Eternity’s friends in Bible Societies around the world can shame us by showing how they rely on prayer. Here are two recent examples.
Vu in Vietnam
Prayer is perhaps one of the most important things that we can do at Vietnam Bible Society.
All of us know that we would not have made it without prayer through these eight years of war. — George
Just last month, in April 2019, Vietnam Bible Society was able to import 4000 copies of high-quality Vietnamese Bibles from the Korean Bible Society. This was the first time since 1993 that we were able to import Bibles to Vietnam officially. The staff in Vietnam Bible Society and our Korean colleagues were praying very frequently during March and April 2019 as we proceeded with this import.
I believe God answered our prayer, and we were able to find favour before the Vietnamese government.
George in Syria writes
All of us know that we would not have made it without prayer through these eight years of war. Personally, I remember the first days of the war back in March 2011 when I ran for my life to get to our van and drive off, as people with weapons were running behind me trying to catch me. The whole time I was crying out to Jesus and I don’t think that I’ve ever been more scared than at that time.
That’s the time I realised that the war had started and that it was a real war with very real weapons. I made it to the van and I still don’t know how I was able to start up the engine and drive off, but Jesus gave me strength. At that moment, I knew that he himself was with us all in our work and that it was, and still is, up to him to keep us going and give us both joy and strength in our work.
Yes, there are times when I’ve doubted his presence with us, but, looking back at all that has happened during these years of war, we have all been able to see how God has protected us. How else could we have kept our two Bible houses in both Aleppo and Damascus open day after day through the worst days of the war and with people with the worst of weapons some 500 metres away prepared to destroy us. Altogether we haven’t closed “our doors” for more than a few days. This is remarkable and it’s all because of prayers that people have prayed and still pray for us.
Every time when she had come to the end of herself God had given her a Bible verse.
Here are some answers to prayer we have experienced:
1) When we began our Trauma Healing Project, the roads out of Aleppo were all closed, but as a miracle all of the attendees were able to make it out of Aleppo and travel to the seminar. Coming back, they were stuck for a week in Homs but finally made it safely home. Those were the unforgettable days of the Siege of Aleppo when we didn’t have water, electricity, internet, wifi, yes, even food was scarce and no vegetables or fruit at all. How did we function? Even today we don’t know how!
2) The day when there was an explosion of incredible magnitude, which took many people’s lives in a building very close to one of our staff. She saw God take her fear away and while many, many that very day decided to leave both Aleppo and Syria, Jesus made it so clear that he would be with her that she’s still with us. A few months earlier several cars just down from her home had been hit by a rocket and a neighbour trying to take his car to safety was killed. Then she received the following Bible-verse: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Yes, we used the Bible verses that had encouraged her through the war for the Scripture Calendar of that year. Every time when she had come to the end of herself God had given her a Bible verse.
3) As we have travelled through Syria, the Bible has come alive for us. We and so many working or cooperating with us have been made sure that God is not only with us through his Son Jesus Christ, our Immanuel (God With Us), but that God is good. It took many troubles and challenges for us to realise this. Yes, he is always good. When my wife and son have seen the rockets fall right beside them, in front of them or behind them, they have known the truth of, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” And: “You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” Yes, he himself is our protection and “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”
First of all I want to thank you for being with us through this “valley of death” [in prayer]. Pray that we will be able to continue to sow the seeds of hope in a country where so many people have lost hope. Pray that our various programmes and projects will become a blessing, not only to the Syrian church but to the whole country. There are now more staff in the Bible Society in Syria than ever before. There are more open hearts than ever before! The church has become a place of hope in this country and as a Bible Society in Syria it’s always been our desire to be an integral part of this church and we are getting there. There are many challenges and opportunities ahead of us and with your prayers we hope to make it.
During this war Psalm 23 has always been part of our lives:
The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me. You prepare a banquet for me, where all my enemies can see me; you welcome me as an honored guest and fill my cup to the brim. I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life; and your house will be my home as long as I live.
Yes, he is our shepherd. He’s always walking ahead of us.