"Now we read God's Word in freedom"
First-hand news from the ministry to refugees and prisoners show that they are eager to study God's word.
We as Austrian Bible Society give Bibles to refugees, people in detention centres and prisoners in their own language across Austria.
In 2016 alone, we handed out
- 1925 full Bibles,
- 915 new testaments and
- 1535 booklets with one gospel or other parts of the Bible.
Here are some of the testimonies that we have received recently:
“We are very thankful for our friends from the Middle East. Since April 2016 we have a Bible Study group for refugees from Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. Sixteen people come regularly to this Bible Study. It is wonderful to see how the refugees sincerely want to learn from the Bible. Now we meet every week instead of every second week. Many of the refugees had to leave their country because of their faith. Some of them however came to faith here in Austria. On the 18th of September fifteen refugees were baptized.
They are eager to spread ”the Good News.” Therefore, additionally to the Bible Study Group on Saturday with sixteen participants, we also meet every second Wednesday for an “Evangelistic Bible Study”. To God be all the Glory and Honour!
We are thankful for the Farsi and Arabic Bibles! They are a great blessing for our friends who now can read the Word of God in freedom! Thank you!
G. H. (in the name of the refugee ministry team of the Evangelical Church Villach/Landskron, Carinthia)
Refugees preparing for baptism at the Lutheran Church Innsbruck
"The baptism preparation course at the Lutheran Church in Innsbruck started in June 2016. In the beginning there were nine participants. In the meantime there are 12-14 men and one woman taking part of the course. The lessons deal with the parables of Jesus, The Lord’s prayer, the Ten Commandments, The Miracles of Jesus and other topics. The refugees taking part in the course come mainly from Iran. Three refugees come from Afghanistan. They used to belong to the Muslim faith community of the Shiites. Three of the refugees have already been baptized - two of them in Austrian Free Churches and one was baptized in an Armenian Baptist Church in Turkey. All participants are in the process of seeking asylum.
The course takes place every second week after the church service from 11am to 2 pm. All participants think it is good and right that the course will be held for one year. They attend the Sunday service, the course and other church activities regularly.
It is very important to read many texts and stories from the Bible, as the foundation of the Christian Faith, together with the participants. This is why the Bibles in Farsi provided by the Austrian Bible Society are so valuable. They make it possible for the refugees to read, to understand and to discuss the texts in their mother tongue with the help of the translator.
Every participant receives a Bible in Farsi at the beginning of the course and they take them home with them. This makes it possible for them to take personal notes and to read the Bible outside of the course. For all participants it is important to have an own Bible. They like to use them and they take them with them when they come to the church services.
The participants and everybody responsible for the course in the Lutheran Church at Innsbruck want to thank the Austrian Bible Society for providing the Bibles in Farsi free of charge . Without them the course would not be able to be held in such intensity and so close to “the Word”."
J. B. (responsible for the course at the Lutheran Church Innsbruck)
God’s Word in prison
"Thank you for supporting our prison ministry so faithfully with Bibles and New Testaments with Psalms in the prison of St. Poelten. It was so touching to see a Romanian prisoner doing the scripture reading from the Large Print Bible during the services and then carrying it happily through the prison. Meanwhile his successor is reading from the Bible. We find brothers in faith even there and we experience how sincere some new prisoners are in their faith. Since 1985 my colleagues and I have experienced your great help in St. Poelten! God bless your ministry. Thank you!"
N. H. (retired pastor, Lutheran Church St. Poelten)