International (VBB/MNN) — Making the name of Jesus known among the nations remains an utmost priority for Vision Beyond Borders.
2016 looks to be a year of building on the groundwork laid in 2015–which was considerable. What follows are summaries of some of that progress in the different countries in which VBB partners. Thousands of lives are changing with each interaction with the Gospel. There’s still room for prayer and other forms of support. Read on.
VBB paid half of the cost and began printing 20,000 Arabic Bibles for the Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They will be finished and ready for distribution in early 2016.
The ministry printed 18,000 Bibles for China that were shipped to their Hong Kong warehouse and are being carried across the border by teams. Over 300 additional Bibles were carried by teams who were traveling from the US to China.
VIETNAM and LAOS
Vision Beyond Borders printed 21,960 Hmong tribal Bibles for Vietnam and Laos. Almost half of these have already been carried into these closed borders by VBB teams.
They also printed 30,000 Lao Bibles earlier this year, and over 10,000 0f those have already been moved into the country.
There were many changes in the Vision for Women projects in 2015.
In Nepal, the VBB contact helped the women at the safe house move to a new location after the owner of the old house would no longer allow them to stay.
Over 35 women have been rescued from sex trafficking since the safe house was begun in January of 2014, with nine of those girls rescued last year. Most of the women have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and have also been baptized.
The women are growing in the Lord and learning the skills offered at the safe house, such as tailoring and salon skills. The new location also provides the opportunity for the girls learning salon skills to actually practice their skills on customers in the VBB salon, located only a block away from the safe house.
The safe house has seen several women leave and use the skills they’ve learned. One woman returned home to her village and started a salon from her home, using it as an opportunity to share the Gospel in her village.
Another woman returned home to her family with a passion to teach the Gospel; her family is Muslim and had rejected her for her new faith. Two women have completed the training courses, graduated from Bible College, and are now leaders in the safe home of morning devotion times and skill training. Another woman completed the salon training course and is now the head beautician at the VBB salon.
The VBB contact in India continues to have prayer meetings with the women and brothel owners on a weekly basis, offering counseling and encouraging the women to leave the red-light district. She also continues to walk through the red-light district and visit different women in the brothels, providing for their basic needs and helping bring them to the hospital for medical care.
She has helped place children in good hostels and has found Christian homes for babies given up by the women in the red-light district. In October, she was also able to obtain her Social Worker’s license, which will allow her to continue doing this work without fear of repercussions. In India, it is illegal to offer these services without a license.
She also found a space for a salon (which opened in October), and there’s a new space for the day care center, too.
In another arm of ministry, VBB began supporting a fishpond project, which will generate income for the local people as well as provide fresh fish for the children at Abundant Life Home. They also bought mattresses, furniture, books (Christian books in the Mizo language), children’s encyclopedias, picture books, and bed sheets for Abundant Life Home.
In Myanmar, Vision For Children (under the auspices of VBB) supports nine different children’s homes in different parts of the country.
They are helping to touch Naga children, Chin children, and children from Shan State who now are being educated for the first time in their lives. Some of these children were rescued from their villages because they were in danger of being taken by the army as child soldiers. They are now safe in a children’s home being educated and taught the Word of God.
Many of these children are eager to return to their villages when they are older and share the good news with their people. This past year we were able to provide funds for a new roof for a children’s home in Burma, build a dining hall at another home, build toilets and water tanks at still another home, and also begin a water project. The program also supports many refugee children who are living in camps along the Burma/Thailand border.
20,000 Spanish Bibles have been printed for Cuba, and they are steadily moving into the country, with about 1,000 penetrating the border each month.
Travelers have carried an additional 67 Spanish Study Bibles for pastors into Cuba. In addition to the Bibles, close to 250 flannel graphs were also carried to the persecuted church to help with evangelism and children’s ministries (through Vision For Pastors).
There is great hope thriving among Cuba’s believers, despite harassment from the government. In one case, it got so bad that their contact needed to leave. VBB was able to relocate the family into a safer home. Before, their home resided on a busy corner with a retired communist guard living next door. This left them at risk because of the large volume of Bibles and supplies coming through their home.