Rami Ayyad was assassinated a few years ago for his work as the head of the Bible society in the Gaza Strip. His murder left his wife, Pauline, burdened with three young children and a heart full of hatred for his killers.
While Rami was locking up the bookstore owned by the Palestinian Bible Society in Gaza, a vehicle pulled alongside him, and several men forced him in the backseat. Rami, remaining calm and trusting in the Lord, was allowed to call his wife. “I'm going with some young men somewhere, but Ill be home soon,” he tried to reassure her.
That was the last time Pauline would hear her husbands voice.
The Canadian Bible Society (CBS) partners with the Welcome Home Refugee Housing Community in providing God's Word to newcomers in Canada. CBS recently received a report from Welcome Home's Program Director Sharon Schmidt:
Aasim* is an Iranian refugee who spent 12 years in Greece, hoping to be granted refugee status and given a chance to make his home there. After trying every avenue, he finally fled to Canada in November 2011.
Aasim is a Muslim born believer; he became a Christian after he left Iran. No one had ever shared the Good News with him until he arrived in a country where it was possible to openly share it. He could not go back to his country, however, because of his faith.
The Canadian Bible Society, in partnership with organizations and churches conducting Bible Studies in prison facilities, brings hope and the message of true freedom in Christ by distributing free copies of the Prison Ministry Bible - the Key to Freedom. Here are some stories collected from these distribution efforts.
The Fredericton Community Chaplain under Bridges of Canada visits Saint John Regional Correctional Centre on a regular basis. He teaches a program called Overcomers and always encourages the inmates to read their Bibles and know what the Bible says and not just to take his word for it. He encourages them to read the whole chapter not just one verse.
Many of these inmates have written to Bridges of Canada and asked for a Key to Freedom Bible. The result being that one of the inmates began a Bible study group in his “house” (house meaning cell). The inmates find that the Key to Freedom Bible is easy to read and to understand. This is a great step when an inmate sees the need to do a Bible study and gets other inmates involved. The Bible is a road map to a new life style for these inmates.
A couple of years ago, I visited a small Brethren Assembly in the South of England. One evening, I attended a prayer meeting in support of the Bible Society (UK) helping to raise money for Bible production and distribution. I asked if I could say a few words as an Army Chaplain. I showed them a copy of my Canadian Military New Testament and Psalms, explaining: “I have the privilege of issuing these special items to deploying soldiers. After I interview my serving members, I ask for the honour of praying a blessing over them and I inquire whether they have received their special kit.
My name is Carrie. This is my story…
I have been physically, emotionally and mentally abused from as far back as I can remember. I was cruelly mistreated and sexually debased by the men in my life, including family members, for so long that abuse actually seemed normal.
All I really wanted was to be loved. I felt this need so strongly that, at the age of 15, I had my first daughter and moved in with a 24 year old man. We soon married and had a second child. Even though I was now a mother of two, the prostitution and partying didn’t stop. I had multiple miscarriages and abortions. My self-esteem was shot and I felt utterly alone. I attempted suicide many times and became an alcoholic and a heavy drug user.
I was struck by a mystery illness in 2003 which caused me to be bed-ridden and wheelchair bound. My joints and my whole body was racked with the most intense pain that the strongest painkillers couldn't minimize. Suicide became an ever more attractive option.
Reading my Bible gave me hope and strength – things I did not have because of my illness. One day I read Psalm 73.26 – ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever’. As I meditated more and more on His Word my outlook, my attitude and my whole life started changing.