“Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens”
zambesi mission’s Word for Word scheme was launched in July 2015. It was prompted by concern about the widespread lack of access to Scripture in our partner’s churches. Field Director Simon Chikwana discovered that, of the 35 believers who were being baptised at Namulu Zambezi Evangelical Church, not one had their own Bible. In countries like the UK we have such free access to Scripture – on our computers, on our phones, in our bookshops. We take it for granted and very few Christians in the UK struggle to get a Bible so that they can read God’s word. But in Malawi and Mozambique there are two issues: firstly, the cost of a Bible (about £4.50) is unaffordable for many believers; secondly, many Christians live in rural areas and struggle to get to a place where they can buy a Bible.
This concern led to the Word for Word scheme. Through this initiative zambesi mission (zm) provides subsidised Bibles at MK1,000 (about £1). We don’t think Bibles should be given away without some contribution from the recipient as we have seen situations where such Bibles have not been valued and treated properly. But we do try to provide them at a cost which can be afforded.
Thanks to the generosity of zambesi mission’s supporters we received over £16,500 to provide subsidised Bibles since the Word for Word scheme started. This enabled us to provide over 2,650 Bibles to believers last year, and we aim to increase the number distributed this year. zm’s Mission Director Mike Beresford has just returned from a visit to Malawi. He travelled to the remote north of Malawi with the General Secretary of the Zambezi Evangelical Church (Luckwell Mtima) and zm’sMalawian Field Director Simon Chikwana. Amongst other things they took a large supply of Bibles in the native languages Chichewa and Tumbuka.
He writes, “One of the highlights for me was visiting Kasungu ZEC on Sunday 1 st May. We arrived just about in time for the 9.00am service. The service was blessed by a range of excellent choirs. The message was very challenging: from Mark 12:28-34: the greatest commandment – to love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength. After the four hour service we had an opportunity to distribute subsidised Bibles and hymn books. We were able to distribute an amazing 148 Bibles after the service! Each believer paid MK1,000 (about £1) for their Bible. It was a wonderful sight to see church members young and old crowding round to receive their own Bibles in Chichewa”. During their eight day visit the team distributed 24 boxes of Bibles, 576 altogether! When you realise that even the subsidised MK1,000 (or £1) cost is still a big challenge for many impoverished Malawians, this is a wonderful achievement”.
Mike Beresford goes on to observe that Malawians “Have a real thirst for the Word of God. From young school children to elderly men and ladies the desire to have access to your own Bible is very powerful and so encouraging to see .”
Let us give thanks to God for the generous donations from zm’s supporters which allow believers in Malawi and northern Mozambique to be able to afford their own Bible. Let us give thanks for the desire of the Christians there to own their own Bible and to read and understand God’s word in all its fullness. Let us pray for Christians within our partners’ churches, asking that God would fill them “with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light ” (Colossians 1:9-12).
If you are interested in reading the Word for Word leaflet, or helping provide Bibles for believers in Malawi and northern Mozambique, you can download the Word for Word leaflet here. Or contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org (Tel:01904 674748) to find out more.