Generosity in Translation

Thought this was an amazing example of generosity in translation. Having personally known key translators, one is aware of the incredible investment into making such vernacular scripts available for the communities that are anxiously awaiting them. Having watched the eyes light up when first hearing the translation of the Words of Life in their mother tongue for the first time, I’m totally convinced of its value. GN

Roguald Compaoré, a 53 year-old farmer, helped with the translation. “Before, if you hadn’t been to a French school, you couldn’t read the Scriptures, but now, if you’ve only learned the alphabet, you can read the Bissa Lébir NT. It’s so much easier.” As part of the 36-year project, the whole village learned to read and write. “We feel very happy,” Roguald says, “because it won’t be thrown away. It will last.”

If you would like to be part of this generosity through focussed prayer or assisting in other ways, then do contact the folk below. GN

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Generous Spiritual Insight

An interesting comment from good friends in Switzerland.

Our church group organised a seminar for collecting mushrooms this year, and I was asked to be part of this venture, giving some spiritual input in the evenings. So Christina and I attended this weekly seminar, helped to find lots of delicious mushrooms, learnt to differentiate between the edibles and the poisonous. And we found some excellent spiritual parallels in the Bible like the great themes of seeking and finding, testing everything and holding to the good, avoiding every kind of evil and the joy of admiring God’s awesome creativity in the world of mushrooms.

Thought this creative insight shared so generously with the young folk was excellent and worth posting for you to read. It may spark ideas for your to use or encourage keen observation for such relevant application in teaching.  If you would like to be in touch with the authors, then just let me know. GN

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Generosity in Action

Naval, Military & Air Force Bible Society was founded in 1779 by George Cussons and John Davies, Lay Wesleyan Methodists, supported by the Christian philanthropist, John Thornton. The Society was initially called The Bible Society. In 1804 – when The British and Foreign Bible Society was founded – the name was changed to Naval and Military Bible Society, with Air Force added in 1961.

The Society’s declared aim and mission statement were recorded with the date ‘8th of November 1779’ on the front page of its first Minute Book:

“For purchasing Bibles to be distributed among British Soldiers and Seamen of the Navy, to spread abroad (by the blessing of God) Christian knowledge and reformation of manners.”

William Wilberforce, the slavery abolitionist MP, Henry Thornton, Lord Palmerston and Rowland Hill are among a distinguished list of early Vice-Presidents and council members. In his active support of the Society, William Wilberforce was joined by other key figures in the Slave Trade Abolition Movement, including John Newton, Thomas Clarkson, Zachary Macaulay and Granville Sharp.

The Duke of Wellington became the Society’s President in 1816 and remained a council member for 36 years until his death.

The Society’s first Minute Book records that Bibles were granted to soldiers in the Guards and to Royal Navy officers onboard the Victory. Described as the world’s first mission to seamen, the Society has also supplied merchant sailors of every nationality since 1820 through seafarers’ missions.

Records show that by the1860s, from its humble beginnings, the number of Bibles and Scripture portions it had distributed now exceeded one million.

The Society continued to supply Britain’s forces throughout the world including during campaigns in the Crimea, India, Afghanistan, China, Egypt and South Africa, but by the end of the 19th century its support base was declining. In 1910 it was entrusted to Scripture Gift Mission, under whose care it began to thrive again, such that many millions of Scriptures were distributed to Allied Forces in both World Wars.

In 2004, the Society again became an independent charity and moved to its present office in Portsmouth. It is directed by a Board of Trustees, which includes serving members and chaplains of the three Armed Forces and Merchant Seafarers Missions, under the chairmanship of The Venerable Ron Hesketh CB, former Chaplain in Chief, Royal Air Force. Its Executive Director is Richard Prendergast.

The Society continues to fulfil its mission statement distributing Bibles and booklets at home and abroad. In 2009 it provided over 72,000 items of Christian literature, including 6,878 Bibles and 25,600 New Testaments.

What we do

Our mission is to supply Bibles and Christian resources to the uniformed services, seafarers and associated organisations.

Literature is provided on request and reimbursement is sought through donations and sponsorship to meet production costs and overheads.

Bibles and New Testaments are available in the Contemporary English (CEV), New International (NIV) and New Revised Standard (NRSV) versions. We can provide other Bible versions, foreign language translations and Christian literature from a variety of sources. So if what you require is not shown on our order form, please contact us and we will endeavour to locate and supply it.

Click on our Links page to find alternative resources, including where to obtain audio/visual Bible software for your mobile phone or ipod.

Booklets produced by the society cover many aspects of life, including:

The importance of character,
The challenge of leadership,
The necessity of moral and ethical values,
The need for God through Jesus Christ,
Combat stress, Prayer.

Registered Charity Number 1102593 Company Number 05021052

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Generous Farmers

A Farm that Sparkles with Creativity

Nestled into the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire is a unique farm – one which has many fascinating projects located on it. Apart from the 60 or so business units, there are special facilities for youngsters with learning challenges and even a training unit for those who are older and need help with living independently. It was wonderful to meet some of the youngsters showing the precious plants they were growing. The farm visit is obviously a highlight in their lives.

A watersports lake has been created and is popular during the summer months and beyond. Seminars can be held on site and there is an excellent farm shop. Campers are welcome and there are special family areas for youngsters to enjoy a day out. There are “fields of fun” and mazes plus farm-trailer tours. If your interest is fishing there is ample opportunity for that also.

There is also an Activity Centre with a variety of events to enjoy.

David and Di Harper, the owners/managers, have enjoyed farming and bringing up their family at Holt Heath since 1967, however, David’s roots in the local community go back further as he spent his childhood living at beautiful Holt Castle. David has always felt privileged to be able to enjoy the countryside in Worcestershire and delights in the opportunity to share his love of the countryside with visitors to the farm.

Top Barn Farm is a family run business, originally an arable and horticultural farm growing cereal, sugar beet, vegetables and fruit along with farming a pedigree herd of South Devon beef cattle and 500 breeding ewes. Now Top Barn Farm offers huge diversity and the Harper family continue to look at new opportunities and ventures that complement the traditional values of farming and being involved in the local community

David and Di are actively involved in Farmers Overseas Action Group (FOAG) which is an organisation that sets up agricultural and community development projects in Uganda.

Having spent a day at Top Barn I can highly recommend it and am sure you will enjoy your time there. It was a privilege to be shown round by the owners and catch a glimpse of the diversity of activity that takes place on the farm. I’ve just given you a “taster” above. Do let us know if you visit Top Barn and what you thought about your time there.

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Generous Music

Generous Music
by Jo S later
Urban Saints, UK.

I was walking through St Alban’s Abbey recently when I came across an exhibition of thirteen new bells. Apparently some of the existing bells have been in place since 1699 and as well as not working very well have become exceptionally difficult to ring. Not surprising really. The bells obviously varied in size but even the smallest one seemed pretty large to me and the biggest one was just enormous!

I started thinking about them and how they all looked heavy, dark, dirty and unmoveable. If you didn’t know what they were, you would never guess at the potential they held or imagine the beautiful noise that could come out of them. I remember when my husband, Matthew, and lived in a flat by the Abbey. Tuesday night was always known as “Bell Night” when the bellringers would practice. Sometimes we would go and walk by the Abbey simply to listen to the amazing music.

Do we see ourselves or other people as big, dirty weights or can we see with God’s eyes the potential for what we or they might become? All we need is to allow ourselves to be moved by God and wait for the beautiful sound.

What stood out to me on the exhibition board was a line which said “The bells are expected to ring for over five centuries and will be heard by many future generations.” I wondered what sound is coming out of Urban Saints. Will it be strong enough and loud enough to have the potential to last another 500 years, if needed? And what sound is coming out of each one of us? Is it a sound people look to or turn away from? Or do we feel we have fallen silent?

Each bell on its own was nothing special. It is only when they all come together and play their part that the music they create is breathtaking. The Abbey needs a full set of bells to create the perfect sound. Just like the body of Christ working through Urban Saints.

Is your bell not working very well, or is it moving in perfection with the others? Let’s all be open to the Spirit of God, moving us and bringing out a beautiful sound.

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Praying Generously

Another supporter, crippled with arthritis , could only sit up in bed; care staff would come in and turn the pagers of the prayer diaries of several mission societies, one of which was the London City Mission. It is always a great encouragement to know and hear of such “prayer warriors”.

The history of the church is full of accounts of what we call visitations of God, or revival, that have transformed whole communities. In almost every case either there had been a call to special seasons of prayer or it has become clear that small groups have prayed, often for several years, for the Lord to act. The Mission started its life bathed in prayer and throughout its history it has recognised how vital prayer is.

From: “Changing London” the magazine of the London City Mission.

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Go Green Generously

Going Green One Month at a Time
A Sustainable Way to Make Incremental Life Changes

Starting the creation care journey can be overwhelming. When we first met the Sleeths in the summer of 2008, my wife and I were still very “green” in our green lifestyles. It had only been a couple years since we had first begun to see the connections between our faith, our actions, and the environment, and we were inundated with many choices, changes, and challenges that lay before us. That’s why we decided to take things a month at a time.

Beginning in 2008 we chose one creation care change each month and worked at turning that change into a regular habit. By giving ourselves the freedom to focus on just one per month, we were able to make changes at a sustainable pace and to avoid getting weighed down by guilt over what we weren’t doing.

We began the first month by opting to receive our electricity from 100% renewable energy. Despite having electric heat in upstate New York, this one-time, 5-minute change cost us a mere $10 extra per month. February saw us beginning to use reusable shopping bags rather than plastic. March brought composting into our lives and in April we switched all our bulbs to compact fluorescents.

Some changes have been more difficult than others. I love meat. However, the production of meat uses significantly more resources and energy than other foods and typically involves unhealthy, environmentally destructive, and inhumane methods. Thus, rather than tackling meat right away, we’ve gradually cut back on the amount of meat we eat and have switched to local, organic, non-factory farmed meat over a period of years.

These changes have continued over time, and we’ve been surprised at how easily they’ve become incorporated into our regular lives. No longer do we think about turning off the lights when we leave the room, avoiding products with high fructose corn syrup, or choosing fair trade coffee–it just happens. We still have a long way to go, but with the grace of God we are making progress.

New Year’s resolutions often fail because we are too ambitious, are motivated for the wrong reasons, or don’t pursue them in a sustainable way. If you’re interested in implementing once-a-month creation care changes this year, follow these tips to set yourself up for a successful 2011 New Year’s resolution. You’ll be surprised at how much your life will have changed at the end of 12 months!

Select “low-hanging fruit” first. Start with changes you can succeed with and tackle the more difficult ones later. Give yourself the freedom to do just one change per month. Diversify your area of focus. After focusing on energy reduction, try a food theme for the next month, followed by something related to waste/recycling the following month, etc.

Some changes may cost extra (switching to organic foods) and some will save money (eating out less); balance the saving and spending months to avoid blowing your budget. Encourage others to join you in the process.

Your brother in Christ,

Brian Webb
Director of Communications

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Loving and Valuing Generously

Think Again: Loving and valuing people
by Sally Ababa

A sea of books, articles, poems, movies, songs, blogs, and advertisements focuses on ‘love’. Nothing has become so widely elaborated, universally discussed, passionately displayed, highly commercialized and ultimately banal. Everyone has their own definitions and expressions of ‘love’. When asked why I serve in ministry, doing what I do, my automatic response is “because I love God and love people”.

But…do I genuinely love and value people as I claim? Or is it a mere façade for a self-serving attitude wrapped in a spiritually sound, altruistic cliché? What if it’s simply a vehicle to gratify my inner need for acceptance, significance, belonging—for love? If it cannot be satisfied (how will I know?), will I still love and value people by serving them? If I lose my sense of joy, the thrill of making an impact upon people, would I still love and value people?

Loving and valuing people: it seems so subjective to my moods, preferences, situations. Yet I long and desire for a genuine, lasting and truly God-given ability to love and value people with eternal impact. Even pagans do that

When God commanded us to ‘love one another’ He meant all people. More than a decade of OM ministry has taught me that we normally love and value certain types of people:

• our inner circle: family members, relatives, intimate friends
• our co-workers (as a team leader, I value every member of my team as my greatest assets in the work; we cannot be where we are now without everyone’s input)
• our donors/supporters (present or future): we take good care of them because they are important for our ongoing ministry
• our partners and networks in the ministry: we maintain contact because they provide us with resources for wider Kingdom building
• the objects of our passion and calling: we are naturally drawn to them, more so when you know that you are called to serve them, be they Hindus, Muslims, tribal group or others. From my childhood, I have been passionate about the plight of the marginalized that serving street children and those in impoverished communities is natural—part of my spiritual DNA.

If we measure loving and valuing people according to the above, modesty aside, I fare well. Yet an inner angst pierces my heart, telling me that something more is required: I should not be satisfied with my present state. It’s time to take loving and valuing people to a new, higher level where we see people eye to eye and convey God’s love to them simply because they are people created in His image. It’s love and value beyond affiliation—love because God is love.

I am greatly loved, and capable of loving, simply because I am Sally Ababa, born in the Philippines, created in the image of God by a loving Father, restored to wholeness by a loving Saviour, empowered by a loving Spirit to live life, loving and valuing people just as God loves me. That’s love. That’s real value.

Sally Ababa has served with OM since 1997 and leads our ministries among street children and other marginalized people in Cebu, the Philippines. Comments are welcome care of
Credit: OM International • © 2010 OM International