You see them in hospitals and in correctional centres, in quiet spaces and makeshift military chapels, wherever someone is bowed down by sickness or a heavy heart.
All over Australia, a small army of chaplains takes the Bible and the ministry of God’s peace to those willing to hear. Even those resistant at first to the gospel are warmed to the message through the sincerity of the messenger.
Bible Society works with chaplains nationwide, equipping them with Bible resources funded by our supporters. The chaplains write back about what they see and hear, to thank our supporters for providing them with Bibles, and to share with them just what their support achieves.
Below is just some of the feedback:
A 13-year old heart transplant patient wanted so badly to be out of hospital. She felt she would never leave or see her friends again. The chaplain who’d supported her over two months knew just the book to cheer her up: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, which the chaplain could provide thanks to Bible Society supporters. The book directs a reader to “God’s Amazing, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love”. Grateful for the gift, the young heart patient said it would help her focus on God in the midst of everything.
Mitch (name changed) told a detention centre chaplain he didn’t like it when people called God ‘Father’. This led to a discussion about fatherhood, and Mitch’s negative relationship with his own dad. Over a few weeks, the chaplain shared how our heavenly Father is unlike earthly fathers in many ways, pointing to Bible passages that describe God’s perfect love for us. This helped shift Mitch’s thinking about God as an angry, judgmental figure looking to punish him. Please pray for Mitch as he continues to learn about God, and for others like him in detention across Australia.
Have you heard about port chaplains? They do an amazing job of reaching out to ship crew arriving at Australian ports. Very often, it’s the only encounter a crew member has with a Christian and with God’s word. Port chaplains encourage and share from the Bible, and keep up contact in order to help crew continue to read the Bible. Real friendship is often the result, opening up opportunities for sea crew to know Christ. With COVID-19, port chaplains cannot visit seafarers onboard their ships, but they’ve been able to continue to minister through texts, emails, book drop-offs at quarantine hotels and more. Bible Society provides many port chaplains Scripture resources in different languages, which they need to do their job. Please help us equip them as they find ways to reach seafarers, especially during this pandemic.
A Northern Territory hospital chaplain gave a patient a large-print Bible. The man was thankful for the gift, surprised that it was free. The chaplain visited again the next day, and as he approached he heard the patient and a friend reading from the Bible. It was Ezekiel’s account of the valley of dry bones. They were excited about this passage on revival and new life, what it could mean for their community, and invited the chaplain to pray. Throughout the man’s stay in hospital that Bible was continually open. Hospital chaplains in Australia give tracts and Scripture to patients who are receptive. They are so grateful to those who provide so that chaplains can Open The Bible.
When told their pre-mature baby was not expected to survive, a couple requested that she be baptised. A hospital chaplain met with them, offering spiritual care and support. She also gave them a copy of “My Tears in Your Bottle“, a Bible Society resource to help parents through the unimaginable grief of losing their baby. Hospital chaplains minister to the hurting in some of the most difficult periods of their lives, and you can support them by providing the Scripture resources required.
Right now we are raising funds to Open The Bible at home. Apart from providing Scripture in more Indigenous languages, we want to help equip Australian chaplains – those without direct support from a church – with the Bible resources they need. These chaplains tell us they are asked for Bibles all the time, but never have enough to meet that need. Please, will you help them encourage more people?