BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER Feb 2024 1st Edition

Jehovah Rapha: God Our Healer:
“I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26, NIV)

In the rich tapestry of biblical names given to God, one stands out as a beacon of hope and restoration – Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer. This divine title is derived from the Old Testament, specifically from the book of Exodus in the Bible. In Exodus 15:26, after the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea, God revealed Godself as Jehovah Rapha when God spoke to Moses. The verse reads, “I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26, NIV). This declaration marked a pivotal moment in the relationship between God and God’s people, God as compassionate and the ultimate healer. In the context where after crossing ​the Red Sea and ​continuing journey for three days without water on their journey of liberation from the oppression of Pharaoh, the children of Israel reached the ​​water point but ​​to their great anger and disappointment the water was bitter, therefore they named the place Marah (Hebrew meaning bitter). God was not pleased with their frustration including their leader Moses, which is ​​justifiable from a human point of view, even for God! Therefore, God instructed the Israelites to make a new ​​commitment to God to listen and obey and to do the right thing in the eye of God. With this conditional instruction​, God ​​reassured the Israelites that God​ ​​was their healer.  This attribute of Jehovah Rapha is not limited to physical healing alone but extends to the healing of the entire person – body, soul, and spirit. God’s healing encompasses the restoration of health, emotional well-being, and spiritual wholeness.

Throughout the Bible, there are numerous accounts of God’s healing power. Jehovah Rapha reveals Godself through miraculous healings, demonstrating God’s authority over sickness and disease. Examples include the healing of Naaman’s leprosy (2 Kings 5), the restoration of Job’s health and fortunes (Job 42:10), and Jesus’ ministry of healing the sick during His time on earth (Matthew 4:23).

God’s healing happens in any form, not necessarily of the healing of the physical body, but also healing takes place for the mind, emotion​, and spirit. I would like to narrate my recent personal experience due to ​the sickness of my father Mr. Hrang Dailova who will be ​​completing 89 this April 24. On the 12th morning of January, 2024, because of sudden drop ​in ​the oxygen supply in his body, my father became unconscious and was rushed to the closest Hospital in Aizawl, Mizoram​, and was put on ​a ventilator immediately. Me and my siblings who all are outside of Mizoram took a ​​flight home on the next day to be with my father. It was so ​​difficult to accept and I was emotional and could not control my tears when I saw my father on ventilator support, not even responding to my voice when I called “ka Pa, ka Pa” (my dad, my dad). The last time we were ​​happily waving goodbye​ was in the year 2022 when all of us were home for Christmas. After two weeks in the ICU/HDU when a bit of improvement was seen, even as the pipes run down his throat, and the feeding ​ going on from the tube in his nose, I left for Bangalore to get back to my office. Our situation is truly painful. Many questions ​cross my mind, especially asking the role of God in our lives, in this moment of despair. As I pray to God, the name of God as Jehova Rapha continues to ring louder and louder. I then realised that the God who heals our pain and sickness, who calms our hearts and emotions, who restores our dampened spirit and mind is the God who is with my father and with the rest of us who are so worried and afraid for my father. The God who heals continues to heal my father even as we do not know how the healing takes place. God is also healing our thoughts, our minds and our emotions to help us to trust in God and commit my father ​t​o God’s complete care. Human knowledge and skills are limited, ​and advancement of medical sciences and care ​i​s also limited, but God’s love and care have ​​unlimited boundaries. Being a thousand miles away, I can feel the presence of Jehova Rapha with my father and I know, we all are under ​the wings of God’s love, care and healing no matter what crises befall​s us. God in mercy, hear our prayer!  

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi
 A/D Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department

ANDHRA PRADESH AUXILIARY

The 4th Annual Emerging Leaders Conference

The BSI AP Auxiliary organised the 4th Annual Emerging Leaders Conference on the 26th January 2024 at Bible House in Guntur. After Republic Day Celebration, Rev. K. John Vikram welcomed all the delegates across the state. Rev. Sathish Babu led devotion and Bro. Joel Kodali addressed the gathering on the theme ‘Youth in Nation Building’. The Auxiliary President, Bro. M. Johnson encouraged youth to excel in their careers. Ms. Madhurya, Sign Language Interpreter and Trainer, spoke on the importance of the inclusive environment in churches particularly in connection with special children. Mrs. K. Shilpa Vikram conducted activities for the youth. Around 125 members participated in the program representing various BSI branches in AP. 

Bible Sale

The BSI AP Auxiliary conducted Bible Sale at Hebron GDM Church in Peravali on 24 & 25th January 2024. We are thankful to the congregation for their wonderful response.

Youth Conventions

The Youth Department of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church organised Youth Conventions from 14th -17th Jan at Andhra Christian College in Guntur. The AP Auxiliary placed a Bible Stall in the conventions. The Auxiliary Secretary Rev. K. John Vikram addressed the youth on the topic ‘Bible and Christian Identity’.

New BSI Branches in Paderu and Araku

The BSI AP Auxiliary inaugurated new BSI Branches in Paderu and Araku on 17th January. One of the Auxiliary Committee Members Rev. D. Enoch garu has been instrumental to form these new branches. Local pastors and leaders joined as members of the BSI branches. 

Bible Sunday and Bible Exhibition cum Sale

The BSI AP Auxiliary conducted Bible Exhibition cum Sale at Jewett Memorial Baptist Church in Ongole on 13&14 January. The Bible Sunday was observed and the word of God was delivered by Rev. K. John Vikram, AP Auxiliary Secretary, on 14th January.

The BSI AP Auxiliary also conducted a Bible Exhibition cum Sale at St. Peter’s CSI Church in Gannavaram on 20th&21st January we are thankful for the Gannavaram BSI Branch for making all the necessary arrangement for the event. The Auxiliary President, Bro. M. Johnson inaugurated the Bible Exhibition and addressed local leaders and pastors. The word of God was preached by Rev. K. John Vikram, Auxiliary Secretary in Sunday Service on 21st January, 2024.

 KERALA AUXILIARY

Scripture Engagement with Women of Mahathama Janasevena Kendram, in Kozhenchery:

The Bible Society of India Kerala Auxiliary along with Kozhencherry Branch visited Mahathama Janasevena Kendram, Kozhenchery for Scripture engagement programme with 40 inmates and distributed Bibles to those needy women on 12th January 2024. Rev Thomas Mathew, Branch President chaired the meeting, Auxiliary Secretary shared the word of God. We also conducted the Kozhencherry Branch meeting. Rev Yesudas Thomas, pastors and other members attended the meeting. We thank Mr. Varghese Jacob (Regional Co-ordinator) and Mr. Sabu P. Mathew (Branch Secretary) and all other leaders for arranging this meeting.

Regional Meetings

Pathanamthitta: The Pathanamthitta revenue district Regional meeting was held at St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church Kozhencherry on 16th January 2024. Regional co-ordinators from six regions attended the meeting with the respective Branch Officials from around 20 Branches. Rev Philip George presided the meeting, Auxiliary Secretary delivered the message. Rev John Mathews and Pastors graced the occasion. It was a fruitful time with devotion, prayer, group discussion and resolutions. We appreciate the leaders for making this meeting a blessed one.

Thrissur: The Thrissur Regional meeting was held at Mar Thoma Ravivarma Mandiram, Thrissur on 23rd January 2024. Rev Jay Mathew presided the meeting, Auxiliary Secretary delivered the key note address. Clergies and pastors attended the event. We really appreciate the great efforts of Regional Co-ordinator, Mr. M. C. George by making the event a blessed one. The Branch Officials and members from six Branches (Thrissur, Peechi, Kunnamkulam, Wadakkanchery, Mannuthi, Chalakkudy) attended the programme. It was really a fruitful time.

New Branch Formation: Upputhara Branch (Idukki Region)

BSI Upputhara Branch in Idukki Region was formed as the 151st Branch in Kerala Auxiliary at CSI St. Thomas Church, Karintharuvi on 30th January 2024. Rev. K. A. Lukose presided the meeting, Auxiliary Secretary gave the inaugural address. Clergies, Pastors and members from various churches attended the meeting. The following persons were elected as the office bearers: President – Rev. K. A. Lukose, Secretary – Mr. P A Sunny, Treasurer – Mr. Varghese Kurian; and members from different churches to form the Branch Committee. We appreciate the hard work and support of Rev. Binoy Mathew and Rev. K. A. Lukose for organising this meeting. We express our gratitude to all Clergies, Pastors and members from various churches for making the new branch formation a great blessing. Let us together reach this changing world with the unchanging Word of God.

Transcending Boundaries:
The Timeless Wisdom of the Bible

Imagine a world where the timeless wisdom of the Bible transcends barriers, reaching every soul with its comforting, inspiring, and spiritually enriching words.

For Every Heart, Everywhere: The elderly, whose eyes may have dimmed but whose spirits burn bright for divine wisdom and find peace. The visually impaired, finding joy and nourishment in their souls. Individuals of all ages and different walks of life find solace and nourishment in the profound teachings of the Bible, whether they’re on their daily commute or at home with family. These invaluable resources not only foster personal growth but also strengthen familial bonds and uplift entire communities through meaningful scripture engagement.

In Your Own Language, Your Unique Journey: With translations available in over 170 Indian languages, the Bible Society of India is dedicated to ensuring accessibility for all. From audio Bibles and Braille editions to captivating gospel films and emerging sign language adaptations, the Bible’s message is made available in various formats to cater to diverse needs and preferences. Currently, the Bible Society of India is in the process of producing nine audio recordings, including languages such as Lambadi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Saurashtra, Chodri, Nagamese, and Goan Konkani, with five of these recordings nearing completion.

Join the Movement: This is made possible because of collaborative efforts of BSI, the church, and its partners. We extend a warm invitation to all who yearn to make a difference in spreading hope and positivity. Let us unite in our mission to create a world illuminated by the teachings of love, compassion, and peace found within the Bible. Together, as a community fuelled by dedication and passion, we can bridge linguistic and generational divides, fostering wisdom, understanding, and profound transformations. Join us on this remarkable journey of amplifying the impact of Bibles, as we strive to touch hearts and inspire souls across this great nation.

 By Mr. Caleb Martin – A/D Media and Special Audience Department

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BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER Jan 2024 2nd Edition

Morning Mercies:
Embracing the Consistent Faithfulness of God

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23

To understand the context of these verses, it’s helpful to examine the entire passage and consider the circumstances that led to the writing of the book of Lamentations.

Lamentations, a collection of poetic laments traditionally attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, was penned in response to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The people of Judah were exiled, and the city lay in ruins. Lamentations expresses deep sorrow, grief, and repentance in the face of this national tragedy.

In the midst of sorrow and despair, the verses in Lamentations 3:22-23 provide a glimmer of hope and comfort. They highlight the enduring nature of God’s love and mercy even in the darkest times. The author acknowledges the faithfulness of God, expressing confidence in His unwavering love and the daily renewal of His mercies.

The phrase “they are new every morning” suggests that God’s mercies are not only abundant and enduring but also fresh each day. It signifies a daily replenishing or refreshing of God’s compassion and grace. The imagery here is powerful, emphasizing that no matter how challenging the previous day, week, month, or years might have been, God’s mercies are fresh and available anew every morning.

This reflects the unchanging and faithful nature of God, providing comfort and hope to those who trust in Him. It underscores the idea that God’s love and compassion are not depleted or exhausted but are consistently renewed, offering a source of strength and encouragement each and every day.

Lessons We Can Take:

Hope and Renewal in our Struggles:
The idea that God’s mercies are “new every morning” can offer hope and encouragement in the face of political, financial, social, and communal challenges. Emphasizing the renewal of God’s mercies each day can inspire individuals to approach each new day with a sense of optimism, trusting that God’s faithfulness extends to all aspects of their lives.

Steadfastness in the Midst of Uncertainty:
The assurance of the Lord’s steadfast love, even when faced with confusion and challenges, can serve as a foundation for individuals to remain steadfast in their values and principles. The unchanging faithfulness of God can encourage people to persevere in pursuing justice, integrity, and compassion.

Community Building Through God’s Faithfulness:
The Bible Society of India serves to encourage a communal understanding of God’s faithfulness and foster unity and oneness. By emphasizing the shared reliance on the unwavering love of the Lord, individuals may find strength in coming together to address issues collectively. This perspective can promote empathy, cooperation, and a shared commitment to building a better future despite the uncertainties in various aspects of life.

May God guide us through life’s challenges. Grant us the wisdom to choose His will over our own, bring comfort to the troubled, and healing to the broken. May our actions be a reflection of love and kindness. Strengthen our faith, reminding us of His unwavering presence. In His mercy, guide us toward a world filled with love, peace, justice, and compassion.

Mr. Caleb Martin Hilton
Associate Director, BSI, Media and Special Audience

BOMBAY AUXILIARY: Bible Exhibition cum sale in Nagpur

On January 13th to 16th 2024, the Bombay Auxiliary organised Bible exhibition cum sale in Nagpur under the leadership of the BSI Nagpur Branch. Rt. Rev. Paul Dupare, Bishop of Nagpur Diocese and the Branch President inaugurated the Bible exhibition at SSI Hall, Mount Road, Nagpur on the 13th morning. Many pastors, leaders, Church members, and the Bible Society of India, Nagpur branch members were present for the exhibition. The crowd were very happy to see a lot of varieties of Bible in different languages at reasonable prices available in this exhibition after a very long time.  

It was a great joy to have a meeting with the members of the BSI Nagpur branch at 6:30 pm where the Bombay Auxiliary Secretary preached the word of God and encouraged and thanked the branch members for their active participation in the BSI ministry. The Auxiliary Secretary had the privilege of preaching at the All Saints Cathedral and in St. Thomas CNI Church on a Sunday morning the 14th January.

On 15th, Monday, the General Secretary of BSI Rev. Dr. Kavito G. Zhimo visited the Bible exhibition and in the evening at 6:00 pm, he had a very fruitful and meaningful meeting with the Bombay Auxiliary staff along with Nagpur branch leaders.

It was a very impressive response from the community of Nagpur city to our Bible exhibition cum sale, we had good sales, donations and promises to support the BSI ministry. The people of Nagpur branch were very thankful to the Bombay Auxiliary leadership and the GS for organising the much needed Bible exhibition cum sale and meeting. We thank God for the success of these four days programme. 

ODISHA AUXILIARY

We thank and praise God for enabling us to distribute the Bibles to those who are in dire need.   Engaging children and widows with God’s Word in different places of Ganjam and Koraput Districts of Odisha on December 6 and 7, 2023 where 300 Odia Bibles and 40 Telugu Bibles were distributed. On January 21, 2024 Scripture engagement programme was held in Sanshaluda, Paradeep District of Jagatsingpur where 60 Telugu Bibles were distributed to the deserving poor women. It was an immensely joyful experience for all of us here in Odisha Auxiliary.

The beneficiaries were very happy to receive the Odia and Telugu Bibles.  Many of them shared how eager they were to receive God’s Word in their heart language.  They received the Bibles with grateful hearts and thanked the Bible Society of India for making it possible.

Testimonies:

I am thankful to God and the Bible Society of India for providing me a copy of the Bible. Even as my Bible is already worn out, am so thankful to the BSI for this gift of Bible at  the right time. I love to read Bible and particularly when I am down, I read and rely on God and God  gives me peace through His Word. I always seek for this spiritual food through which I get strength. I want to give my heartiest thanks to Odisha Auxiliary.” – Ms. A. Niharika

“I belong to a large family. For a long time, I was in distress and pain but throughout my life I depended on God. Whenever I read Psalms 34:4-5, I am encouraged; it touches my life to give thanks to our living God. I always try to be happy in this world because I trust God’s Word. At times, when I was in deep sorrow, the Word of God came as a reminder that God is my help, and comfort. I needed a Bible but could not afford. After long years of waiting, now I have received a Bible through the BSI Odisha Auxiliary and am so grateful to God.” – Mrs. Sabina Sirka

“I love to read Bible from my childhood. When I go through pain in my life the Word of God always comforts me. Even as my Bible is worn out and was wishing to have a new one but have no money to buy one, I prayed to God then I came to know the Bible Society of India, Odisha Auxiliary was organising a program in our locality, and with prayer I attended the meeting. Unexpectedly, copies of the Bible were given to us free of cost for those who do not have money to buy. I really thank God and Bible Society of India, Odisha Auxiliary for giving me a Bible, which I trully needed for long.” – Mrs. Manjula Khosla

“I thank God for the opportunity to attend the woman’s meeting arranged by BSI, Odisha Auxiliary in our locality. When I heard about this meeting, I decided not to attend due to sickness. But God answered my prayer and I could make it for the meeting. For many months, I asked one of my brothers to get me a Bible but in vain! I believe this is God’s appointed time for me that the BSI had arranged a program to have a new Bible. I love it. Thanks to BSI, Odisha Auxiliary. Now I will read the Word more often and keep it in my heart to understand the love that God has shown to me and stand for God as witness in all seasons.” – Mrs. Jyoti Pani

DIMAPUR AUXILIARY: Bible Engagement with Poor Widows and Children

During December 12 to 24, 2023 the BSI Dimapur Auxiliary was able to organise Scripture engagement programmes in various places. It was a great privilege that the Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department arranged 63 Bibles for free distributions to deserving persons with free of cost in various villages such at Sümi Village, Dimapur, at Seluophe Baptist Church, at Bethel Prayer Home, Dimapur, at Deomali Town Baptist Church, Arunachal Pradesh, District Hospital, Dimapur and at Bade Baptist Church. We praise and thank God for the Ministry of the BSI, serving the poor by providing them the Bible, the Word of Life, especially to those who literally could not afford to buy a copy of the Bible in the midst of their daily hardship for survival.

RANCHI AUXILIARY

Ranchi Auxiliary organized a special program from 2nd – 5th November 2023 in different places of Ranchi District.

Annual Bible Exhibition & Annual Meeting on 2nd November 2023: Annual Meeting and Annual Bible exhibition were organized by the Ranchi Auxiliary. The program began at 4 pm at Bible House Ranchi. On this auspicious occasion Mr. Paul Stephen (BSI Director, Marketing & Publishing) as Chief Guest and our Auxiliary President the honourable Rt. Rev. Rajiw Satish Toppo graced the occasion with their kind presence. The students of St. Margaret School welcomed the honorable guests in a traditional manner. Right after the opening ceremony our honourable Auxiliary committee members, students and other visitors took the opportunity to see the exhibition and purchased different kinds of Bibles for their family members, friends and relatives. We are really grateful to all our partners who visited our exhibition.

The Ranchi Auxiliary Annual meeting was held in Hotel Maple wood. In the meeting, the chief guest shared the word of God and presented a short PPT about the Bible Society’s work. It was mesmerizing and helpful for all of us to understand our Bible Societies’ growth. Our Special thanks goes to our Mary Jones Committee and staff of Ranchi Auxiliary for their organizing skills.

Day with the Bible: A one day seminar was organized by BSI Ranchi Auxiliary on 3rd November at Maple wood. Around 150 donors, partners, Pastors and some young people participated in the seminar and were blessed. The theme was “Be Rooted in the word of God” which was taken from Joshua 1:8. Our President Rt. Rev. R. S. Toppo was the speaker for the day. He beautifully took the session that encouraged and inspired the participants to study the word of God more and more and apply those truths in their own lives.  The PPT presentation of Mr. Paul Stephen “God Created missionary” not only brought tears to everyone’s eyes but also created an atmosphere of self reflection. Rev. Soma Bhatkar gave a brief report about the progress of Bible work in Bihar and Jharkhand.

During feedback session Revd. Ashisan Bage the chief woman Director of GEL Church said that the sessions were not only filled with captivating and enlightening Bible expositions but also a period of self examination with questions like, where am I standing?  Have I been a main medium of conveying Biblical truth to others? Are we really helping the Bible mission to the best of our abilities? Our Special thanks go to Mr Atulya Kujur for anchoring the Program and Mr. Someshwar Prasad who interpreted in Hindi. We as an Auxiliary, thank the Auxiliary President, Auxiliary Committee Members and our Mary Jones Committee for their help in all our arrangements for this program.

Annual Thanks giving Meeting in GEL Church Hesag on 4th November & Bible Sunday on 5th November 2023 At NWGEL Church.  We praise God that we could thank Him along with 250 believers of GEL, NWGEL CNI Church of Ranchi, for his abundant mercies upon the Bible work In Jharkhand and Bihar on 4th November. We also thank the Pastor and Committee members of Hesag Church for opening their Church for our Thanksgiving Program. We thank the Secretary of Hesag GEL church who made a promise to help Bible Society on a regular basis. May God bless them abundantly.

We thank the honorable Arch Bishop of NWGEL Church and honorable Bishop Simant Tirkey of GEL Church for welcoming us to share the word of God on Bible Sunday on 5th November. We at Ranchi Auxiliary extend our gratitude to our General Secretary and sincerely appreciate our Director (Marketing & Publishing) for his esteemed presence and encouraging people in our region which will definitely empower and enhance the Bible work in Bihar and Jharkhand in the days to come.  Praise be to our God.

Staff Retreat & Holy Communion Service on 4th January 2024:-

Staff retreat & prayer day was observed on 4th January 2024 in the Bible House, Ranchi Auxiliary.  All the staff of Ranchi Auxiliary took part in this Retreat and Prayer. Our Auxiliary President conducted the retreat and Holy Communion Service and edified and encouraged the staff by the teaching of the Word of God. The meeting was followed by a fellowship lunch.

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BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER Jan 2024 1st Edition

New Year Message
“The Eternal God: Yesterday, Today, and Forever”

Dear Co-workers in Christ,

As we stand at the beginning of the year 2024 to delve into the timeless truths of God’s Word, I am reminded of the unchanging nature of our Creator God. The God we serve is not confined by the constraints of time and space; our God is the God of our Past, the God of our Present, and the God of our Future – the “Immanuel” – the boundless God.

What a comforting assurance that the God who walked with our ancestors in the past, the God who sustained us in our present, is the same God who holds our future as we read in Jeremiah 23:23-24 “I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only. No one can hide where I cannot see them. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth?” and Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

The God of the Past: In reflecting on the past, we see the faithfulness of God throughout history. From the creation of the world to the redemption of fallen human kinds through Jesus Christ on the Cross, God’s design is evident. As we recount our personal histories, we can trace the fingerprints of God’s grace, love, mercy, and providence. The challenges we faced, and the victories we celebrated – are testaments to the God who walked beside us in the past.

The God of the Present: In the present, we experience the tangible presence of God in our lives. In Psalm 46:1, we are reminded that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The same God who sustained us in the past is with us today, guiding, comforting, and empowering us for the challenges of the moment. Our moment of challenges be it financial, physical, or mental health, broken relationships in the family and friends circle, war, conflicts and violence, political unrest, displacement, scarcity of food, repeated natural disasters due to climate change, … We can go on counting challenges that are unlimited. Amid these crises, where there seems to be no hope in our human understanding and limitations, there is one truth that stands out, that is, our reliance on God’s presence brings peace amid life’s uncertainties.

The God of the Future: As we step into the future of time and space we face the unknown with confidence in the God who holds our tomorrow. Isaiah 46:10 affirms, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'” Our God, who orchestrated the events of history, continues to hold the future in God’s sovereign hands.

Dear fellow sojourners, let us rest in the unchanging character of our God. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As we navigate the complexities of life, may we find solace in the God of our past, the God of our present, and the God of our future? (Hebrews 13:8). The Ministry of the BSI is a beacon of hope, a vessel of transformation, and a proclamation of the love of Christ. In Romans 10:15, we are reminded of the importance of bringing the good news: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Let us anchor ourselves in the promise found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” May this year be a year of deepened faith, renewed dedication, and an outpouring of God’s grace upon each one of us. Together, as co-workers in Christ, let us press on with unwavering commitment, knowing that our labor in the Lord is never in vain. Let us journey forward with the assurance that the God who has been faithful in our past is faithful in our present and will be faithful in all the days to come. Amen.

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi
A/D – Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department

JABALPUR AUXILIARY – Mary Jones Women’s Fellowship Christmas Tree Programme

As part of the tradition, the Mary Jones Women’s Fellowship once again organized the Christmas Tree Programme on 10th December 2023 at the Christ Church Cathedral premises. There were approximately 150 participants along with special invitees such as visually impaired and senior citizens. Women from various Churches of Jabalpur participated.  Rt. Rev. Ajay Umesh James, Bishop of Jabalpur Diocese, CNI was the Chief Guest for the event. Rev. Bruce Thangadurai, Treasurer, BSI, Jabalpur Auxiliary and Priest in charge of Christ Church Cathedral, Rev. Subh Venketgadi, Assistant Priest of  Christ Church Cathedral, Rev. Ms. J. C.  Luke, Advocate Arpan Pawar, Executive Committee Member were our dignitaries and they were honored with bouquets. Rev. Subh Venketgadi offered the opening prayer. Ms. Arpita Steele and Mrs. Parimal Mayo led the program beautifully. 

The Mary Jones Women’s Fellowship Committee Members led the praise and worship. Mrs. Manjulata Robert read the Bible scripture taken from John Ch.5: 30 – 47. Our Chief Guest shared the Christmas message and emphasized the importance of preparing ourselves to receive Jesus in our hearts, apart from our physical preparations with lights and decorations and varieties of Christmas programmes. He also shared about Mary Jones and her Bible. The message was very meaningful and well-received. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful performance of Group Dance, Song and Christmas Skit by the Members of the Mary Jones Women Fellowship. The BSI Audio Bibles were presented to our special invitees, which was greatly appreciated by all. Mrs. Prabha David who is blind was in tears while receiving the Audio Bible. Ms. Teresa Irene Rodrigues, staff, BSI, Jabalpur Auxiliary presented the Vote of Thanks. The program was concluded with prayer by Rev. Bruce Thangadurai and Benediction was pronounced by our Chief Guest.

Christmas with the “Mission to the Blind, Jabalpur”

On December 17, 2023, the Bible Society of India Jabalpur Auxiliary had the privilege to be part of another Christmas Tree Program organized by the “Mission to The Blind” at Prince of Peace Church, Johnson Compound Jabalpur.

It was a very joyful time in Praise and Worship led by Prince of Peace Church Choir. Mr. George B. Lall who is visually impaired read the Braille Bible from the Gospel of Matthew. It was really a heart touching experience for many people who witnessed how a visually challenged person reads the Bible. The group presented wonderful Christmas carols.

Rev. Cornelius delivered a very meaningful Christmas message, focusing on the meaning of Christmas, which is all about God’s love to humankind. The Auxiliary Secretary Rev. Daniel Nath also shared the Christmas Message saying, “Christmas brings Love, Joy, Hope and Peace we received from God’s sacrificial incarnation in Jesus Christ. To understand this Christmas message we need to develop this sacrificial attitude of God within us.”  Braille Scriptures & Audio Bibles were distributed to the visually impaired and we are truly thankful to the BSI Media and Special Audience Department for providing us these Scriptures. The beneficiaries of the Braille Bibles and Audio Bibles were filled with joy and gratitude to God. It was a Blessed moment for all the participants of this event.

TAMIL NADU AUXILIARY – BSI Christmas Programme

The Bible Society of India Christmas programme was held in the Bible House of BSI TN Auxiliary on December  21, 2023 at 11.30 a.m. Rev. John Giridharan, Senior Presbyter (Retd.) who is also a member of ESV  Global Study Bible Translation started the programme with prayer. Rev P. Moses Devadason, the Auxiliary Secretary welcomed the gathering  and greeted the Presbyters, Auxiliary Committee Members, Branch Officers and the staff who participated in the Christmas programme. Rev. Sam Rajkumar coordinated the events of the Programme and brought special greetings about the birth of Jesus Christ.

The following distinguished guests such as Rev.  John Giridharan, Rev.  Samson, Mr. V. S. Jebaraj, and Mr.  Stephen Bakianathan brought special Christmas greetings and encouraged the gathering to support the BSI ministry. A very meaningful Christmas message was shared by Rev. N. G. Mathew, Presbyter in-charge, CSI  Risen Redeemer Church, Kodambakkam from the text Luke 2: 9 – 20, the sign of the birth of Jesus Christ to the Shepherds. Rev. D. Manogar our  Sr. Marketing staff  presented  the vote of thanks. The programme came to a close with prayer by the Rev. T. Devaputhiran, Executive Committee Member BSI, TN  Auxiliary  and benediction by Rev. John Giridharan.

KERALA AUXILIARY: The CELEBRATION of LOGOS to the COSMOS
(the Word became flesh and dwelt among us)

During Christmas season, as part of the Scripture engagement programme, the Auxiliary Secretary shared the Christmas message and introduced BSI ministry in the ‘Christmas celebration and Crib competition’ held at Government Dental College, Kottayam on 21st December 2023.  We really appreciate College Principal Dr. Suja Ani, all Doctors, staff and students for their great efforts.

On 17th December, the Auxiliary Secretary attended the ecumenical carol night and delivered the Christmas message in ‘Painter Hills Carol Night 2023’, organised by the Churches established by Rev. A. F. Painter at Mankompu, Idukki district.  Around 400 members and 11 Church Choirs participated. BSI Melukavumattom  Branch President, Rev. James P. Mammen presided the meeting, Idukki Region Coordinator Dr. Josemon George felicitated the gathering. We praise God for the wonderful program.

The Auxiliary Secretary, Rev. Jacob Antony Koodathinkal shared from the Word and about BSI ministry in the Christmas Carol programme arranged by Power in Jesus Ministries, (a worship group for all language people) at Kattappana on 25th December 2023. Around a thousand migrant workers from various states attended the program. We appreciate the great ministries of BSI Kattapana Branch Treasurer, Mr. Vincent Thomas, and the leadership of Rev. Dr. Benoy P. Jacob (Patron), Rev. Joseph Mathew (President), Pr. Jacob Samuel(Secretary). God bless all the efforts of reaching the World with the Word.

The Auxiliary Secretary also attended the Platinum Jubilee Carol Service at Holy Trinity CSI Church, Mundakayam on 23rd December  evening and Christmas Carol at St. Stephen’s CSI Church, Ayyappancovil on 24th December  evening. Rev. Jacob Antony shared the Christmas message of the Divine becoming Human.

KARNATAKA AUXILIARY
Christmas with Widows and Poor Women in Srinivaspur Kolar, Karnataka

On Monday, the 11th of December 2023,  the Karnataka Auxiliary visited the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship Church in Srinivaspur Kolar, Karnataka for a Christmas programme with project Bible distribution. The service started at 6.30 p.m. The in-charge Pastor Peter Palathoti had invited around 150 poor women and widows from the nearby villages to take part in the Christmas service. A very meaningful time was spent in the service by sharing the Word and about the ongoing ministry of the Bible Society. Special program by the children and free distribution of the Bible was the highlight of the church service.

Mrs. Dafni and Mrs. Dorcas expressed their heartfelt thanks to BSI ministries while receiving the very first copy of the Bible in their lifetime. Their gratitude underscores the profound impact of this gesture, emphasizing the value of access to spiritual guidance and the significance of providing such resources to individuals, which can bring immense comfort and inspiration to their lives. The Auxiliary was greatly thankful to Pastor Peter Palathoti for giving them the opportunity to visit his congregation for Scripture engagement during Christmas season.

Christmas with Widows and Poor Women in Bangarapet, Karnataka

As part of advance Christmas Scripture engagement, on Sunday, the 17th of December 2023, the Karnataka Auxiliary visited the Bethel Mission Church, Bangarpet for distribution of Bibles as part of project implementation. The first service started at 6.00 a.m. The in-charge Pastor Rev. John Peter had invited around 150 poor women and widows from the nearby villages to participate in the service.

The Auxiliary had the privilege of sharing about the ongoing ministry of the Bible Society in two services. There was a time of Praise and Worship, and sharing the Word, which was followed by Scripture distribution program.  Mrs. Priya Yeshu and Mrs. Joyce, the beneficiaries among many expressed their gratitude to the Bible Society for the thoughtful gesture and shared their joy of receiving a copy of the Bible directly from BSI. All the beneficiaries expressed their heartfelt thanks, reflecting the significance of such initiatives in bringing hope and comfort to individuals in challenging circumstances. The Auxiliary was deeply thankful to Pastor Rev. John Peter for giving them the opportunity to take part in their worship and to have BSI women project implementation. In return, the church offered donation for the BSI Ministry, which was much appreciated.

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BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER Dec 2023 2nd Edition

REFLECTING ON THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTMAS

As the Christmas season is here, I find myself contemplating the profound question: Why Christmas? In a world filled with diverse celebrations and holidays, what makes Christmas so special, so universally cherished? Beyond the glittering lights, festive decorations, and the exchange of gifts, Christmas holds a deeper meaning that transcends cultural boundaries. It is a time when the spirit of giving, compassion and joy permeates the air, bringing people together in a shared celebration of love and hope. At its core, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, a symbol of love, peace, and salvation in Christian faith. The story of the Nativity, with its humble manger, guiding star, and angelic proclamation, has been passed down through generations, echoing through the centuries as a timeless narrative of hope and redemption. While the religious significance remains central, Christmas has evolved into a cultural phenomenon that extends far beyond the boundaries of Christianity. It is a time when people go out of their way to bring joy to others, embodying the spirit of selflessness and compassion. Moreover, Christmas serves as a reminder of the importance of family and community. In a fast-paced world where individuals are often consumed by their daily routines, the Christmas celebration becomes a sanctuary for togetherness. Families gather around festive tables, friends reunite, and communities come together to celebrate the bonds that tie them. The warmth of shared laughter, the joy of shared meals, and the comfort of shared traditions create a sense of belonging that is unparalleled.

Another aspect that adds to the charm of Christmas is the sense of nostalgia it invokes as we sing and listen to the Christmas songs. The season is imbued with memories of childhood wonder, eagerly anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas morning. These nostalgic moments create a bridge between generations, as grandparents share stories with grandchildren, passing down the enchantment of the season from one era to the next. In a world often marked by challenges and uncertainties, Christmas serves as a beacon of hope. This season encourages us to focus on the positive aspects of life, fostering an attitude of gratitude. It prompts us to reflect on the year gone by, acknowledging both triumphs and tribulations, and to look forward with optimism to the possibilities that the coming year holds.

 Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year to all.

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi
A/D – Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department

ALLAHABAD AUXILIARY UNITED CANDLELIGHT SERVICE

Allahabad Auxiliary United Candlelight Service is one of the oldest activities, which is taking place every year at the beginning of the month of December. Historically, this initiative started more than 50 years before to bring all the churches from various denominations together at the beginning of the advent season under the banner of BSI. CNI Holy Trinity Church has been the venue for more than 50 years. It was with great joy that on December 3, 2023, the United Candlelight Service was held at CNI Holy Trinity Church with more than 750 people. Choirs from 12 Churches & Christian Institutions participated representing various denominations.  Rev. Manish Zaidi, Presbyter of CNI Holy Trinity Church and Chairman of BSI, Allahabad Auxiliary welcomed the gathering. Rev. Gershombhai Khristi, Auxiliary Secretary (Pro-tem) welcomed and presented Hindi/English Bilingual Bible to the Rt. Rev. Morris Dan, Bishop of CNI Lucknow. The Bishop shared God’s Word and emphasized the importance of the unity of the Church. He appreciated the ministry of BSI in strengthening the local Churches by providing Scriptures in various languages for many years.

 DIMAPUR AUXILIARY – MOYON YNTHIING BIBLE RELEASE

The Moyon Ynthiing Bible was released on 5th December 2023 at Penaching Baptist Church, Chandel District, Manipur. Rev. Robertson, Pastor of Kapaam Baptist Church moderated the releasing ceremony.  Rev. Ng. Titus, Translator gave a brief report stating that Moyon Ynthing Bible took twelve years and eleven days to complete the translation. While appreciating the Advisers Zambolis Sawkmei, Rev. Dr. Along Jamir and Elder Vanlaltlana, Rev. Ng. Titus acknowledged Checking Committee Members for their constant support in assisting him. He also appreciated the leadership of the Moyon Naga Baptist Association and Pastors and leaders from different walks of life for their support. Rev. Dr. Yiepetso Wezah, Auxiliary Secretary, Dimapur released the Moyon Ynthiing Bible on behalf of the General Secretary Rev. Dr. Kavito G. Zhimo. He shared the words of God from Hebrews 4:12-13 encouraging them to meditate upon the words of God for it is active, alive and changes the life of individuals, churches and society. A copy of Moyon Ynthiing Bible was presented to the Translator, Checking Committee members and a few Church leaders. They also collected offering for the BSI, which was greatly appreciated. The programme came to a close with the Benediction by Rev. Dr. Longam Chara, Former Executive Secretary, MNBA.

BOMBAY AUXILIARYA CHRISTMAS PROGRAM WITH VISUALLY CHALLENGED PEOPLE

Mary Jones Fellowship of the Bombay Auxiliary organised a Christmas Program for the visually challenged people on Saturday, 9th December 2023 at Rahator Memorial Methodist Church, Parel Mumbai. Approximately 100 visually challenged people gathered in the program. The Christmas message was shared by Rev. Clement M. Christian, Auxiliary Secretary, Bombay Auxiliary. Participants from the visually challenged presented songs and some of them shared their testimony how they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The Auxiliary Secretary distributed the Audio Bibles and walking sticks to the visually challenged people. Rev. Alfred Tiwade, Presbyter-in-charge of St. Mary the Virgin Church concluded the meeting with closing prayer. The meeting was followed by lunch. The Bombay Auxiliary thank Mr. Caleb Martin Hilton Associate Director (Media and Special Audience) for arranging the Audio Bibles for the blind people on an urgent basis. Also thanks to the members of Mary Jones Fellowship of Bombay Auxiliary for their generous donations for food and other arrangements. Our heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Subala Chandran, the church relation’s director of Vision for Visually Challenged Foundation for her help.

KERALA AUXILIARY

Celebrations of Bible Sunday in various Churches

On the first and second Sundays of December, various churches in Kerala Auxiliary observed Bible Sunday. During the Worship, special prayer for the ministry of Bible Society were offered & special offerings were collected for the BSI Ministry. On December 3rd the Auxiliary Secretary attended Bible Sunday at St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Pattoor, Trivandrum. He shared from the Word of God and about BSI ministry. We are grateful to the support of vicar, Rev. Dr. Philip George and the congregation. We appreciate the great cordination of Chev. Dr. Koshy M. George (Regional Co-ordinator), Mr. John Samuel (Pattoor Branch Secretary) and all other leaders for their support.

On December 10th Rev. Jacob Antony Koodathinkal, the Auxiliary Secretary attended Bible Sunday at CSI Church Nedumkandom and led the Divine Holy Communion Service, shared from God’s Word and introduced BSI ministry. We really appreciate the great support of Rev Joseph Mathew, vicar and president of Kattappana Branch; Rev. O. J. George; Sri. T. Joykumar, Diocesan registrar and the members of the Church. At CSI District Church, Nedumangad, Trivandrum, on December 10th as part of Bible Sunday observation, the Co-ordinator of Trivandrum Central Region, Chev. Dr. Koshy M. George shared from the Word and introduced BSI ministry. We are thankful for the leadership and support of vicar, Rev. T.W. Sugathakumar and the congregation. 

Christmas Celebration: Different Branches of the Auxiliary

The recently reformed BSI Elappara Branch of Idukki Region conducted Ecumenical Christmas Carol Night at CSI Holy Trinity Church, Elappara on 3rd December 2023. The Choir members from different church denominations rendered melodious carol songs. The Branch President, Rev. James K. John, Vicar, Salem Mar Thoma Church, Elappara presided the meeting. Pastor S. David, IPA Church, Elappara was the Chief guest. Rev. A. T. John, Vicar, CSI St. Paul’s Church, Kozhikanam delivered Christmas message. Mr. John P. Kurien, Branch Secretary welcomed the gathering and Mr. Robin S. Branch Treasurer presented the vote of thanks. Church leaders and members from different Churches in and around Elappara participated in the Carol Night.

The BSI Valakom Branch (Kottarakara) organized Christmas Carols at St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Valakom on 17th December 2023. Rev. Georgie Varghese, the Vicar & Branch President presided the Musical Evening Program. H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos Metropolitan, Auxiliary President inaugurated the blessed event and delivered the Christmas message. The choir team from various Church denominations and Mary Jones Fellowship Choir, Valakom Branch rendered meaningful and melodious carols. Mr. K. G. Thomas, Branch Secretary, Mr. Joykutty A., Branch Treasurer, Juby Shaji, Convenor shared Christmas greetings.

The Christmas celebration of BSI Kottayam Branch was held on 18th December at Bible House, Kottayam. Rev. Joseph Johny, Vicar, Bethlehem Mar Thoma Church, Kollad & Finance Committee Member, Kerala Auxiliary presided the meeting. Very Rev. Fr. Dr. M. P. George Cor Episcopa, Director, SAMA, Kottayam inaugurated the Programme. Rev. John Mathai, Vicar, St. Peter’s Mar Thoma Church, Manganam delivered Christmas message. The Auxiliary Secretary shared Christmas greetings, updated about BSI ministry and the importance and relevance of the ecumenical ministry of the Bible Society in reaching the unreached with the living Word. The Women’s Fellowship Choir team of St. Peter’s Mar Thoma Church, Manganam rendered Christmas carols beautifully. Mr. George Mathew, Branch Secretary welcomed the gathering; Mr. E. J. George, Branch Treasurer expressed vote of thanks. The Branch members, a few Auxiliary Committee members & Staff participated in the Christmas Programme.

NORTH WEST INDIA AUXILIARY

“Scripture Engagement for Christian Widows and Suffering Women” 2023 Christmas season.   

The BSI-NWIA conducted the “Scripture Engagement for Christian Widows and Suffering Women” at four different places in Ghaziabad, Meerut, Faridabad & Delhi. The programmes were truly a blessing for the BSI Staff and for those women who were not recognised in our society for many years. We are grateful to the BSI Central Office, Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilization Department for recognising and honouring our mothers and sisters in its truest sense.

The first program was conducted at Dua ka Ghar Church in Meerut in Eastern Part of Uttar Pradesh where we were able to mobilise 40 women from various denominations and honoured them with Bibles and shawls. Mrs. A. Dean, BSI NWI Auxiliary Committee Member was our chief guest. Refreshment was served, provided by Mr. Anand Sahai one of the BSI, NWI Auxiliary Committee members. Pastor Finny Abraham was so kind to provide Church premises and all the logistic support. The second program was organised at Central Methodist Church Ghaziabad. Rev. Titoo Peter, Presbyter and BSI NWI Auxiliary Committee Member and Sister Aruna Jacob were the main dignitaries along with Pastor Jagdish Singh BSI, NWIA, Assistant Marketing. We were able to mobilise 55 special women from various denominations and honoured them with Bibles and shawls. Lunch was provided by the Ghaziabad Branch, BSI, NWIA. The third program was conducted at the City of Faridabad in Haryana by Mr. Sandeep Chauhan BSI, NWIA Marketing Assistant in co-ordination with Rev. George Masih, Presbyter of Methodist Church, Faridabad, Haryana. 28 Privileged women of Faridabad participated in the program. These women were honoured with Bibles and shawls. The last program was conducted in the City of Delhi at Hand of Jesus Yeshu Prarthana Bhawan Church, which gives importance to women in society and church. Pastor Ajeet was profoundly thankful to the Bible Society of India for organising such a program for the free distribution of Scriptures to widows and the suffering women in our society. Altogether 50 special women were given Bibles and shawls. Refreshments were served by the local Church.

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BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER Dec 2023 1st Edition

YOUR WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET AND A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH 
Psalm 119:105

In this season of joy and reflection we celebrate the timeless message Your Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path. This deep truth resounded in the hearts of the unassuming shepherds, who amidst the peace and tranquility of the night, heard the sacred Words in the song sung by a host of angels guiding them to the manger where the Savior was born. As we gather to rejoice in this miraculous birth, let us also remember the wise men who were guided by a celestial light and followed it,  as it illuminated the night sky. Their journey led them to the newborn king, and their gifts symbolized profound reverence and recognition of the divine Light.

In the spirit of the shepherds who heard the Word and the first ever Christmas carol, and the wise men who saw the Light, let us share the warmth of Christmas with one another as we exchange gifts and gestures of love. May we, like the shepherds, attune our hearts to the whispers of God’s word, finding solace and direction in the gentle nudge of its teachings as we resonate Christmas carols at home, in our churches and at public places. May the radiance of the streets, the glow of our churches and the illumination in our homes with the Star of Bethlehem strung on our corridors, mark the birth of Christ and dawn a new light to every seeking heart. May the Light and the Word continue to guide us towards compassion, understanding, and goodwill to brighten our journey to walk in the footsteps of love and kindness.

May the people who live in the darkness of hatred, violence and war, who live in the shadow of harassment and oppression see the Light and hear the Word of peace and hope this Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone.

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi
A/D – Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department

ODISHA AUXILIARY: CELEBRATION OF BIBLE SUNDAYS IN VARIOUS CHURCHES.

From 22nd October to 26th November 2023 the Odisha Auxiliary Secretary Rev Brajendra Kumar Kauri had the opportunity to engage in celebrating Bible Sunday in various churches across the Auxiliary. Despite difficulties God has enabled him to visit churches and celebrate Bible Sunday in English and Odia services at Odia Baptist Church in Sambalpur on 22nd October 2023, at Odia Baptist Church, Phulbani on 29th October, in the Union Church, Bhubaneswar and in the Cuttack Odia Baptist Church, Cuttack on 26th November. In all the churches, congregations were motivated and gave sacrificially to the ministry of the BSI.  In all the churches, it was a good opportunity to revive some old prayer partners and supporters for the Bible cause.

World Sunday School Day

The Auxiliary Secretary had another great opportunity to celebrate the World Sunday School Day at Bolangir on 3rd November, along with the 400 + children who gathered in the church. The children were very happy to hear from the Bible and listen to the story of Mary Jones.  On the same evening, in the Church, Rev Kauri was given an opportunity to observe Bible Sunday in the midst of a large crowd gathered from various congregations to talk about “Jesus, the foundation of the Church”. It was an enriching Sunday spent with hundreds of Bible lovers and an opportunity to meet with prayer partners, donors, church leaders and presbyters from many churches who were united in one heart to serve the Lord.

BSI GENERAL SECRETARY VISIT TO ODISHA AUXILIARY

BSI GENERAL SECRETARY VISIT TO ODISHA AUXILIARY AND CELEBRATION OF 40th ANNIVERSARY OF ODISHA AUXILIARY ON 25th  and 26th NOVEMBER 2023

On the 25th of November at 10.30 am the Auxiliary staff had a wonderful time meeting with the BSI General Secretary Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo in the Auxiliary Office. GS spoke very encouraging words to all the staff, and everyone was grateful to GS for giving his valuable time and encouragement.

Celebration of 40th Anniversary of Odisha Auxiliary on November 25, 2023

The Odisha Auxiliary celebrated God’s faithfulness on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Odisha Auxiliary at Cuttack Odia Baptist Church. The GS, Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo, was the Chief Guest and Speaker for this historic celebration. The message was timely, so inspiring, heart touching and served to enrich the church, it was an awakening call to all of us to put God first in everything. Many participants expressed their thanks for the entire programme. People from different denominations were able to join in this celebration and had a blessed time to thank God by remembering His faithfulness. The Auxiliary Secretary expressed his heartfelt thanks to Rev. Dr. Bijaya Kumar Pattnaik, the National Vice President of BSI, and all the Office Bearers of the Odisha Auxiliary along with some Auxiliary Committee members for their presence and support.

On 26th November

The General Secretary Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo shared the word of God and the ministry of BSI in two of the biggest churches on Sunday one in the Union Church, Bhubaneswar at 9:45 am, and the other at Cuttack Odia Baptist Church, Cuttack at 3.30 pm. The congregation was touched by the inspiring messages. Meeting with a few leaders and prayer partners after the services was very meaningful and would surely make an impact on the Bible Society ministries. 

RUBY JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS ON NOVEMBER 25th  2023: REFLECTIONS ON THE 40th  ANNIVERSARY OF BSI, ODISHA AUXILIARY (1983-2023)

Four decades of unstinting hard work is an accomplishment worth celebrating. The year 2023 marks Odisha Auxiliary’s 40th Anniversary since it was founded as a separate Auxiliary of the Bible Society of India. Since then, we have taken pride in developing the relationship with the Churches and Institutions, whether the work is big or small.  40 years is a long time to remain a viable unit of the Bible Society of India. Even as the past 40 years have seen many ups and downs, economic challenges in the market, technological innovations, and social changes, the one constant is our commitment to translate, print, distribute and to engage the people with Scripture, with the sole aim to build a transformed community. After all, we have started this auxiliary by listening to our prayer partners, supporters, stakeholders and formulating the cutting-edge Scriptures in different varieties, to meet their needs.

The Odisha Auxiliary: The Scripture Distribution Centre and later Bible Depot, which was functioning at Cuttack from 1943 as an extended arm of Kolkata Auxiliary’s work, gained full-fledged status as Orissa Auxiliary on 26th November 1983, which is known as Odisha Auxiliary to this day. Odisha has seen publication of Scriptures not only in Odia, the main language of the state, but also in several tribal languages such as Sora, Ho, Kui, Mundari and so on. Mounting demand for provision of Scriptures for the unlettered, the Auxiliary facilitated production of Audio Scriptures in Odia, Sora, and Juango language. The Odisha Auxiliary built the Bible House and inaugurated it on 19th September 1992 in Cuttack.

Work in Odisha Auxiliary: The translation work of the Odia New Testament was taken up in 1804 by Dr. William Carey and published in 1811. The Old Testament was completed and the whole Odia Bible was Published in 1819. The Odia Bible has transmuted into its present state after undergoing revisions at different times in 1839, 1840, 1844, 1862, 1872, 1927, 1957 by committed people of God from India and abroad. Besides this the common language version of the Odia Bible was published in 1995. Indeed, it was a matter of great joy that we had 12 varieties of Odia Bibles.  The Odisha Auxiliary celebrated its 25th  Anniversary in 2008, from 2008 to 2018 we were able to add 7 varieties and from 2019 till today we could add 8 more varieties of the Scriptures. While the Auxiliary is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023, we were able to publish 27 varieties of Odia Bibles as per the demand of the readers.

Scripture for Tribals: Odisha has a population of 47,920,000 at present. The state of Odisha occupies an important place in the country having a sizable concentration of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe population. Both ST & SC constitute 39.98% of the total population as per the 2011 census. The Bible Society of India has been focusing on the development of these people by providing the Scripture in their heart languages bringing about the transformation of their lives to live as an enlightened community. In the past 40 years some major tribal communities  have received the Scripture fully or partially such as: Sora, Kui, Santali, Mundari, Ho, Kuvi, Kalahandia, Desia, Mirgan, Bodaparaja, Sambalpuri.

Audio Scripture through songs: The Bible Society of India had produced about 7 different Audio CDs and Cassettes, to communicate the Scripture in song formats. It also has Audio Scripture mainly for the visually challenged and the aged people.

KERALA AUXILIARY

Congratulations to the newly Consecrated Bishops of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church

The Episcopal Consecration of three newly selected Bishops of Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Rt. Rev. Zacharias Mar Aprem Episcopa, Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Evanios Episcopa, Rt. Rev. Mathews Mar Seraphim Episcopa was held on 2nd December 2023, Saturday at SCS Campus, Thiruvalla. The Most Rev. Dr. Theodosius Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Auxiliary Committee Member & former BSI Executive Committee Member) led a blessed Consecration Service along with Rt. Rev. Dr.  Abraham Mar Paulos Episcopa (BSI Executive Committee Member), Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Barnabas Suffragan Metropolitan (former Auxiliary President), and other Bishops of Mar Thoma and various Churches. The Auxiliary President, Most Rev. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos Metropolitan; Vice President and Rt. Rev. Dr. Oommen George graced the solemn Service with their presence. The Auxiliary Secretary, Rev. Jacob Antony Koodathinkal, Auxiliary committee members along with several regional & branch leaders of the Auxiliary attended the meeting. The Bible Society of India extended its hearty congratulations and prayerful best wishes to the new Episcopas to lead the Church in a blessed manner. We are grateful to the Mar Thoma Church for being a great partner in the ministry of reaching the world with the Word.

BSI Thodupuzha Branch Reformation (Idukki Region)

The Branch reformation meeting of BSI Thodupuzha Branch in Idukki Region was held on 23rd November 2023 at Holy Trinity CSI Church, Thodupuzha. Rev T J Sebastian presided the meeting, Auxiliary Secretary gave the inaugural address. Clergy, Pastors and members from various churches attended the meeting. The following branch officials were selected along with the 45  working committee members, Rev. Binu Kuruvila (President), Mr. M. I. James (Secretary), Mr. Varghese P. Jacob (Treasurer). We appreciate the hard work and leadership of Dr. Josemon George, (Auxiliary Committee member & Regional Co-ordinator) for organising this meeting with great success. Congratulations and best wishes to all the elected Committee members.

Bible Convention, Perumbavoor (Ernakulam East Region)

The 101th Church festival and Bible Convention of St. George Jacobite Syrian Church, Perumani, Perumbavoor was held from 12th to 19th November 2023. On 15th November, Wednesday the Auxiliary Secretary attended the meeting, shared God’s Word and introduced the BSI ministry. We thank Fr. Behanan Pathiyarathuparambil (Vicar, St. George Jacobite Syrian Church), Mr. A.V. Benny (BSI Perumbavoor Branch Secretary & Church Committee member) and entire congregation for their support and prayers for the Bible Cause.

BOMBAY AUXILIARY

Bible Sunday was celebrated in Robinson Memorial Methodist Church, Byculla, Mumbai on 26th November 2023. Rev. Clement Christian, Auxiliary Secretary, Bombay Auxiliary preached the word of God. Bible exhibition cum sale was arranged in the Church premises.  The response was impressive and our heartfelt thanks to the Robinson Memorial Methodist Church.  We thank God for the opportunity given to the BSI Bombay Auxiliary.

 AIZAWL THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE VISIT TO BSI AND ECC

The 26 students of the Aizawl Theological College along with their Faculty Rev. Dr. Laldingluaia made a visit to the Bible Society of India on December 5, 2023 as part of their Urban Exposure for the BD Final Year Students for the Academic Year 2023-2024. They were welcomed by the General Secretary of the BSI Rev Dr. Kavito G. Zhimo along with other colleagues in the Logos office. GS was appreciative that they had  BSI in their itinerary.  As students of theology GS  advised the students to have a firm foundation in the knowledge of God being rooted in the Bible. Mr. Paul Stephen, Director, Production and Marketing while acknowledging the Mizo community and  their love and contribution to the BSI ministry shared few words about the journey of BSI publications with a record of the BSI being the third Bible Society among the 154 members of the United Bible Societies in terms of Bible distribution.  Some students among them, who are interested in Biblical studies, received copies of Hebrew and Greek Bibles published by the BSI as gifts from the Aizawl Auxiliary. They had a very interesting time in the BSI Archives as the BSI Archivist Mr. Binu took them into a journey of the history of the Bible in its various forms and languages. For the students, holding, seeing and reading the first print of the Mizo Holy Bible (1959) and some books of the New Testament – Luke and John (1898), Acts (1899), Mathew and Mark (1906), was truly heartwarming and a dream of a lifetime come true.

After spending a meaningful time with the BSI, they proceeded to the Ecumenical Christian Centre in Whitefield to be welcomed by the Director Rev. Dr. Sham P. Thomas and the Assistant Director Mr. Samuel Sunith R. The historical journey of ECC from the beginning to this day, with the faith of the founding director Rev. Dr. M.A. Thomas, alongwith the Ecumenical contributions on the world platforms narrated by the Director was very inspiring and thought provoking. As Christmas feelings filled the air, the ATC students presented beautiful songs. The ATC students and faculty were truly thankful for the warmth of the ECC family and the fellowship that was shared.

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BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER Nov 2023 2nd Vol

Blindness for Change: A Journey to Clearer Vision
Acts of the Apostles 9: 1-19

Acts chapter nine unfolds a poignant narrative within the tapestry of the Bible, distinguished by its unique portrayal of divine intervention. While the sacred text is replete with instances of God’s healing touch and restoration of sight, the account of Saul’s transformation is marked by an intentional divine act​ – God chose to blind him, not as punishment, but as a means of shaping Saul into a mature servant. Some interpretations posit that Paul’s blindness resulted from encountering an exceptionally powerful light, a transformative experience not shared by figures like Moses and other prophets who witnessed divine radiance without being blinded. This deliberate and intentional divine plan unfolded to work intricately in Paul’s life, offering profound lessons that resonate through the ages.

Firstly, Paul’s Transformative Encounter:​ Saul, later known as Paul, was a highly educated individual, deeply familiar with scripture. He had studied under renowned philosophers and scholars of his time, firmly believing in the coming of a Messiah to redeem the people. When confronted with the claim that the Messiah had already come in the person of Jesus, Paul couldn’t accept it, as it seemed to shatter the very hope he had in the awaited Messiah.​ His encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus occurred within the context of a zealous mission to protect what he perceived as the truth about the Messiah. However, Jesus, in His divine wisdom, confronted Paul’s misguided zeal. The encounter was not a rebuke to halt Paul’s zealous journey to destroy the early Christian community. Jesus confronted Paul to make him aware that in pursuing what he thought pleased God, he was inadvertently hurting the very cause he sought to defend. It was a pivotal moment in Paul’s life, redirecting his passion toward a truer understanding of God’s will.

Secondly, a challenge to see Beyond Sight:​ The narrative challenges a common misconception​ – that blindness is synonymous with weakness. Drawing parallels with individuals who are visually challenged, their judgments are deeply rooted in conviction, not just factual knowledge. They express their emotions authentically, without fear, embodying complete trust in their guides. This stands in contrast to many of us who grapple with trusting and willingly following God. Paul, however, demonstrated a remarkable willingness to trust and obey the Lord’s guidance. His life underwent a profound transformation as he realized that those he once deemed enemies were, in fact, his brothers and sisters.

Lastly, Inclusive Unity and ​Harmony:​ The passage underscores the importance of valuing and treating those with visual challenges as equals. Ananias addressing Saul as “Brother Saul” sets a powerful example. It emphasizes the need to recognize and treat them as brothers and sisters, helping them understand God’s plan in their lives. This act of acknowledgment and inclusion becomes a significant aspect of fostering understanding and facilitating transformation.

I’d like to conclude with a quote from Helen Keller, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”. May our ability to see lead to a vision that fosters a deeper understanding of God and the people around us, particularly those who are visually challenged, approached with gentleness and kindness.

The initiative by the Bible Society of India to release Braille Bibles in various languages aligns seamlessly with the vision embedded in this biblical narrative. By providing access to the Word, it aims to be a catalyst for transformation. With this vision in mind, the Bible Society of India has introduced Braille Bibles in 15 languages. Additionally, on November 14th, Braille Bibles in seven new languages​, such as: – Ao, Sumi, Angami, Saurashtra, Rabha, Mara and Biate were unveiled. The release took place in-house, marked by a thanksgiving ceremony led by Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo, the General Secretary of the Bible Society of India at the central office. The event was virtually attended by all auxiliaries. These Braille Bibles will be dispatched to their respective churches and language groups, intending to be unveiled in the presence of local church leaders and communities.

As these Braille Bibles are released, one cannot help but hope and pray that they become beacons of light for individuals with visual challenges. May these sacred texts enable them to perceive the truth and light within the Word, sparking transformations akin to the journey experienced by Saul, now Paul.

Mr. Caleb Martin Hilton
A/D – Media and Special Audience Department, BSI

KERALA AUXILIARY BRANCH OFFICIALS RETREAT 2023

A two-day conference of Branch & amp; Region Officials of BSI Kerala Auxiliary was held on November 10 and 11th 2023 at Mar Thoma Santhigiri Ashram, Aluva (Ernakulam District). The Auxiliary President, Most Rev. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos Metropolitan presided over the meeting. The Metropolitan exhorted that God speaks to man through the Word of God that sinks into our hearts and also by various incidents.  The Auxiliary President called upon the delegates to devote themselves to the Word of God which is moving and transforming. The Most Rev. Dr. Theodosius Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Auxiliary Committee Member) inaugurated the Conference. In the Inaugural sermon, the Metropolitan said that the unchanging Word will keep us from doing evil; He admonished the participants to live a Word-based life by showing love, patience and unity among the community.

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi (Asso. Director, CPRRM, Bangalore) made the theme presentation based on “God’s Word will never Change, but It will Change Life” and led a session on the succeeding day. She also interacted with the Auxiliary Committee members and Regional Coordinators during the special session. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Oommen George (Auxiliary Vice President), Rev. Dr. T. I. James (General Secretary, AISSA) conducted sessions based on the theme. Rev. Thomas K. Mathew (Director, Santhigiri Ashram), Rev. Jacob Antony Koodathinkal (Auxiliary Secretary), Dr. Santhosh John (Auxiliary Committee Member), Mr. Jacob John (Auxiliary Treasurer) shared during the meeting. The concluding session and dedication was led by Rev. Dr. T. I. James. The Thiruvankulam Branch Choir (Mary Jones Fellowship wing) and Aluva Karunalayam Special School Choir led the singing. Around 200 delegates including clergy, pastors and lay leaders from various Churches & Branches of the Auxiliary participated in the conference.

CHURCH RELATIONS MATTERS – KERALA AUXILIARY:

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi (Associate Director, CPRRM, Bangalore), the BSI Church Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Associate Director visited Churches, Seminaries and members of the Auxiliary Committee after the Branch Officials Retreat. Dr. Chhungi along with the Auxiliary Secretary visited India Bible College and Seminary, Kumbanad and spoke from the Word and introduced BSI ministry during the Chapel Service on Sunday. She shared God’s Word and the Bible Society ministries during the Worship at IPC Hebron Church, Kumbanad and IPC Peniel, Kozhencherry on Sunday, 12th  November.

Dr. Chhungi spoke from the Word in the morning staff devotion on Monday 13th November. She shared, that as Kerala is blessed with hearing the Gospel in the first century AD itself, the Kerala Christians are more accountable and privileged to reach the World with the Word of God. As part of Church Relations activities, Dr. Chhungi visited Mar Thoma Theological Seminary and Orthodox Theological Seminary at Kottayam. She was able to spend some time with Rev. Dr. V. S. Varughese and Fr. Dr. Reji Mathew, Principals of respective Theological Colleges and also Mrs. Starla Luke, the Auxiliary Committee Member. Being her first visit to the Auxiliary, it was a great and meaningful time to interact with the leaders and members of the Churches/Branches, Auxiliary Committee members and Auxiliary staff.

BOMBAY AUXILIARY

On November 12, 2023 the Bombay Auxiliary held Bible Sunday at Emmanuel Assembly Church, Pune. Rev. Clement Christian the Auxiliary Secretary shared the Word of God  and the ministry of the BSI. He encouraged youth to actively participated in the BSI ministry. Bible exhibition cum sale was arranged with good response from the congregation members. God’s faithfulness endures forever.

SILVER CREATOR AWARD FOR BESY CHOIR – AIZAWL AUXILIARY

The BESY Choir of the Aizawl Auxiliary has recently been awarded a Silver Creator Award (Silver Play Button) by YouTube for achieving more than 100k subscribers. A brief celebration programme was organized by the Youth Committee on November 16, 2023.

The BESY Choir is formed and administered by the Aizawl Auxiliary of the Bible Society of India. The acronym ‘BESY’ is formed from the first and last letters of BIBLE and SOCIETY. Formed in 1978 as the BESY Melodies and later as the BESY choir in the year 1981, the choir has inspired many people’s souls and has been instrumental in raising funds for the Bible cause. We praise God for empowering us to be a blessing for others through the humble ministry of the BESY Choir for many years.

Since the channel has been facing some unresolved issues, a new YouTube Channel ‘BESY Choir Official’ was created. Any new content since then were and will be uploaded on the new channel. The old channel will still be continued with the name ‘BESY Choir’ without the tag – “Official.’

DEDICATION OF THE BSI WAREHOUSE EXTENSION

We praise and thank God for giving us another opportunity to dedicate the newly constructed Warehouse Office Space on the Mezzanine floor for the Central Office. This office space was dedicated on the 20th of November 2023 by Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo, General Secretary  of the Bible Society of India. GS shared from John 9: 4  ‘ As long as it is day, I must work for the one who has sent me …’ ,  encouraging all who were present  from this verse.

The function was attended by the Directors and HODs of different departments of the Central Office. The Warehouse office space was made in line with the vision of our General Secretary, to make the workplace enjoyable and excellent. The dedication programme was organized and led by Mr. Pradeep Kumar Suna, Assistant Director (Product Logistics). 

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BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER November 2023

DREAMS AS A CATALYST FOR TRANSFORMATION

Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Mathew 1:19-21

In the realm of human existence, dreams have always held a mysterious and captivating allure. From the surreal landscape of slumber to the corridors of our subconscious minds, dreams serve as a gateway to the extraordinary. In the Bible, dreams are not merely figments of the imagination; they are potent messengers, often serving as the divine blueprint for significant outcomes. Sigmund Freud’s theory of dreams suggests that dreams represent unconscious desires, thoughts, wishes, fulfillments, and motivations. Our thoughts and dreams are closely connected, which help in fulfilling the visions we have in life. Nevertheless, dreams that we have in our sleep are not mere dreams that fades away like the morning dew. By following some of the biblical narratives, dreams can be powerful tools for warnings to be ready for an imminent disaster or to shape our vision into reality and a catalyst for transformation of a person or certain situation for the good of that person or the society.

Consider Joseph, who was happy being in love with Mary, dreaming of being happily married. While Joseph was happily dreaming about his future life together with Mary rumour had its way that was so disturbing. He surely must have wished that the rumour was a hoax. In this moment of confusion, God sent an Angel to talk to him through a dream. Joseph understood that the truth was revealed to him by God through his dream. His confusion was resolved because he believed in his dream. If we apply this narrative to ourselves today, I wonder how many of us would have brushed this dream aside and preferred to chart our own course never knowing how we might thwart the plan of God in our lives.

God sending clear messages through dreams is a mystery. Pilate’s wife had a dream where God tells her to tell her husband to have nothing to do with that righteous man Jesus, something Pilate should have paid attention to when Jesus was on trial. Scientific research has its way of explaining the association between real life and dreams while we sleep. They refer to it as the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep that plays a role in memory consolidation, emotional processing, brain development, and dreaming. The Bible has many stories about powerful dreams. Dreams can be interpreted in many ways synonymous with divine communications, visions of the future, source of inspiration, transformation, call to action, etc. Science also does not negate the connection between daydreaming and dreams in our sleep in such a way that there are general relationships between elements of nocturnal dreams and daydreaming style within individuals. For example, a daydreaming style characterized by anxiety and distractibility is correlated with bedtime dreams that are highly bizarre, emotional and nightmarish. Our social reality can determine what we see or experience in our dreams when we sleep. Therefore, when we are weary and confused, not knowing what to do, if we fall back on God, often, God speaks to us through dreams. The Christmas story that began with the Angel appearing to Mary and subsequently to Joseph through a dream, confirms my faith that God intervenes in human lives in many mysterious ways. Often, God’s ways are beyond our human rational understanding so was the birth of Jesus for our redemption and transformation of the world.

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi, A/D CPRRMD

A Brief Report of the United Bible Societies – World Assembly 2023, Egmond, the Netherlands by Rev. Brajendra Kumar Kauri, Auxiliary Secretary, Odisha Auxiliary

 By God’s grace, amidst confusion and numerous challenges, it was truly an honour and privilege for me to represent the Bible Society of India as an Emerging Leader at the World Assembly 2023 in the Netherlands. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to our General Secretary, the Board and the Leadership at the Central Office in Bangalore for their unwavering support and for ensuring all the necessary arrangements were made for me to attend the prestigious  event.  Furthermore, my sincere thanks to the Leadership of the United Bible Societies for selecting me to be a part of this Assembly.

About 390 attendees, including representatives from 147 Bible Societies around the world, met for the World Assembly held in the Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands, between 12 – 18 October 2023. The theme for the Assembly was “God’s Word: Reconciliation for the World”.

I would like to share some of the key insights that I have gained from the World Assembly 2023 as follows:

  1. Most individuals lack an understanding of the distinction between the terms “unreached” and “unengaged unreached”.  It is surprising how many churches and ministries, despite being capable and mission oriented, are unaware of the significant number of people in the world who still cannot access the Word of God in a language and format they can comprehend.  Our mission is a timeless one, but it must be carried forward in a sustainable manner, both in terms of resources and adaptability. I observed and learned that sustainability is about more than just financial stability; it is about the ability to evolve and respond to ever-changing needs. We leave here today determined to deepen relationships with our partners, donors, well-wishers, and other important stakeholders, inspired by the dedication of the United Bible Societies to adapt and thrive in this dynamic world of Bible mission. This shows us where we are and where we will be.
  2. The strategies and engagement with churches depends on the context. Involving with the family and young people and about content creation. How can Bible Society partner with churches and organizations to create meaningful content that can grow into Bible engagement. We need to present  a new image. It is not so much as what we do but how we do it that matters. Through various programs that align with our mission and vision, we strive to ensure that the translated  Bible reaches its intended audience and fosters meaningful connections. From creative storytelling to digital platforms, we have been inspired by these approaches and how impactful they have been to the intended audiences. We are inspired and determined to implement them in our work back home.
  3. In a world marked by migration and displacement, the Assembly has emphasized the importance of addressing the spiritual needs of migrants and refugees. We have been deeply moved by the discussions on this topic, and the significant role of the Bible Societies in providing comfort and guidance to those who are in search of hope and a sense of belonging. The Assembly has instilled in us a renewed sense of purpose in supporting these marginalized communities. We appreciate and congratulate the UBS for the launch of the Migration Bible, an important resource in Bible engagement and ministry to the marginalized.
  4. The power of collaboration has been a resounding theme throughout the Assembly. We work together as a Fellowship because we firmly believe that this collaboration is founded on biblical principles. We will consider the reallocation of resources for Bible Engagement in so far as this helps us in our mission sustainability and distribution. It is through Bible Engagement that churches are  revitalized and individual lives, communities and nations are transformed. We have witnessed the strength that comes from working together, surpassing boundaries, cultures, and denominations and para church organizations. The insights we have gained affirm that united action can address global challenges and multiply our impact.
  5. In terms of Mission resilience, the purpose of change management is to implement strategies for effecting change, controlling change, and helping people to adapt to change. It gives a clear direction, communicating regularly in a spirit of transparency and coordination with the spirit of togetherness as a team. That is where the collaboration started with Bible translation, publishing, distribution, and engagements of the Scripture with advocacy.

I intend to carry forward these lessons and the statements that we have made with unwavering commitment. I understand that our mission goes beyond the pages of Scripture, reaching into the depths of people’s hearts and the fabric of communities the world over. Together, let us ensure mission sustainability to further the cause of Bible translation, engage diverse audiences, support migrants, and foster collaborations that transcend all boundaries. I have experienced the richness of God and His glory by being willing to learn.  To have a fruitful result we need the Lord’s companionship every day in our personal responsibility and community life. 

 The Big Conversation Statement on the topics such as Bible engagement, Bible translations, Mission resilience, Digital transformation, Creation care, serving diaspora communities, along with the printed Bible distribution had an immense effect on the UBS fellowship.

I had the amazing opportunity to meet with the Leadership of UBS Global Mission Team, General Secretaries, and the Boards, as well as the Emerging Leaders from various Bible Societies.  I am truly grateful for this exceptional opportunity, and I hope that our collective dedication to the mission of the United Bible Societies through the Bible Society of India will continue to shine with the message of hope, love and faith bringing reconciliation to our nation and world through God’s Word.

The Uncomfortable Normal: Love – Disturbing Conventions
by the Students of the United Theological College

Here is the story of the students of United Theological College, as part of their Intensive Field Education under the Bible Society of India:

It was our first venture into the unfamiliar campus known as the Home of Hope.  With no idea of what to anticipate, we were greeted by the gatekeeper, who happened to be an inmate and a volunteer.  As we were guided into the shed to meet the supervisor, a strong odor enveloped us. Inside, we encountered individuals in a state of utter helplessness, both physically and mentally.  The supervisor was seen applying medicines to the wounded bodies, while volunteers assisted in bathing and drying the inmates, and applying ointments on their wounds. They were given their daily tablets for the wounds to heal. Our eyes, noses, and ears could not avoid witnessing the agony of the people who were suffering in pain.

We felt disturbed and even prayed to God asking, “God, protect us and fill us with your Holy Spirit to bear these scenes and stand as a true witness to your love without murmuring and protect us not to fall sick!” Such was our condition. We were disturbed to know that this uncomfortable life is the ‘normal’ for those involved in this home. A little later we served food to them. The next day, after we gathered courage through prayer we were able to get involved physically by helping them in cutting their nails. It was a blessing for us that we could have one-on-one conversations with them which made us feel more confident to serve such people. We truly feel that this ministry is just like the ministry of Mother Teresa in the city of Joy in Kolkata and are convinced that these are the people for whom Lord Jesus came into this world, to serve and not to be served in the most difficult terrain.

Mr. T. R. Raja aka Auto Raja, the founder of this home, was a proponent of the love of Jesus Christ and through this experience, we were inspired to break our conventional notions of comfort and to become uncomfortable for the sake of Love. It was eye-opening and challenging to truly be praxis-oriented in serving humanity having Jesus as our role model. As was repeated time and time again by Mr. Raja, “Jesus ‘touched’ the leper to heal him and thus we should be daring to do the same”. Mr. Raja was influenced by Matthew 25:40, “I the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me’.” And thus we were also inspired to live for the least of these.

The Home of Hope is a home that cares for the destitute, schizophrenics, mentally challenged, and disabled men and women, who were abandoned or living in the streets. The home also cares for orphan children. There are about 400 men, 350 women, and 50 children on an average. We urge you to witness and participate in this ministry and such similar ministries for the helpless and hopelessly broken in body and spirit.

Team members: J Yesurathnam, Bian A. Sangma, C. S. Pradeep and Koushhik P J.

BSI KERALA AUXILIARY KATTAKADA BRANCH (TRIVANDRUM): BIBLE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION

BSI Kerala Auxiliary held their Bible Convention, Bible exhibition and sales at CSI Church, Kattakada under the auspices of Kattakada Branch from 20th to 22nd October 2023. The Auxiliary Secretary Rev Jacob Antony Koodathinkal shared the Word on Sunday Worship at the CSI Church. The Bible Exhibition began with prayer by Rev. M. S. Swingly, (Branch President). We thank Rev. Sadheeshlal  Mr. Vimal Raj (Branch Secretary); Mr. Gunamony (Regional co-ordinator, Trivandrum East Region), the Church Committee and the entire congregation for their leadership, great support and participation. 

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BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER October 2023

Biblical Reflection

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-9

Photo Credit: Mangrove forest in Baratang Island, Middle Andaman

My personal experience of a walk in the enchanting Mangrove forests in Sundarbans, back in 2019 and in Baratang Island, Andamans just a few days ago makes me stand in awe at the intrinsic beauty of God’s creation and the solemnity of it all. The Mangrove tree narrates the text of Jeremiah 17:7-8, which talks about the well-being and spiritual richness of a person who places their trust in God.

As we navigated distant miles treading the lands, forests, and seas of the dense Andaman Islands, my imagination was bewildered at the glory of God in all creation, His signature imprinted on our beautiful cosmos. When I sit back and ponder on this text the verses can best be understood with the mesmerizing beauty of the Mangrove trees found only on the coastal intertidal zones. They teem with the richness of blue carbon, corals, algae, oysters, lobsters, crabs, and a myriad of species, and provide a home for many beautiful flora and fauna along with wild animals and birds. The evergreen leaves are the fodder and home for many living creatures that crawl and fly. The roots of these Mangroves are deeply anchored in the waters, branching out to entangle with the other mangroves, holding and supporting each other; not apprehensive of the drought, tsunamis, high tides or low, cyclones, or tornadoes. The mangrove trees bear countless fruit, supplying all the necessities to support the ecosystem.

Amidst this silence of the mangrove forest, you will hear the singing of the birds, the chirping of insects, the fluttering of the butterflies, as well as the silent conversation of the marine species. In the stillness and serenity of the roots that embrace and lock with each other,

If you take the time to pause, watch and listen, you will hear the voice of God echoing how wonderful our creator God is that his beauty is reflected in such diversity. If only we learn how to weave our colours, creed and cultures and shape ourselves like the Mangrove forests, sharing God’s amazing strength, we will stand tall and confident to bear fruit in all seasons. Our path may seem murky and mired, but God will guide our way. In God, there is nothing to fear. May God bless us all. Amen

Photo credit: Dhani Nallah Mangrove Walk Way, Middle Andaman

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi, A/D CPRRMD

Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Associate Auxiliary

A first of sorts, the BSI – Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department held meaningful programs in the Andaman Islands from September 16th to the 22nd, since the BSI Sales Depot in Andaman and Nicobar Islands was promoted to the Associate Auxiliary on July 1st, 2020. The reception and welcome we received from the churches were heart-warming and encouraging. The primary focus of our visit was to offer gratitude to the Churches in the islands in order to strengthen our Church relations for a meaningful scriptural engagement with the community.

The BSI is indebted to all the churches in the Andamans for graciously opening their doors to us. Their hospitality was instrumental in furthering our mission and spreading the message of Christ-like love. We truly endorse this partnership and look forward to having more such associations to strengthen the bible movement in their beautiful sanctuary.

Congregations from various Church denominations spanning the length and breadth of the South, Middle, and North Islands, along with the enthusiastic participation of the pastors, children, men, women, and youth were significant indicators of the increasing support for the bible ministry. The participation of the Associate Auxiliary Committee members from different islands and various church denominational backgrounds is a testimony that God is at work. The endeavors of Dn. Ranjit Paswan, the Associate Auxiliary Secretary, and Mr. Shaji John, Marketing and Accounts Officer were the strengths of the BSI in the islands. We look forward to strengthening the BSI ministry in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with more activities related to Scripture engagement, Bible distribution, relationship building, and resource mobilization. Together, we can continue to spread the Word and positively transform the lives of many on the peninsula

Donors Meet at Ceylon and India General Mission Church in Hindupur, Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary:

The Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary organized a donors meet at Ceylon and India General Mission Church in Hindupur town in Andhra Pradesh on September 10, 2023. The pivotal point was when significant supporters of the ministry of BSI gathered together to reaffirm their support towards BSI. We are obliged God for their dedicated prayer and financial sustenance.

67th Annual Meeting & Thanksgiving Service of the BSI Kerala Auxiliary

The Bible Society of India-Kerala Auxiliary celebrated its 67th Annual Meeting and Thanksgiving Service on 23rd September 2023, Saturday at the Commr. P. E. George Memorial Salvation Army Church, Kowdiar, Trivandrum.

The Auxiliary President, Most Rev. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos Metropolitan presided the meeting. Rev. Dr. Kavito G. Zhimo, BSI General Secretary gave the inaugural speech. He exhorted the gathering from the book of Joshua 1:8 on the importance of meditating on the word and of living in accordance with the scriptures. Rt. Rev. Dr. Abraham Mar Paulos Episcopa (BSI Executive Committee Member), Rt. Rev. Dr. Oommen George (Auxiliary Vice President), Very Rev. K. Y. Jacob (BSI Executive Committee Member – alternate), Fr. Dr. Reji Mathew (Auxiliary Committee Member), Col. P. John William (Territorial Commander, Salvation Army Church), Rev. M. Mohanan (Synod President, India Evangelical Lutheran Church), Rev. Dr. C. I. David Joy (Principal, KUTS, Trivandrum) and Mrs. Starla Luke (Auxiliary Committee Member) delivered benedictory speeches and felicitations. The Bishops, clergies, church leaders from various churches; Auxiliary committee members, regional/branch leaders & members graced the occasion with their presence.

The Auxiliary Secretary, Rev. Jacob Antony Koodathinkal presented the Annual Report and the treasurer, Mr. Jacob John presented the Annual Audited Accounts for the year 2022-2023. During the meeting, special prayers for the people suffering in Manipur were also offered. Those Branches/Regions who have excelled in Resource Mobilisation, the Branches collected above one lakh rupees and branches and individuals who excelled in the Mary Jones Card collection were also honoured and awarded mementos. The Meeting was blessed with around 500 participants. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all for their blessed presence & leadership. We are grateful to the Program General Convenor, Chev. Dr. Koshy M. George (Central Council Member) for their unceasing efforts & effective co-ordination. We acknowledge with gratitude Lt. Col. Daniel J. Raj (Auxiliary Committee Member), Capt. Jomon Jacob (Corps. Officer), the Church Songsters and all members of the Salvation Army Church for their sincere support & prayers in the blessed functioning of the meeting. The Bible sales were also arranged and the Auxiliary staff actively participated in the subsequent meetings.

Being the first visit of our General Secretary to the Kerala Auxiliary, the Auxiliary Office Bearers, committee members and staff welcomed the new GS in the Bible House, Kottayam on Friday the 22. The General Secretary shared from Gods word in the morning staff devotion and had a meaningful time of interaction with the Auxiliary Committee members and staff. We, as the auxiliary praise and thank God for His inexpressible gift and all the goodness bestowed upon us.

New Branch Formation: BSI Peerumedu Branch, 150th Branch of Kerala Auxiliary

The 150th branch of the Kerala Auxiliary was formed on 27th August in Idukki Region BSI Peerumedu at Pambanar CSI Church. Rev Suneesh P. Divakaran (Vicar) presided the meeting. The Auxiliary Secretary gave the inaugural address. Clergy, pastors and members from various churches attended the meeting. The following persons were elected as the office bearers: Rev Suneesh P. Divakaran (President), Mr. S. John Paul (Secretary), Pastor James M. (Treasurer) and other members were also elected in the Branch Committee. We cherish the efforts and support of Rev. Suneesh P. Divakaran, Mr. John Paul and the pastors for establishing the new branch.

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BSI and BibleProject

Free Bible Videos in Indian languages

Experience an exciting journey to engage with the Bible. The BibleProject brings animated and very creatively made videos to help the church in India to study the Bible. These videos are not just though provoking but
helpful to understand the Word and making it message real to our lives.

Bible Society of India and Bible Project is collaborating to making it accessible and available in Indian languages.

Click the link below to watch videos in your preferred language.

1.       Bengali

https://bibleproject.com/Bengali_India/

2.       Gujarati

https://bibleproject.com/Gujarati/

3.       Hindi

https://bibleproject.com/hindi/

4.       Kannada

https://bibleproject.com/Kannada/

5.       Malayalam

https://bibleproject.com/Malayalam/

6.       Marathi

https://bibleproject.com/Marathi/

7.       Nepali

https://bibleproject.com/Nepali/

8.       Punjabi

https://bibleproject.com/Punjabi/

9.       Tamil

https://bibleproject.com/Tamil/

10.   Telugu

https://bibleproject.com/Telugu/

There also many resources for study notes, reading plan, Posters, scripts, videos etc.

To download Script and other resources visit https://bibleproject.com/downloads/

These resources are constant updated and new content are added. So kindly visit this website to keep updated. 

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BSI Bimonthly E-NEWSLETTER September 2023

Rev Dirk Gevers, Secretary General, United Bible Societies with the Bible Society of India

It was a great joy for the Bible Society of India to have Rev Dirk Gevers, Secretary General, the United Bible Societies (UBS) on August 21 and 22, 2023. It was good to have Mr. Andrian White too, the Chief Operating Officer of UBS with Dr. Gevers during these two days. Our UBS guests were honoured with our Indian traditional Kashmere Shawls and with a logo of the Bible Society of India as a memento. The visit encompassed significant events including the BSI Ecumenical Evening hosted on behalf of our UBS Guests on August 21, where Church leaders, institutional heads and well wishers of the BSI from Bangalore were invited to honor our UBS guests. The General Secretary of the Bible Society of India, Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo welcomed all our esteemed and significant guests with great joy. We were extremely happy to have the BSI President Rev Dr. Mrs. Leelavathi Vemuri, Msgr Dr. S. Jayanathan, Vicar General, Archbishop Diocesan of Bangalore, Rev. Priyantha Wijegoonawardene, GS, Ceylon Bible Society, Dr Julian Sundarsingh and members of Global Mission Team, UBS with all our valued invitees to make the Ecumenical Evening a great event.

The evening was graced by remarkable performances that exemplified the rich cultural tapestry of India and the unity that faith fosters. The Bangalore Mizo Association – Students of Kristu Jayanthi College, Bangalore presented a mesmerizing Mizo Cultural Dance called “Cheraw.” This traditional dance, characterized by the rhythmic tapping of bamboo sticks and nimble steps of the dancers, showcased the Mizo heritage and celebrated the harmony between tradition and the modernity. Adding to the cultural mosaic was a Bharatanatyam solo dance performed by the talented Ms. Harshitha R, a science student of St. Joseph’s University, Bangalore This classical dance form, deeply rooted in Indian tradition, conveyed a sense of devotion and spirituality. The performance captivated the audience with its intricate movements and expressive storytelling. The musical segment of the evening was equally enchanting. Ms. Lalthanpuii and Mr. Malsawmdawngliana graced the stage with their melodious voices, rendering two beautiful songs that touched the hearts of all present. The music transcended linguistic and cultural boundaries, resonating with the essence of the event – God’s Word for all tongues and tribes.

The visit of Rev Dirk Gevers and Mr. Andrian White commenced with the Morning Devotion at the Logos, BSI Central Office in Bangalore on August 21 at 9:00 am, during which Rev Dirk Gevers delivered a thought-provoking sermon. His message centered on the theme of God’s sustaining love, protection, blessings and grace based on Psalm 107. On August 22 in the Morning Devotion Mr Andrian White led us into a time of reflection from the book of Nehemiah. He emphasised the importance of working in partnership by trusting the leaders, with a well organised structure as Nehemiah did plan in rebuilding the Jerusalem Temple, a model, which is very well fitting for the UBS, operating from more than 200 countries across the world for the Bible cause.

We seek the blessings of God for Rev Dirk Gevers and for all the Global Mission Team leaders of UBS as they lead the Bible ministry across the continents. We give honour and thanks to our Almighty God, who makes all things possible and wonderful for those who give their heart for the Bible cause.

Celebration of International Youth Day

On August 11, 2023, along with the world wide international youth body, the BSI celebrated the International Youth Day with a theme “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World” by following a common Order of Worship prepared by the Dimapur Auxiliary. A very meaningful prayer time was spent in all 17 Auxiliaries and Central Offices. As BSI is tuning our mission focus on youth, this year’s International Youth Day celebration dwells with the importance of youth as leaders not only for future, but as leaders of our present day’s BSI ministry.

Flag Hoisting on the 77th Independence Day

Our country India, the second largest democracy and the largest population in the world hoisted the national flag, signifying the 77th year of independence from the British rule on August 15, 2023. Rev Dr Along W. Jamir, Director, Translation Department solemnly hoisted the national flag, and gave a powerful Independence Day  message by reminding us of how important it is for Christian to hold on to the truth that we confess, and to be the faithful citizens who always strive for the harmony of the people amidst our differences and diverse cultural background and languages. He emphasised the important roles the BSI is playing for the country by taking the task of bringing the Word of God into the heart language of many. Dwelling on the passage in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6 Verse 33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Dr Along reminded us of the duty of the Christians to seek God’s Kingdom first in all our doing so that we may follow the Gospel of truth, justice and righteousness in the ministry we are called to be God’s witness. Flag hoisting was done in all the BSI 17 Auxiliaries where prayer was offered for the leaders of our nation and for all the citizens to experience the true meaning of freedom.

Celebration of William Carey Day

On August 17, 2023, for the first time, the Bible Society of India celebrated the 262nd birthday of Rev Dr. William Carey as part of its significant day in the history of BSI by following the common Order of Worship prepared by the Calcutta Auxiliary. William Carey, often referred to as the “Father of Modern Missions,” was born in 1761 in a humble village in England. From his early years, he displayed an insatiable curiosity and a deep sense of purpose. His journey took him from being a shoemaker to becoming a renowned linguist, scholar, and missionary trailblazer.

Carey’s impact on the realm of missions and Bible translation was nothing short of transformative. At a time when the concept of global missions was not widely embraced, Carey championed the idea that the Gospel message should reach every corner of the world. He famously declared, “Expect Great Things from God; Attempt Great Things for God.” This rallying cry epitomized his ethos of unwavering faith and determination.

One of Carey’s most significant contributions was his pioneering efforts in linguistic studies and Bible translation. Recognizing the power of language in conveying the depth of God’s message, Carey dedicated himself to mastering multiple languages, including Sanskrit and Bengali. Carey translated the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Hindi, Assamese, and Sanskrit. He also translated parts of it into 29 other languages and dialects. His translation work extended beyond the written word; it was a bridge connecting diverse cultures to the life-changing truths of the Gospel.

In 1793, Carey and his fellow missionaries embarked on an arduous journey to India, a land of unfamiliar languages, customs, and challenges. Yet, despite the trials they faced, Carey’s commitment to sharing the message of love and redemption remained unshaken. Carey’s legacy extended beyond his linguistic and translation endeavors. He laid the foundation for modern missions by establishing schools, advocating for social reforms, and fostering the growth of indigenous leadership within the local communities. His holistic approach to mission work demonstrated his deep understanding of the interconnectedness of spiritual and societal transformation. One of the greatest legacy William Carey left for the Indian community behind is the establishment of Serampore College, Serampore in West Bengal in 15 July 1818, when Serampore was a part of a Danish colony. King Frederick VI of Denmark granted a Royal Charter giving Serampore College the status of a University to confer degrees.

In the year 1811 February 21, due to the heavy work load and increasing demand on Bible translation into many Indian languages, William Carey’s translation mission work was handed over to the British and Foreign Bible Society in Calcutta, entitled “The Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society” with the same objectives as those in London. Henceforth, the responsibility of Bible translation, printing and distribution is in the hand of the Bible Society of India. The Bible Society of India therefore recorded the February 21, 1811 as the date on which the Bible Society of India is founded.

Acknowledgement: A few pictures taken by Rev Laltlankima, faculty Serampore College, the tomb, the building, the original museum pieces from the William Carey Museum, Serampore.

Observance of Indian Christian Witness Day

August 23 finds its significant space in the calendar of the Indian communities, especially among the Christian community as we remember the onslaught on Christians living in Kandhamal town at Phulbani District in Odisha in the year 2008, resulting in many horrifying deaths, destructions of church buildings, individual houses, shops and loss of huge properties. Thousands of them are left in deep pain, with immense traumatizing memories as innocent girls and women were gang-raped, many were arrested as culprits, some were convicted for life imprisonment.
This year for the first time, the BSI observed this August 23, as Indian Christian Witness Day, remembering those who paid the price for being faithful to their faith in Christ. The BSI staff from all the Central Offices and the 17 Auxiliaries gathered together virtually, spending time together in prayer, reflecting on the power of Christian witness. We had Dr. John Dayal, a well known personality in India, who, in his 54-years professional career had been a Crime reporter, War Correspondent, Editor, Author and occasional documentary film maker, a social and political activist on issues of human rights, freedom of faith, nuclear disarmament and in the movement against capital punishment. A former President of the All India Catholic Union (founded 1919), former Secretary General of the All India Christian Council, and member of the Indian Government’s National Integration Council (NIC). He is an outspoken person in his opposition to nuclear weapons, death penalty, bigotry, targeted hate and violence through print media and television. We were all challenged by the powerful message from Dr. John Dayal to stand firm on our faith and in our fight against injustices wherever we are. Special prayer was offered for the state of Manipur – for the political unrest to settle; for victims of violence, families of those who were murdered, victims of gang rape, displaced families who fled to safety for their lives, who are terribly truamatised, lost everything they had when their homes and properties were burnt to ashes, for Christian community who are tortured and their worshipping places were burnt and vandalised. The message from Dr. John Dayal about Christian love, resilience and perseverance amidst trials and challenging situations has truly conveyed the essence of ‘Christian Witness’ today.

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