Bible Launch

 

The Bible Launched with Joy!

   

It was the climax of 24 years' work. On 7 October 2001, Christians from all over Istanbul crammed into a church near the Covered Market to thank God for a new translation of the Bible. Language reform over the last 75 years had made the old version very difficult to understand. So there was a great burst of joy that Christians would finally have a Bible they could understand.

One lady put it like this: "I cried a lot today... Today the Bible is in my hand. We are very happy - more than happy we are very proud. Today I feel myself closer to God in my own language, in my own being. For this is my own language. The Lord speaks to me, the Lord speaks to me in my own language". A church leader added: "I want to thank the Lord and all the brethren, who have given the utmost importance to this subject, those responsible, those who have given gifts. It was at the top of our prayer list."


The Official Launch

Of course the Bible must be available to everybody, not just believers. With this in mind the official launch was held the evening before at a major hotel. It was geared to the media, officials and academics. A number of Moslem theologians attended. It is not easy to teach Comparative Religion, when little Christian material is available. One professor asked as he came in, "Will we be able to understand it now?" One of the translators replied, "I guarantee you will". The Greek Orthodox Patriarch, who lives in Istanbul, also graciously attended and spoke briefly. He talked about Jesus as the Word, who became flesh, took men's sins upon himself and died on the Cross. He also spoke of the necessity for believers constantly to be reading the Scriptures in a language they can understand.

A video was shown, portraying how the Bible manuscripts have been faithfully passed down to us through the centuries and explaining the history of Turkish Bible translations. "A video was shown" sounds so simple. Actually the translation and dubbing of the video had been rather overlooked. A studio in Istanbul went to great lengths to help and the video was finally completed at 2 a.m. on the day of the Launch.

The Lord put all of this together without a great deal of planning on our part!


Further Celebrations

From Istanbul we went on to a church celebration in Ankara and an official reception for the media in Izmir. We are grateful to God that all the Bible Launch events passed off joyfully, without any problems whatever. It was striking how well this reflected on the Turkish authorities and Turkish people at such a time. For the official launch, planned for many months, took place the day before the bombing in Afghanistan began. The co-incidence could have produced negative comment in the press. Instead newspapers reported how prayers were offered for the international situation and a minute's silence was held for the victims of terror. They also noted the Patriarch's comment that religious leaders carried more responsibility than ever in the light of the events facing mankind. Thank you for praying for all the events.

After the events were completed in Turkey, we returned to London for Thanksgiving events in the UK. 170 people gathered in Greenwich to celebrate the completion of the project. Roger Forster spoke from Psalm 19 on the importance of God's Word. Graham Kendrick led a time of joyful worship with a magnificent band. Behnan Konutgan spoke on behalf of the Bible Society, our faithful partners in this twenty year project. Again a special video was shown of the Launch events in Turkey and the future plans of the Trust. Special prayers were offered to dedicate the new Bible.


The Bible Goes Out

Unfortunately the printer struggled with the production process. Deadlines were repeatedly missed. The situation was so bad that we scarcely had enough copies for the Launch events. As a result we were unable to get copies out to the bookshops for the Launch date.

Nevertheless orders are in hand for the whole of the first printing. Pray for better success for the second printing, which will be launched almost immediately. Pray too that this may prove only the beginning. The Turkish church has the goal of "A Church in Every Province, The Gospel to Every Home". May Bibles make it into Turkish homes nationwide for the first time ever.


The end of the beginning

Many thanks to all of you, who have helped make all this possible through your prayers and gifts over many years. We are grateful for faithful supporters. We would, however, add a request: Don't give up now! For all practical purposes the appearance of the Bible is the beginning, not the end! See Current Projects for details of what still needs to be done.

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