The Naval & Military Bible Society and Bibles for China partner to create a Seafarers’ Mandarin-English Diglot New Testament & Psalms.
by Andy Dakin, NMBS
Whenever I meet with ICMA and NAMMA members, I am always keen to ascertain what additional resources are needed to help with their ministry to the seafarers they support. Such conversations led to the Tagalog/English Diglot (“two-language”) New Testament and Psalms programme described in a recent MARE Report and our very popular Inner Struggles – Seafarers Edition. Other projects must wait in the background, our resources are limited, and we must first ensure that existing requirements are satisfied. One such programme was a Mandarin-English Diglot New Testament and Psalms.
When I was first introduced to ICMA, a majority of our support was focused on UK and European ports at which contact with Chinese seafarers was limited compared with Filipino and Russian seafarers. But, having recently reached out to NAMMA members, and to ICMA ministries in the Far-East, the desire to provide a Mandarin Bible has skyrocketed. Whilst the need existed, the finances did not! However, at the same time I was connecting with the wider seafaring communities, Kurt Rovenstine, president of the USA charity ‘Bibles for China’, reached out to the ICMA/NAMMA to ascertain what ‘Chinese’ opportunities existed within the wider organisation. Being aware of our Mandarin ‘Project in the Pipeline’, he introduced Kurt to us.
However, I will now let Kurt tell his side of the story:
“At Bibles for China, we have always believed that God puts us in the right place at the right time to fulfill the calling He has placed on this ministry. Our work in China continues to give us so many wonderful opportunities to provide the Word of God to Chinese seekers and believers who may not have the opportunity to have a Bible otherwise. We felt a call though to expand our ministry to the Chinese diaspora. Through a series of calls, acquaintances, and circumstances God led us to Andy and the Naval and Military Bible Society. They were considering a project that would provide an English-Mandarin Diglot New Testament. After discussions together and a time prayer, we decided to help with this project. Our donors loved the idea and responded with great enthusiasm and generosity! It was surely the hand of God at work, bringing the experience and expertise of NMBS, the desires of BFC and the passion of her donors to make this new project a reality.
We were thrilled when these new Bibles finally arrived! What a privilege it was to send the first few boxes out to port chaplains all around the world. We are expecting that the Word will not return void, and that these New Testaments will be an important part of the outreach to Chinese seafarers. In addition, I have gained a great deal of respect to those God has called into the ministry of port chaplaincy. What a wonderful, unheralded work they do. They are now a part of my regular prayer time. I pray that through their faithfulness this resource will be a tool God to uses change lives of Chinese seafarers all around the world!”
To complete the story, I recently had the opportunity to host Kurt in the UK. We took the opportunity to visit several ports, meet with seafaring chaplains and distribute some new Mandarin/English New Testament and Psalms.