Sower – Autumn 2020

God in the outback

A message from the CEO

My earliest memory of connecting with God, was my grandmother, my only Christian relative, praying for me as a small child while I lay in bed. I know that God used that prayer to nudge open a door into my heart.

God has redeemed my life as he has redeemed yours. The hope with which we live has been revealed through God’s holy word, the Bible. Thanks to you and your desire for all people everywhere to be able to open the Bible, more and more people are finding a personal relationship with the God of the universe.

Grant Thomson

Group CEO
Bible Society Australia

Grant Thompson

God in the outback

Dangatanga grew up on Elcho Island, a remote island off the coast of the Northern Territory. A Yolŋu man, he speaks a Yolŋu- Matha language called Dhuwa-Dhangu’mi.

He came to know Jesus during the Christian revival in 1979, whereupon he became utterly convinced of the authority of Jesus. When the elders told him he should speak to the land, the trees and the rocks so the land could speak back to him and guide him, he defended his decision to worship the Creator God and to renounce the spirits of the land.


“You tell me your stories about the trees and the rocks, but I will tell you the story of Jesus and how he changed my life."

For many years, Dangatanga has been an inspiring leader and pastor in the church in Gove, his community in East Arnhem Land. Sadly, there are still very few Scripture resources available to the 10,000 Yolŋu people living in East Arnhem Land.

Two of the languages, Djambarrpuyŋu and Gumatj, have a New Testament translation, while three further languages, including Dangatanga’s language, have some portions of the New Testament in written form.

But many remote Indigenous people find written Scriptures difficult to understand, so they need a more practical means for hearing the gospel. Two years ago, Global Recordings Network (GRN) went up to Arnhem Land and recorded the Gospel of Mark as it was read aloud in the Dhuwa-Dhangu’mi language. These recordings have allowed many more people to hear the good news in their own language for the first time.


Bible Society Australia recently had the opportunity to visit Yolŋu speakers in Gove, for a recording workshop. While in Gove, Paul Kube, Bible Society’s Northern Territory Engagement Representative, installed the 5Fish app on Dangatanga’s phone. This app contains the story of Jesus spoken in 5500 languages and dialects.

“It was a beautiful event to witness Dangatanga hear the Scripture in his own tongue for the first time. We saw his face light up as the gospel began to play out loud. He had requested to hear his favourite story, the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. Dangatanga was so happy to hear this in his native Dhuwa-Dhangu’mi and there was a special touch as he realised it was his nephew who had spoken the words, now playing from his phone.”

Will you help our Indigenous brothers and sisters open God’s word to others in their communities?

  • $40 goes towards printing and distributing Scripture for Indigenous communities.
  • $80 helps train a Bible translation student at Nungalinya College.
  • $120 helps a community to record and share Scripture in their heart language.

Read the full article in the Autumn edition of Sower

Read the full article in the Autumn edition of Sower

About Us

Established in Sydney in 1817, Bible Society Australia’s activities take place as part of the United Bible Societies who operate across 200 countries and territories.

We are one of the most extensive mission groups in the world and do our work in partnership with churches, providing resources and Bible-focused campaigns and community programs.