Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Bible Power

Tatiana, of the ethnic group called the "Kalmyks," has experienced a lifetime of disappointments. At a very young age, both of her parents died. Then as an adult, her husband went through a botched leg surgery that left him unable to walk or work. Even as their finances were falling apart, Tatiana received more heartbreaking news from her doctor: she would never be able to have children.
Tatiana was a devoted Buddhist, but this did nothing to bring her peace. Tatiana says, "I became depressed, but had no one to turn to."

How can God help me?
She had come to be friends with a woman at her workplace. Soon Tatiana found herself pouring out her problems and disappointments to this new friend, who listened intently. "You should put your cares into the hands of God," her Christian friend said.

"How can God help me?" Tatiana asked. "Can God give me a bag of money?" She wasn't mocking her friend; she truly didn't understand how God-if He really does exist-could possibly help her.

To help find answers, her friend invited Tatiana to come to church with her.

In the presence of God
Tatiana looked around at the people in the service. She saw faces of peace, heard joyful singing, and was amazed at how they prayed to God. "It was as though they were really speaking to God and God was invisibly present and hearing the prayers!" says Tatiana. It occurred to her that if this were true, then God was not high in the sky and far away, as her grandmother had told her.

Then the realization hit her. "If God is present in this church, then I am in the presence of God!" It was at that moment she knew in her soul that God was real and personal.

The pastor's message taught Tatiana that the Bible is the Word of God-the same God she had just come to recognize. She accepted the truth she was hearing from this Bible.

Desperate for rest
Tatiana felt welcomed by the kind Christians at the church, and was compelled to return. The third time she did, she came to the service feeling crushed by the weight of her problems. Then she heard from the Word.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).

"The words of Jesus gripped my heart," says Tatiana. "It was as if He had spoken directly to me because He knew about how weary and burdened I was over my problems." She decided to accept Jesus' invitation and let Him bring her the rest she so desperately wanted.

A Buddhist believes
"I really cannot explain it, but in those moments of hearing and thinking about the words of Jesus I, a Buddhist, came to believe that Jesus had spoken to me and I needed to go to Him. Faith was born in me. My eyes filled with tears at the reality of it all."

She accepted Jesus that day. Tatiana explains, "I cried out to Jesus to take away my heavy burden of troubles and to give me rest. What joy flooded my inner being as I actually experienced the Lord Jesus lift away from me my burden and then gently place on me His peace."

"I was no longer a believer in Buddha but a believer in Christ."

Miraculous blessings
Tatiana went home and destroyed the relics of her former religion. "I only wanted room in my life for Christ and the Bible," she says. She was baptized and, upon completing a Bible study, received her very own Bible. Shortly after that, her husband accepted Jesus, too.

God miraculously blessed Tatiana and her husband. His leg was healed, so he was able to walk and work again. And they now have two children, a son and a daughter!

Peace despite persecution
Now that she's a Christian, Tatiana's life has a new hardship.

"The anger of my Buddhist relatives is sometimes expressed in ways to humiliate me. They have cut me off from family activities and I am no longer included in relatives' events," she explains. "For comfort I turn to reading the Word of God and hold His promises tightly in my heart."

Tatiana also feels the love and acceptance of her new family, her brothers and sisters in Christ. "I have so much to rejoice and be glad about, because of Jesus."

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Bible Power

Southern Sudan—Over 1,000 soldiers find Jesus

On the 7 March 2007 two African Union (AU) peacekeepers were killed and one was seriously injured in Darfur. According to BBC news report, the faction of the Sudan Liberation Army rebels who carried out this attack were supposed to be AU’s partner in implementing Darfur’s peace agreement. This incident has upset the peace agreement signed in 2005 by Sudan’s Islamic government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

In the last two years since the signing of the peace agreement, Bible League took the opportunity to rebuild the ministry in the churches and explore new ministry fields. God amazingly led Bible League to start a ministry in the army barracks. God’s Word, sharper than the double-edged sword, has penetrated the hearts of the soldiers, convicting them of sin and leading them to salvation.

“I joined Sudan People Liberation Army when I was seventeen. My goal was to kill every Arab I met. When the peace agreement was signed, I had nothing to do. But the Lord had His plan. Someone invited me to join a Bible League Bible study group. Out of curiosity, I joined the group and began reading God’s Word. After four days of study, I was convicted by the Word of God. I realised that my hatred of the Arabs was a sin and sinners have to face God’s wrath. I confessed my sin. Praise God that now I love my Arab brothers,” a soldier testifies.

Another witnesses, “As a soldier, my job was to kill. I lived in war all my life. I had no reason to live and I always wished that I would die. When one of the commanders asked me to accompany him to attend Bible League’s Bible study group, I sat down and listened. Something touched and burned in my heart. I began to cry as I confessed my sins of killing and raping. The person sitting next to me sensed my agony and prayed for me. God restored my life that day.”

These men were two of over 1,000 soldiers who had completed the Project Philip Bible study program. They all were baptised. Last year, Bible League placed a total of 154,763 Scriptures in Southern Sudan, trained 43,576 Bible study graduates and baptised 9,333 new believers.

However, there are still millions of people in Sudan who need God’s Word, including many more soldiers. The National Director in Southern Sudan believes that the Sudanese will only find true peace when they find Jesus, the peace-giver. Will you help place more Scriptures in Sudan, so that more people can be transformed by God’s Word?

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