sgmlifewords.com for information and a student profile.

 

7 ways to use the WW1 Gospel of John

Have you seen our WW1 Anniversary edition of John’s Gospel? It was created for the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Here are ten ways you could use it in your community.

1)     ANZAC day events – RSL clubs, churches and many others have been ordering these gospels to give away at ANZAC day services. You could also use our two minute silence video.

2)      Open churches – If your church is open to visitors, leave some WW1 Anniversary Gospels on a display rack for people to take away, especially if your church has a connection to local regiments or a war memorial.

3)      Schools – Schools throughout the country will be marking the anniversary of the war in various ways. Use the gospels and these corresponding lesson plans from Scripture Union to learn about the Gospels and what they meant to those who received them.

4)      Youth groups – Show our short film ‘Hill 63’ to raise the question of what people would be prepared to die for. Then read the story of ‘Singing Jim’ that’s in the Active Service Gospel as a real-life example. Teens have been happy to receive one of these relic-looking gospels.

5)      Scout and cadets – These groups are often involved in ANZAC day and other military or civic events. We’ve already heard from cadet chaplains planning to present young people with an Anniversary Gospel.

6)      History societies – there’s a fascinating story to the pocket Gospels and the soldiers who received them. We’ve sent stories and images to some interested groups already – just get in touch if you’d like to do a presentation and give Gospels away.

7)  Armed forces chaplains – Navy, air force and army chaplains are using thousands of these Anniversary Gospels with those in active service. Pray for them and encourage them! And if you are involved in chaplaincy work, feel free to contact us for gospels that you can also use.

The “Active Service: Gospel of John replica” can be ordered at www.australia.sgmlifewords.com/order-resources/

Booklet Appeal: Provision for 40,000 Bible resources

Thank you to those who have prayed and/or generously contributed to our Booklet Appeal throughout the Spring months! You have made it possible for us to provide 40,000 new Bible booklets! Booklet stack

SGM Lifewords has had a significant period of growth in Australia-New Zealand over the past 12 months. An increasing number of people, churches and ministries have been coming to SGM Lifewords for Bible booklets and other scripture resources. We have seen a dramatic rise in the number of people using God’s word to bring hope, comfort and healing to those around them.

This is a wonderful situation but has presented us with the challenge of printing more booklets for the rising demand. We asked for your help and are grateful for your generosity and believing in the mission.

Our goal was to raise $30,000 for 60,000 Bible booklets. So far we have raised $22,000, and we thank God for that. We are already using some of these funds to enable people to have the new World War 1 Gospel of John, Christmas booklets and Little Book of Help.

We know that God’s word changes lives and we are excited to be able to share God’s word over the next few years. If you would like to help us reach the initial target, we welcome your donation at www.australia.sgmlifewords.com/donate

My time in an Indonesian prison was shocking

I was an obvious target. Or so I thought. The only white guy to have been sighted in over 3 months. Walking through the gates, I suddenly felt vulnerable. 3200 inmates in a packed prison yard and the only guard I could see was having a smoke in the tower to my left. I had this feeling that if someone wanted to cause trouble or get a reputation, I would be the right target.

Prison ChaplainsIn reality, no one really seemed that interested in us. A dozen inmates were shooting a basketball; others were shading under a tree from the 30 degree sun; some were watering a small garden which grew to the side of the main accommodation building. Most were minding their own business just killing time. I nodded my “pagi” to a few guys standing beside the pathway, and their scowl gave way to a nod and a yellow-toothed grin.

There were two things that surprised me, even shocked me: Firstly, that there were so many men here. In a prison facility made for 1500 men, 3200 were crammed in here. Some didn’t even have their own bed. It just seemed like a terrible waste of life behind bars, a mere number in a system of payback and retribution. But that wasn’t as shocking as my second surprise…

I was visiting the inside of this prison with a dozen chaplains who run a chapel service and Bible study every single week. These people are salt of the earth – truly they were the ones Jesus spoke about in his Matthew 25 parable when he said,
“I was sick and in prison and you visited me…” These chaplains use our SGM Lifewords’ material to share God’s word with inmates, and this day we were going to encourage the few inmates who had found Christ behind bars. I thought there would be 15-20 of them, but as we opened the doors to the chapel, my jaw dropped.

Over 250 men were lined in the pews, arms raised and singing, “puji Tuhan, Yesus Kristus” (praise the Lord Jesus Christ) in a way that I had never seen grown men do before. It honestly took my breath away, seeing hardened men with tattoos, scars, and singlets worshipping the saviour, redeemer, their new Lord and friend.

Roni was one of the guys we met (sorry, no photos allowed). He had served 2 of 8 years for a drug-related offense. Last year, he was given a “You Matter” booklet. He didn’t read it for more than a week, but one evening he was bored and started flicking the pages. He soon sat up a little straighter, thought a little harder until something started to happen inside. He felt something stirring in his chest, and soon he found himself weeping, unaware that the words of this booklet were speaking into his shrunken soul.

True freedom“I didn’t know what to think. I knew there was a God but I didn’t really know who He was. Suddenly this little book was telling me that he was the Father who accepts the rebellious son. He was kind and forgiving. He was willing to love even when his son didn’t deserve it. That son is me. In that moment, I felt free like I never have before. And my Christian mate told me that it’s the truth that will set me free.”

His arms were higher than all the others. For those two hours, it was as though we were just like every other Christian in a church service, except these guys seemed to have a better understanding of salvation, redemption, undeserved love, grace and mercy. They inspired me and I was blessed – all from a visit in which we were to bring a blessing.

Dan Hardie

Financial help for not-for-profit organisations

DOES YOUR CHURCH/CHARITY NEED SUPPORT WITH THE FINANCES?
NFP Accounts LogoIn recent years there has been an increasing burden placed on churches and not for profit organisations to comply with financial legislative requirements.  Keeping up to date with things like GST, superannuation and ACNC obligations can be difficult.  Most church treasurers are voluntary and many do not have the time, knowledge or experience to keep up to date with the ever changing compliance environment.

NFP Accounts can assist church treasurers and other not for profit organisations in this regard – providing accounting, reporting and advisory services to the Not for Profit Sector.  Greg McKay

Contact Greg McKay (pictured) at NFP Accounts (greg.mckay@nfpaccounts.com.au or 0423 028 509 or 02 9596 4994) if you would like to discuss your church/charity’s financial requirements further.

*Note: Greg McKay is the public officer for SGM Lifewords. He has served us with excellence and integrity for the past 4 years and we commend him to any church or not-for-profit organisation.