“My hope is that in 2012 and beyond we will encourage and serve the whole church, equip all national Bible Societies to be more effective in mission and continue to reach out to millions more with the enduring Word of God.”
- Mr Michael Perreau, General Secretary of United Bible Societies (UBS)
The United Bible Societies Service Organisation (UBSSO) was formed to provide support for Bible Societies in great need. The mission of the UBSSO is to work alongside and unite the 147 Bible Societies which operate in more than 200 countries and territories in a large global network. The Bible Society of Singapore is part of this network which helps to pull together the resources needed to plant and support Bible Offices where independent Bible Societies do not yet exist, sowing the seeds of God’s Word into places like Vietnam.
Bible Societies around the world today strive tirelessly to translate, publish and distribute the Bible to all people. However, the work of individual Bible Societies can sometimes be interrupted by challenges which they are not equipped to deal with: such as the lack of financial resources, civil unrest and religious restrictions.
After the change of regime in Vietnam in 1975, religion was forbidden and all religious material banned and confiscated. The Bible Society in Vietnam was forced to close its doors, leaving the Vietnamese people without God’s Word for many years.
This was the situation consultants sent by UBSSO found in the country when they visited Vietnam in 1990. However, after their prayers, support and advice, one of the Evangelical Church pastors in Hanoi managed to obtain permission from the government to import 5,000 copies of the Vietnamese Bible from South Korea. In 1991, another Evangelical Church leader obtained permission from the government to print Bibles in Vietnam, and the first 5,000 copies were printed in Ho Chi Minh City. This was the beginning of the re-establishment of the Bible work in Vietnam. Since then, more than 700,000 copies of the Bible and 2,200,000 copies of the New Testament were printed and distributed to the Protestant and Catholic churches in Vietnam.
In 2011, the UBSSO Country Programme Director Rev Arun Sok Nhep, together with Vietnam’s churches, succeeded in registering the Vietnam Bible Society as a trading company with permission to print and distribute Bibles. We rejoice with the Secretary for the UBS Asia Pacific Area David Thorne in “giving thanks to God and expressing our appreciation to the government of Vietnam.”
The ministry of the Bible Society exists now in a Vietnam Partnership Programme between the church in Vietnam and UBSSO. Today, UBSSO works closely with leaders of the church in Vietnam to plan the publishing and printing of the Scriptures. Beside Bibles and New Testaments, Scripture portions are produced yearly for youth, children, new readers (especially among ethnic minorities) and visually impaired people.
The UBSSO network supports Bible Societies around the world, ensuring that all nations have access to the Bible even if their national churches lack the numbers, resources, or freedom to support a Bible Society on their own. May UBSSO continue to support the 147 Bible Societies in reaching out to people around the world with the gospel.