12-million Bibles to be printed for abstinence program to prevent HIV/AIDS.

By November 24, 2004

South Africa (MNN) — The International Bible Society is confronting the AIDS crisis in South Africa through the use of prevention strategies.

By targeting uninfected youth, the Reach for Life program of IBS hopes to turn the AIDS pandemic around by promoting abstinence with the message of saying “No” to the virus and “Yes” to God. The program combines abstinence education, evangelistic gospel message, and discipleship through local churches to encourage and sustain changed lifestyle and behavior.

The pandemic of AIDS is overwhelming, but IBS believes that change is possible.

Colin Bishop is with IBS, “Can this be done? Can you rehabilitate a whole nation of young people’s moral behavior? Well it has been done. It’s been done in Uganda where they’ve reduced the infection rate. So it can actually be done. And we’re hoping to repeat this over and over again by this program called Reach for Life.”

IBS has developed the Abstinence Bible as a tool to reach young people. It’s a New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs that speaks the language of the young people and confronts the issues of AIDS and abstinence in light of what the Bible has to say.

Many churches and Christian organizations are working in what’s called the “Death Zone,” meeting the needs of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. But, Bishop says, there is very little work being done in effective prevention of the continued spread of HIV/AIDS. That’s the whole mission of the IBS “Reach for Life” program.

It’s a powerful resource that has the potential to impact many lives and the future of South Africa and the AIDS crisis, but IBS needs your help. Each Bible costs $2.50(USD). To reach 40 students, one classroom, it would cost $100(USD). And to reach an entire school with the Abstinence Bible, $1000 (USD).

IBS is excited about this, says Bishop, and the work that God’s Word will do in the hearts and lives of those who read it, “We’re rolling out the biggest Bible print in the History of South Africa. 12-million Bibles. That’s 12-million Bibles in 12-million homes, and of course the Word of God does its work apart from the HIV aspect. It does a multiplicity of other wonderful things in people’s lives.”

The goal of IBS in this project is fourfold: to provide a Christian response to the humanitarian crisis, that thousands upon thousands may come to know Christ, that people are discipled and built up into the church, and that simply the Bible gets into people’s homes. They are partnering with those who can actually enter into the schools and distribute these Scriptures. And the project has taken off around the globe, with many requests for similar projects in various other countries that are facing the crisis of AIDS.

Take action to fight against HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day is Wednesday, December 1st. For more information on how to help, go to www.ibs.org.

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