“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas. And my scrolls, especially the parchments.” 2 Tim 4:13.
Some 1500 years after the apostle Paul, a major contributor to our New Testament, wrote these words to his young friend Timothy, another man lying in jail in Vilvorde Belgium was awaiting execution for the sake of the Gospel and wrote in similar terms to a friend: “Send me for Jesus’s sake, a warmer cap, something to patch my leggings, a woollen shirt and above all my Hebrew Bible”. His name was William Tyndale – his offence was to give the English people the Bible in their own language. His prophetic words to a priest years before - “If God spare my life, before very long I shall cause a plough boy to know the scriptures better than you do!” - had become a reality!
The legacy of his work lives on with around 76% of his Old Testament and 84% of his New Testament included virtually verbatim in our King James Bible. The challenge to make the word of God readily available to the poorer people of our world remains! Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we seek with the Lord’s help to do a little to alleviate this need.
The 20,000 Bemba Bibles, 10,000 Lunda Bibles, and 5,000 Chibemba New Testaments mentioned in our last newsletter arrived safely in Zambia after being briefly held up at the border as customs officials suspected the container held subversive literature. Final clearance papers stated “Only Bibles!” These are now being distributed to those who were eagerly awaiting them.
Books by Jonathan Newell
English and Chichewa editions of the Blessings Minibus series Book 3 (The Journey to South Africa) together with the Chichewa version of ‘Journey of Life’ have arrived in Malawi in time for Christmas. Work continues on Books 4 & 5. Jonathan has also written an adult fiction book “Fear on Every Side” which in an innovative way seeks to help Christians confront the unique challenges of living in an African context and this is currently being proofread and type set.
“Knowing and Doing”
John McQuoid’s book continues to be a blessing to so many readers around the world. And although targeted particularly at the majority world, we know of many instances where it is being used in the West by those who work with people from an unchurched background. To date, it has been or is being translated into 24 languages in either book or magazine format. The most recent version is in French and at the moment we are looking for those who would like to share in the print run, or give some other form of
We plan to produce a series of 10 leaflets, 3 of which have already been completed, which by using different topics will simply and clearly present the Gospel message. We want these to be easily reproducible in other languages and also available for download so that they can be readily available to missionaries and national workers around the world. We are also working on two more substantial booklets with attractive covers that will explain the Gospel message in more detail.
Book on Leadership by David Clarkson and Stephen McQuoid
This book, which will be of help to all Christian Leaders, but particularly to those in the developing world, is a joint project between OPAL and GLO (Gospel Literature Outreach) and should be available by April. It handles the principles of good leadership in a very readable style and includes such chapters as "What makes a good leader", “How to handle Change" and "Passing on the Baton". A DVD with power points for discussion will also be available around the same time, with further media resources to follow.
As we continue to develop our publishing programme and as financial resources permit, our objective remains to produce a range of easily understood material that is relevant particularly to the spiritual needs of the Majority World. As we visit and correspond with Christians in some of the poorest countries of the world, we are constantly reminded how blest we are in the West to have so many helpful books and translations of Scripture when they have so little.
OVERSEAS VISIT – INDIA
We have a strategy of attending major national and international conferences to make the most of networking opportunities and derive maximum benefit from travel and associated costs.
So in October, John Lewis and Geoff Ruston attended the 18th All India Workers’ Conference in Chennai organised by the Gospel Fellowship Trust of India where over 600 delegates including 400 evangelists met together for a time of teaching, fellowship and encouragement. This enabled them to meet key leaders and representatives of literature ministries and Bible schools, and also renew fellowship with existing partners.
In a country of such limited resources, it was humbling to learn of the sacrificial service and love for the lost exemplified by these national workers.
Whilst in Chennai, they were able to visit other ministries including the Moriah Ministries publishing house, the Stewards Bible College and the Christian Missions Charitable Trust ministry begun by Dr Colleen Redit who with others continues to serve hundreds of the poor and destitute of the city.
Time was also spent in Mumbai where visits were made to the Gospel Literature Service publishing house and the Bethany Hospital, Thane, pioneered by Dr Stephen Alfred. Loving hospitality in the homes of different believers and warm welcomes at several local churches throughout their visit were greatly appreciated.
As a result of their visit, “Knowing and Doing” is to be translated into a number of Indian languages and OPAL will be providing a number of Bible college libraries, reading rooms and national workers with appropriate literature and Bibles.
The warehouse keeps busy with regular consignments leaving for such diverse destinations as the Andaman Islands, the Philippines and Zimbabwe. We have been grateful for some excellent donations of theological books which are really appreciated by recipients.
Regarding finances, our latest audited accounts to 31st January showed a surplus for the year of £14,800. Overall revenues were up 12% despite a fall of 8% in gift income and this trend has continued so far for the current year. The trustees were able to allocate a further £10,000 to the Publishing Fund at their September meeting.
Although OPAL US has now been officially incorporated, we still await tax exemption status due to a backlog in processing applications to enable us to officially commence operations.
In June, we asked for prayer for our dear friend and fellow trustee Dr George Munro. George was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumour which has since been removed and he is now undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy which has been quite debilitating. Please continue to remember him in your prayers.
As we reflect again on you, our wonderful prayer supporters that stand with us in our ministry for the Lord, we can do no better than finish with Paul’s message to his friends at Philippi:
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ...!
We wish all of you a very happy Christmas and God’s rich blessing in 2013!
THE OPAL TRUST TEAM