Author: James Howard-Smith, 19 January 2024
The World Cup made many of us more aware of the conditions endured by migrant workers in the Gulf countries. In the year that followed, Bible Society has reached thousands there with the gospel.
This is often the only good news people in this situation will have heard. Hrayr, who leads the Bible Society team serving throughout the region, says: ‘Migrant workers endure physical and psychological abuse to earn enough money to sustain their families back home.’
People arrive in the oil-rich Gulf from poorer countries, full of hope, but quickly sink into despair. ‘The number of people losing their jobs and committing crimes is increasing exponentially,’ says Hrayr. He tells us that God’s word speaks into this darkness more powerfully than anything else. ‘This is the dynamism of the Bible, a book that generates a response to every reflection and query.’
Hrayr and his team are keen to introduce Jesus to people from every background. Last year they gave out 12,000 copies of a compilation of scriptures called Who is Jesus? in 15 different languages.
They addressed issues like depression and abuse directly through Bible Society’s trauma healing programme, which is in such demand they’ve made it available in six languages. ‘Churches are responding positively and are greatly appreciating all the trauma healing sessions,’ Hrayr said. Last year 428 people took the course, almost 100 more than expected.
Literacy levels are low among migrant workers, so the team is training people to share the Bible through storytelling. People involved in all kinds of outreach take this training. Hrayr said, ‘We’re introducing people to the storytelling technique as a tool for sharing the gospel message in their various ministries.’
Four hundred people were fully trained in storytelling last year. Another 4,000 took some classes and more than 12,000 were reached through the distribution of the training booklet in 15 languages.
On top of all this, the team was able to distribute 1,500 New Testaments in various South Asian languages, and even more full Bibles in a wider range of languages, including Ethiopia’s Amharic. They were also able to distribute 515 Bibles in Arabic, which is spoken by the local population but not by most migrants, and hold 5 Bible-engagement seminars in Arabic-speaking churches.
Your generous support is behind all of this, enabling people in the darkest places to meet the God who loves them.
At the time of the World Cup, supporters of Bible mission in England and Wales responded generously to a digital appeal, giving almost £4,500 pounds in a single day. And throughout last year, you helped to raise more than £30,000 to share the Bible with people in the Gulf. Thank you for making this generous investment in people who might otherwise be without hope.
You can lift up a different person facing despair every month by generously sharing the Bible. Join more than 20,000 Bible a Month members making God's word known around the world.