Bible ministry is impacting the World HIV/AIDS pandemic

By April 24, 2008

USA (MNN/IBS-STL) — School kids in Thailand play a game of dominoes that reinforces the lesson that life choices carry consequences. As one domino falls, it topples others — a powerful visual reminder to young teens that sexual activity can affect all areas of their lives.

"I like the game we played," said one tenth-grader. "When we were playing, if we were not careful and one domino fell, it could mean our whole life failed."

In another part of the world, about 270 of more than 4,300 teens attending a four-day Christian youth camp in Jos, Nigeria, made a confession of faith in Jesus. One teen released crippling fear, bitterness, and hatred as she prayed to forgive the young men who raped her two years earlier.

Through International Bible Society-Send The Light's powerful Reach 4 Life program, young people worldwide are learning life skills that will help them abstain from sex until marriage and remain faithful thereafter.

IBS-STL's Global Coordinator Peter Torry says they're sealing young people off from HIV/AIDS. "We believe the best way to do that is to help young people have a right relationship with God. That gives them the basis and the power for living the right way and to live a pure lifestyle and stay away from HIV."

Students receive IBS-STL's Reach 4 Life New Testament. It uses the New International Version text and contains straightforward material on HIV, notes that apply Scripture to life, and guidance for receiving salvation and growing in faith. IBS-STL teams with ministries and local churches to present the material in schools, youth camps, and churches.

Since 2004, nearly 1 million Reach 4 Life New Testaments have been distributed in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and Thailand. This fiscal year, IBS-STL will expand its program into Suriname, the Netherlands, Central and South America, and the U.S.

There are two things holding back even more expansion: partnerships and more Reach 4 Life New Testaments. "We can put one of these New Testament books into the hands of a young person pretty much anywhere on the globe for about $3 a book. But when you're talking about the need for thousands upon thousands, funding is always an issue."

However, your gift of a Reach 4 Life New Testament reaches more than one person. Torry says, "Each book is read by about four to six people. So when you begin to multiply that out by thousands of books, the impact is really significant. For many of these kids, when they take this New Testament home, it's the only Bible in that home."

More translations are planned for the special New Testment, says Torry. "We've got people who would be interested in translating into Russian. Also, we're just finishing up a Spanish translation and want to open up some of the Latin American countries. We're working a on a Portuguese translation for Mozambique and Creole translation for Haiti."

IBS-STL Global is one of the largest Bible and Christian literature ministries worldwide, translating the Bible into languages of 1 million or more speakers and distributing Christian resources to engage people with the life-transforming message of Jesus Christ. It is the translation sponsor and copyright holder of the New International Version® (NIV) of the Bible, the world's most widely-read contemporary English translation. IBS-STL also holds the copyrights to the Today's New International Version® (TNIV), Nueva Versión Internacional® (NVI), and 42 international Bible translations. For more information on IBS-STL Global, visit www.ibs.org.

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