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Audio Bibles for Persons with Visual Disability (PVDs)

28059163_357746618043838_4694980933120699228_nThe Media and Special audience department of the BSI makes Audio Bibles available to PVDs ( Persons with visual disability).

Recently, we distributed Odia Audio Bibles to 30 students drawn from various colleges in Cuttack. The distribution was done in partnership with the BSI Odisha Auxiliary.

The BSI is committed to making the Bible accessible in the format that people prefer. We thank the many who bless PVDs with the audio device and help them have an ‘easy’ and ‘ready’ access to God’s Word.

If you want to know more please send an e-mail to bsimedia@biblesociety.in

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Bible Funshop: A Whisper in the Dark

 

Children can (and must ) be creatively engaged with God’s Word . The Digital is a huge opportunity to engage children with the Bible. The Bible Funshop is a digital bible engagement program conducted by the BSI Media Department.The aim of the Funshop is to introduce kids to Digital Bible resources and also help them to creatively engage with Bible stories/passages. The program also helps kids to creatively express their learning ( through short videos)!

The BSI Media Department conducted the Bible Funshop in Jeeva Rakshaka Church, Kothanur, Bangalore. We had about 25 children at the Fun shop.

First we sang a few choruses and learnt the theme song: “ I Like the Bible” . The children learnt the song and sand enthusiastically. It was a heart warming experience to hear the Kids sing: “ I like the Bible… I read it and I do it… When I am going through it… I obey what I have heard. I am a doer of the Word… And I like the Bible”.

Next, we read the story of God speaking to Samuel. The kids were introduced to the Youversion Kids Bible App. They enjoyed reading and engaging with the Bible App in their iPads. After reading the Bible passage, the children engaged in conversations with each other. They read and understood the Bible passage in their small groups.

Fun shop encourages collaborative learning. We had designed a list of questions to help them ‘contextually’ read and understand the passage. The questions were

  1. Wha are the characters in the passage? What do we know about them?
  2. Samuel’s mother left him at the Tabernacle to serve the Lord alongside Eli. Samuel was alone in the Tabernacle. How did he feel? Did he miss his mother/family? How was he able to be in the Tabernacle all by himself?. How do you feel when you are all alone? What do you do when you are alone?
  3. Eli’s sons were bad. They did bad things. Samuel was a good boy. How was Samuel able to be a good boy? What are the bad things that are friend do? How can we stay away from bad influences?
  4. God Spoke to Samuel. He responded to God saying, “Speak Lord, Your Servant listens”. Can God speak to us today? How does God speak to us today? How can we respond to God?
  5. What is God telling us through the passage. What are we going to do in response to God’s Word to us today?

It was interesting to listen to kids reflecting on the passage from their perspective.  Some felt that Samuel missed his mother so much that he would cry a lot. He would wait for his mother’s annual visit and hug her.  Some could not understand Hannah’s decision to  leave her son at the Tabernacle. One said, “ Hannah must be without any sense”. Others affirmed God’s abiding presence with Samuel as he stayed away from his family. They said, ” Samuel was able to stay at the Tabernacle because he understood Hannah’s vow, that God was with him and that Eli took good care of him”. Next, we watched an animation video about Samuel’s story.

We regrouped after Lunch to work on video making. Children were taught the basics of video making. All the six groups worked on their video presentation of the story. It was a new experience for them to work on the iPad and edit with iMovie App. We watched all the videos made by the six groups and the kids really enjoyed watching their work presentations on the big screen. The bright eyes and the lovely smiles said it all.

The kids were challenged with the story of Mary Jones and her love for the Bible. We introduced the work of the Bible Societies and particularly the work of the Bible Society of India. We challenged the children to read the Bible regularly. We distributed Bible story books to the children and asked them to share the Bible story book with their friends after reading them.

It was truly a ‘fun-filled’ day. The Bible Funshop has been conducted in different cities ( Bangalore, Chennai, Cuttack, Ahmedabad, Shillong) and children have really enjoyed the Digital Bible engagement program. We hope that kids will creatively engage with the Bible and imaginatively express in the ‘Digital Space’.

 

The Bible Fun Shop, South Gujarat

Bible reading can be done through creative ways. The Bible Fun shops are designed to introduce Kids to digital bible resources and also help kids creatively engage with the stories in the Bible using digital tools.

We set out to the Bible Funshop arranged at Jagiri village in South Gujarat. It took us almost 6 long hours to get to Jagiri, Valsad District, Gujarat. The drive took us through Baroda, Surat and many other places. Enter the Dangs area and the contrast is striking.

We arrived at an English Medium School. Yes, an English Medium School in the middle of nowhere.  The English medium school is the result of one man’s commitment to serve the people in the area: to give them a future and a hope lest they be left out or lost to impoverishment. Interestingly, he belongs to this area. The school is built with a vision to help educationally disadvantaged children in the area. About 235 students study here.

The Gujarat Auxiliary had planned a Bible Funshop at the HIM English School. The Bible Funshop is aimed at helping Digital Natives creatively engage with the Bible.  I had the privilege of interacting with Class VIII students. We had around thirty boys and girls at the Funshop.

We started with a few Bible songs. Then, the kids watched a video of God speaking to the boy Samuel who was growing up with Eli at the Tabernacle. After the video show, I asked the boys to imaginatively write a letter to Hannah about how Samuel felt growing up in the temple all by himself without a family ( in Samuel’s own words). I also asked the girls to imaginatively write a letter to Samuel about how Hannah felt leaving Samuel at the Tabernacle under Eli’s care ( in Hannah’s own words). This reading of the Bible using the tools of imaginative draws its inspiration from Dr. Gerald West’s  Contextual bible studies It was great fun to see the kids use their imagination and write the letter. That it was a residential school added to the understanding of their context as well!

I surprised the kids by asking them to read their letters and make a little Vlog! I also did a quick tutorial about framing, lighting and video capture to help them with the basics of video making. We had very limited time was limited and there wasn’t much we could do. My aim was to trigger their imagination and help them creatively express themselves. The kids throughly enjoyed the activity. Once, everyone had finished with the VLog, we all enjoyed watching the vLogs played on the big screen!

It was a long journey into the Dangs. But, I am grateful to the team from the Gujarat Auxiliary for planning the Bible Funshop at the HEM English School in the Dangs.

The Journey of the Gujarati Bible

IMG_9798If you visit the Bible House in Ahmedabad, you can’t miss the special corner where they have treasured the rare editions of the Gujarati Bibles. The journey of the Gujarati Bible is preserved at the Bible House.

The Gujarati Bible was translated as early as in 1823. This was a three volume edition. Recently, the Auxiliary celebrated the 190th anniversary of the Gujarati Bible. The Auxiliary has also completed the New Testament in other minor languages such as Varli, Vasavi, Garasia, Kachi, Chodri, spoken in the state of Gujarat.

I was pleasantly surprised to find even a Gujarati-Greek Diglot Bible published as early as in 1872. What an heritage! The history of the Gujarati Bible surely needs to be remembered, treasured and celebrated.

The Bible house, which houses the BSI Auxiliary in Gujarat, continues to print and distribute the Bible.

The journey of the Gujrati Bible is celebrated. A multi-volume handwritten Bible stands testimony to the love, thanksgiving and gratefulness of the christian faith community in Gujarat!

“Thankful to the BSI” – Mr. Joyce Pallat

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It’s been 40 years since Mr. Joyce Pallat joined the Bible Society of India. Mr. Joyce Pallat retires today as the Asst. Director, Internal Audit Department of the Bible Society of India.

What made you join the BSI?, I asked him just a few days back. “It was my passion to serve Christ. My father was a pastor and therefore, I wanted to serve God. I refused a bank posting and joined the BSI in 1978”, he replied. “ But… I have been blessed in every way. I have no regrets”, he continued after a little pause.

He then told me how he enjoyed working with the BSI, first with the finance department and then later with the Internal Audit department. “When I joined BSI we were not this big. Today we have established ourselves. We have moved from strength to strength. Of course, we had gone through difficult days and trying times. But, God has been faithful to the BSI. No one can stop the work of the BSI”.

You could feel the joy ebb in his heart as he reflected on the last four decades in under four minutes. Mr. Joyce Pallat recognises the role played by the Bible Society of India in his life and ministry. “If you see most of the BSI staff retire after 25 years, 30 years and that tells a lot about BSI as an organisation”, he said. Every time he mentioned BSI you could see him gleam with pride.

I asked him about his future. “ We plan to settle down to a much quieter life in Mangalore”, he replied. Mr. Joyce Pallet, like many before him, have faithfully served the Bible cause through the Bible Society of India.

He will surely be missed. We wish him all God’s blessings and thank and celebrate God for his service with the Bible Society of India.

THE BIBLE SOCIETY AS A PRAYING COMMUNITY…?

The 9th of May is observed as the UBS day of Prayer. This special annual Day of Prayer, held to commemorate the day in 1946 that our 13 founding Bible Societies decided to join together to form United Bible Societies.

This special day provides the BSI with a poignant and powerful opportunity to join with other Bible Societies around the world and express our unity as a global family of Bible Societies.

At the special hour of prayer organised at Bangalore, the Rev. Dr. Mani Chacko, General Secretary, BSI delivered the special message titled: The Bible Society as a praying Community…? Dr. Julian Sundersingh, UBS Ministry Resource Facilitator and Global Literacy Coordinator shared the updates on UBS and the various concerns for prayer. 

The BSI staff joined together to thank God for the ministry of UBS and prayed for God’s blessing on the work, particularly in reaching out to youth and digital natives.

Similarly, special prayers for UBS were organised by all the 16 BSI auxiliaries across India.

Local Branches add strength to the Bible Cause

The BSI branch is a local fellowship of those committed to the Bible cause. It comprises of members from various denominations who stand united for the Bible cause.

The branch members are active in resource mobilisation programs and other activities. The members meet regularly for prayer once a month and also plan out various activities for promotion, bible distribution advocacy, resource mobilisation. Rev. Matthew Skaria, Secretary, Kerala Auxiliary says, “ We have many such branches all over the State. The method of functioning of each branch various according to local needs and patterns”.

The local branches of the BSI add strength to the work of the BSI and help in reaching the Bible to the many who need it.

We thank God for all the branches of our Auxiliaries all over the country

Celebrating the Service of Dr.P.I.Varghese

Dr. P. I. Varghese joined the BSI in the year 1989 as a Marketing Manager. Later he took over the Special Audience Department that seeks to meet the needs of the visually challenged and other special audiences.The tracts printed for this Special Audience Department were specially prepared by Dr. Varghese and more than 70 titles are being printed and distributed in various languages in big quantities every year.  These Scriptures are in great demand and have touched many lives. Dr. Varghese would handle hundreds of Seekers Letters everyday through this Department in different languages and respond to these letters by getting it translated with few of our colleagues within BSI.

Dr. Varghese took over took over as Director (Marketing) in May 2012. Since then he has led the Department to greater heights. He was instrumental in getting varieties of Bibles in different sizes including KJV-2000 which are in great demand now.  He also introduced Project Bibles with grey cover and grey edging, which are sold at subsidized rates for churches and other deserving evangelists.  In addition to this he also introduced Bibles in Semi-Compact size in different languages to bring down the price of the Bible. Dr. Varghese is very innovative in marketing Scriptures and he has used all his skills in spreading God’s Word effectively.

He is responsible for getting two prestigious VALLATTON AWARDS for BSI.  The first one was for “Wonderful stories from the Bible for Children” given in Holland in 2013 and the second one was for INNOVATIVE BIBLE DISTRIBUTION AWARD given in Berlin just last month for TRUE LOVE.

It was wonderful working with Dr. Varghese and he will be fondly remembered and deeply treasured in our hearts. We thank God for his service on his retirement from BSI and wish him all success in all his future endeavors.