Mission in flip flops… really?

Pair of flip flopsOn casual Friday, people turn up to work in jeans and a smart shirt. But very few would even think to bust out the iconic Aussie thongs (or better known to our international friends as “flip flops”). But this summer, Christians are on mission in a unique environment where it wouldn’t be out of place to don the Aussie thong.

During the summer break, thousands of holiday makers turn up on NSW beaches looking for sun, sand and surf. With the hottest year on record, there’s no better place than beside the rolling waves at one of hundreds of our beaches. Amidst the caravans and tents, 52 Scripture Union mission teams set up marque tents and put on holiday Target Beach, NSWprograms for children and adults alike. Their hope is to be a blessing to the campers, adding fun activities and creative events to their holiday schedule.

Many times, people are interested in knowing more about what they are doing and why. It’s the perfect opportunity to gently share God’s Word in a relational context. Most times, our SGM Lifewords’ booklets are the perfect gift to leave with people. One mission worker told us,
The Little Book of Help is my favourite to give. No one has ever rejected it, and most are keen to flick through and read more. It looks great and is packed with truth.”

Little Book of Help collageYounger ones are given You Matter while some of the young adults might be given the more artistic, modern version of the prodigal son story shared in the Suppose booklet. The impact is obvious with their testimonies:

“Previously I had nothing to give out after a God conversation. Now, I don’t need to know all the right things to say – I can let God’s word speak for itself! The booklets help me have a conversation about what God’s word actually says.”

We were really blessed to be given a grant to print those necessary booklets, and next year we hope we can raise more funds to print booklets for the ongoing Summer mission. Why not contribute something toward this cause? You can donate here today.

Mission students: starting the year strong

Mission students ministering in Cideng, Jakarta

Mission students ministering in Cideng, Jakarta

This week, dozens of mission students will return to Jakarta from their Christmas break. Most have been visiting their home villages, seeing family and loved ones for the first time in a year.

But the new year kicks in quickly as the need never goes on break. So many of the city poor struggle through Christmas while the western world spends up big. Village dwellers brace as the monsoon rains brings extensive flooding and ruins crops. The less fortunate need hope in this season and students will resume their mission from Day 1.

In a recent initiative, SGM Lifewords have made it possible for individuals to sponsor these mission students. Our sponsorship program began in November 2013, and so far half a dozen students are now having their burden lifted as we provide support and training. These are the first of 70 students that we’d like to support as they bring God’s word, healing and hope to poor communities around Indonesia.

Would you pray for them this week? Pray that they would arrive safely back to College. Pray that they will have their needs met this year. Pray for fruit in their various mission fields. And perhaps you may consider sponsoring a student? Let us know at newzealand@sgmlifewords.com and we’ll send out a pack.

4 Things We Do

What does SGM Lifewords do?

Here it is in 4 simple points…things we do

1. We create and give Bible booklets… free.

We want the Bible to be accessible and understood by everyday people who don’t usually read scripture. And we freely give Bible resources because we believe the Bible should be accessible to everyone regardless of socio-economic standing.

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2. We give scriptures to unreached people.

For example, Indonesia has one of the largest portions of unreached people in the world, therefore SGM Lifewords has a growing mission work in Indonesia. In Australia and New Zealand, we raise money for the Bible work in Indonesia and other unreached regions, and we regularly report of its fruitfulness.

3. We develop new methods for sharing scripture.

Our Facebook “VerseFirst” page has 5000 followers. Our online films and video resources are seen by thousands. Our Life-changing Words email has over 35,000 people subscribed. We invest in new technologies to connect the Bible with where people are at culturally.

4. We translate Bible portions into hundreds of languages.

Whole Bible’s are hard to translate and require a lengthy process. We translate our Bible booklets into over 1200 languages so the gospel can be read.

This is our mission, and we’ve been a faith mission for 125 years!

Students have a huge impact, but struggle with small wallet

“Why did I start a Bible College? Because I have a dream to reach tens of thousands of Indonesians with the gospel. I don’t think it’s just my dream, but God’s dream. It may be possible if we do it together…” Gunar Sahari, SGM Lifewords Indonesia

Student sponsorshipNow, with 160 full-time students, Gunar’s dream is becoming a reality. Every weekend, students are ministering to the poor in the streets; church planting in villages; running kids programs; and giving SGM Lifewords Bible booklets to whoever they meet. They literally touch the lives of thousands – but now they need our help!

More than 70 students cannot afford their college fees, food or accommodation. Twice this year, the college couldn’t pay their staff. Students are scrambling to find petrol to reach their ministry field work. It’s a weekly challenge, but they still keep going. Friends, we can help.

SGM Lifewords is formally partnering Moriah College to teach students, equip them with Bible resources, and train them as missionaries. This month, we are LAUNCHING A NEW SPONSOR-A-STUDENT program and would love you to be a part of it! You can facilitate their ministry and mission work by providing a monthly sponsorship, encouraging letters and prayer. Would you consider sponsoring an SGM Lifewords Bible College student? For more info, contact australia@sgmlifewords.com

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

William Walters was a cutting edge kind of guy. When he started SGM in 1888, he was using new print technology to do business and chose to use the same tool to spread God’s Word.

125yrs later, the world has changed but the Word remains the same. People are reading less and less from paper and more and more from a screen. For the first time in history, e-book

Verse First facebook pg has over 5000 followers

Verse First facebook pg has over 5000 followers

s have outsold printed books; mobile phones outnumber humans; and nearly 1 billion people interact daily on a thing called “Facebook” (FB).

Some object to FB because of the potential for bullying, sharing illicit material or the “front” it allows people to project (after all, we want people to see our good side, right?). But just like printed material, the tool can be used for good as well as evil.

In July 2012, we thought that God’s Word could be shared through FB. We set up “Verse First” – a FB page that encourages young people to connect with God’s Word before connecting with everyone else. Today, over 5000 people get a daily scripture sent to their newsfeed. Hundreds “like” each post. Others comment on the verse or share it with others. As habits change, we too must adapt to find new ways of sharing God’s word. Find Verse First at www.facebook.com/versefirst

Could teens ever bless the elderly?

In my neighbourhood, people’s needs aren’t obvious. No one walks around with a sign that says, “I’m hungry” or “I’m lonely”. If people need clothes or support, there are organisations who specialise in helping with these matters. So it can take a little effort to personally find needs and meet them. It takes the effort of actually getting to know people, mixing with the community, and scratching under the surface. But when we do, there’s a world of hurt, loneliness, depression, and desperation.HomelessMan

Each September, my wife and I take a group of teenagers into a local nursing home in a simple ministry we call “Young to Old”. The teens bake cookies and take them in as they talk, eat, sing, and even pray with the elderly. We give Bible booklets – Daily Strength and You Matter – reading to those who can’t read, and listening to those who want to talk. And boy, can they talk! Many of these folk have no visitors and are in their last few months of living. What a blessing for vibrant young people to listen to, engage with and value those who are forgotten.

The same story could be shared in different locations, meeting different needs all around the world. I was blessed to recently spend time with Pastor Nehe who lives among lepers in Indonesia, giving his life to those who need it most. We hear stories from people who are working among street children; bringing hope and love to those in the sex industry; lifting others from depression; giving words of comfort to the hurting; and meeting the needs of the world around them. Jesus lets us know that as his followers, this is of great value and importance to him. If we choose to engage and follow the example of these teens, it’ll change us from the inside out.

 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers

and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:35–40

by Dan Hardie

You can help us produce Bible booklets for these ministries! Give at www.sgmlifewords.com/donate

Dan in Indonesia: Live update

BeggerI’m writing from Indonesia, where Pak Gunar and I are trekking around some rural villages with a car full of Bible booklets and resources. We are on “mobile mission” with the goal of encouraging & equipping church planters and mission workers.

I’m writing briefly to encourage you that together we’re really making a difference! For those who have given toward our Indonesian outreach, I think you should know that you’re changing lives.

Pak Nehe and wife do a terrific work among Chinese Benteng children

Pak Nehe and his wife do a terrific work among Chinese Benteng children

We’ve just visited Pak Nehe who saw a great need among the Chinese Benteng (group of Indo-Chinese who are very poor on the outskirts of Tangerang). The kids don’t go to school & there are many problems – physically, financially and socially. Many are raised by their mother only as their fathers desert them. Pak Nehe is a Bible college graduate who we trained with The Visible Story. He saw a need and decided to start a school and outreach. They truly care for these Chinese Benteng children, helping their parents and sharing God’s love. We came to encourage him and his wife, bringing Bible resources and words of life for children and parents alike. Receiving hopeThe kids loved our booklet titles, “Who Cares about Me?” and “Why Me?”. Pictured, you can see some students reading and listening to God’s word.

This was the first stop on our mobile mission – the next is a little more confronting as we visit the Leprosy Hospital…. I’ll keep regular feeds through our FB page (“like” here).

Dan H

Banyak hamba Tuhan membutuhkan pelatihan “Kisah Nyata”

Indo school kidsIn Jakarta last month, Ps Gunar Sahari invited a few pastors to learn about the SGM Lifewords’ booklets – but more than a few turned up! Once the word got out, the small informal meeting turned into a seminar with 30 Pastors eager for Bible resources and The Visible Story training. Many of our resources are available in the local language of Bahasa Indonesian, so the demand is great. Some of their favourite booklets were You Matter and Picking up the Pieces – such relevant titles for those working amongst the lower socio-economic groups of Indonesia.

SGM Lifewords supplied each Pastor with Bible booklets and invited them to return for a training session of The Visible Story. Many were also interested in sending children’s workers to our Pavement Project training in September.

It reminds us of Jesus’ words that “the harvest is great but the workers are few”. Our challenge in Indonesia is to have enough resources & man-hours to equip and train the many who need it!

Please consider giving toward these Bible training resources which give mission workers the chance to use The Visible Story program. Give generously so God’s Word can spread!

Everything is free. So how did we make it to 125yrs?

125yrs of goodnessThis year, we celebrate 125 years of Bible mission work! We believe the Bible should be available to everyone, so we make all our booklets and programs available for free. So how has SGM Lifewords kept going if we give everything for free? In fact, how have we kept growing?

The answer is simple: People believe that this is a mission worth supporting – afterall, so many of us took our earliest steps of faith because of an SGM Lifewords Bible Booklet!

Over the years, there have been thousands of individuals, foundations, churches, and businesses who have donated money, print runs, resources and even volunteers so that this Bible mission could thrive. Because of that, we’ve been able to make a huge difference for people all around the world. It’s exciting to think that we’ve produced over 1 Billion Bible products; reached 30,000 children at risk; printed into 1200 different languages; and received testimonies of literally thousands who have been changed by God’s life words.

These days, we encourage Bible booklet users to “Pay It Forward”. Most people in the western world could afford to purchase their booklets, but we don’t sell them – we simply ask that people might consider continuing the cycle of generosity and pay it forward to the next person. So often, people give much more than they order. That gives us the chance to give free resources to others who cannot afford it. Therefore, no one goes without God’s life words. And it’s been that way for 125 years…

To give toward this amazing faith mission, please follow this link to donate online and make it possible for so many more to get God’s Word.

Westmead Childrens Hospital says, “thankyou Lifewords!!”

The Children’s hospital at Westmead, Sydney is a major referral hospital for seriously ill children. They draw patients from multicultural Sydney, NSW and the other States, and even patients from overseas. Kate Bradbury is one of 8 Chaplaincy staff who work in the hospital and they use SGM Lifewords’ booklets to bring comfort and healing to parents and patients alike. Kate recently told us, sick child

“To have a seriously ill child in hospital in a foreign country is a frightening experience, but to face this trauma without the support of extended family and friends takes it to another level.”

Kate and her team have been blessed to receive some of our foreign titles and say that this makes a huge difference for those with English as a second language.

The French "Finding Hope" booklet brought strength to a New Caledonian family with a very sick child

The French “Finding Hope” booklet brought strength to a New Caledonian family with a very sick child

“This week I visited a New Caledonian woman with a child suffering from cancer. The situation is really serious and she was distraught. Our conversation was broken as her English was limited. I apologised for my lack of French but was able to take a couple of your booklets as a way of showing my concern and understanding that heart language is important. We talked together and prayed together in broken English. These little books really broke the ice for me and have provided a way to care for a family who is far from home and facing a very serious and sad situation.”

God sends the chaplains to be with people in the midst of their pain. We are blessed to make Bible’s available to Chaplains like Kate. Please pray for them in their vital task! And if you’d like any foreign titles, please visit our Global Resource Website at http://resources.sgmlifewords.com/global/en/