One of our pastors recently returned from visiting refugee camps in Ethiopia and Uganda, distributing Talking Bibles. He shared with us this story about Neva and how the Talking Bible is changing hearts in her camp.

Besides the red sheet decorated with three crosses and a picture of the Holy family, the simple church in East Africa is decorated with some special white ribbon-like decoration draped here and there. On closer inspection, one can see it is toilet paper, but somehow in this place, it provides a sense of celebration and beauty.

A picture of the church decorated with a red sheet and toilet paper.

Inside is a shy but statuesque young woman in a lovely black and gold dress, likely her one and only dress.

Neva is 19 years old and she is a newlywed at the refugee camp. She has been here for four years and was a Christian before arriving from Juba, the capital of South Sudan. She came to escape the fighting and for the relief provided in the camp.

“I don’t have a Talking Bible,” she said shyly. “I first heard one about two years ago. We listened to it together with others. When I heard it, I heard we were to forgive one another,” she said. “I understood it was the Word of God, and meant to keep sin from entering my heart."

She also explained, “Change came for me and others, especially about not fighting. Now when I see it, I want to hear it.”

Neva continued to look away as she spoke. When asked if she needed anything, she quietly requested this: “Would you pray to God for my husband, so he can lead his family and live as a Godly man?"

Five years since the conflict began in South Sudan, over 4 million people have been forcibly displaced. Nearly 2.3 million of those are refugees, having fled to neighboring countries.

Often fleeing with just the clothes on their backs, they arrive at refugee camps with nothing. Starving, traumatized, mourning the loss of close family members, the refugees are desperate for hope.

God’s Word gives hope, comfort, and the promise of eternal life.

As we celebrate Christmas, blessed with so much, will you give the gift of God’s Word for someone like Neva?

Indeed, your gifts are making a difference! People who cannot read the Bible get to hear God’s spoken Word. Their lives are changed forever because of you! And some of them are celebrating Christmas for the very first time in their lives!

May you, along with the new Christians in East Africa and other areas around the world, have a most blessed Christmas.

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Watch Neva’s church make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

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