Bike for Bibles supports the Bible work in Canada
Since its inception in 1992, Bike for Bibles (B4B) has become the Canadian Bible Society’s (CBS) main fundraising event. Every year, B4B raises an average of $80,000-$100,000 for various Bible translation, distribution and engagement programs. The Bibles produced through B4B support is distributed in partnership with Canadian churches and organizations.
How does this partnership work?
Every year, CBS receives hundreds of requests from organizations who have identified the Scripture needs of people they minister to. CBS partners are able to determine what Bible version or format (e.g. audio, Braille) would be best for those who receive them. They are responsible for making sure that the Bibles produced by CBS end up in the hands of people who hunger and thirst for God’s Word.
Through the generosity of supporters, CBS is able to produce these Scriptures year after year. The following are some of our partnerships and the Scriptures we distribute:
Studies show that Bible reading is becoming less important for many Canadians. According to estimates, only 4% of the “bridger” generation, or Gen Y, will become Bible-believing Christians when they reach adulthood. This is a huge decline when compared to their grandparents’ generation (65%) and their parents’ generation (35%).
Having identified the need to reach out to the next generation, CBS actively works alongside ministries with youth programs aimed at addressing the spiritual needs of children and teens. In the past, CBS has partnered with the Salvation Army to provide Bibles to over 5,000 campers in British Columbia. Since 2014, CBS has been partnering with camps across the country, distributing over 15,000 Bibles a year! The Adventure for Life Bible is designed specifically for children and youth participating in summer camps.
There are many stories from camp staff about children encountering the Bible for the first time. One was told by a Camp Director who shared a story about how, before this partnership, a young person had stolen a Bible from a hotel to bring to camp. The Director recognized the great need for Bibles to be made available free of charge to campers and is thankful that CBS is able to help in this way.
Prison Ministry Bibles
CBS has a long history of making the Bible available in prisons across Canada. Almost every day, a Bible request is made to a prison chaplain. One chaplain shared that he could give away at least 55 Bibles every week! And that’s only for one chaplain. The actual number of requests are much higher considering, on any given day, there are more than 37,000 people in federal and provincial institutions, and many more in half-way houses.
This number represents human souls who are wrestling with depression, loneliness, hopelessness and fear. For many inmates, their time in prison provides an opportunity for introspection and there are those who turn to God for help. The chaplains serving in these facilities are able to provide encouragement and spiritual guidance, and their number one tool is the Bible.
To address the needs of prisoners, CBS produced Key to Freedom, the only Bible designed for prison ministry. It has proven to be a powerful tool as it not only presents God’s life-changing Word but also provides stories from inmates who came to faith while serving time in prison.
CBS has had a long relationship with the Canadian Forces, offering New Testaments to recruits and military members for many years. But it was not until 2007 when CBS started distributing the full Bible. This was in response to a need raised by Major Kevin Klein, one of the senior chaplains at the Canadian Forces Base in Petawawa. Since then, Operation Bible, CBS’ Bible distribution program for the Canadian Forces (CF), has provided the full Bible in French and English in partnership with the Military Christian Fellowship. The military Bibles, designed to fit in soldiers’ breast pockets and to blend with their uniforms (CADPAT or Arid template), were received well by the soldiers and have been a tremendous encouragement and comfort for those who were serving in places of conflict.
The military Bibles are provided at no cost to CF Members through the Chaplaincy Office. They have been steadily on demand, with an average of 5,000 copies distributed yearly.
Refugees, Immigrants & International Students
The world has come to Canada! It is estimated that over 336,000 international students arrive in Canada every year for grade school to post-secondary education. At the same time, according to Statistics Canada, an average of over 250,000 immigrants take up residency in Canada each year. This number does not include refugees who are offered resettlement. The country receives over 120,000 refugees each year. In addition, over 26,000 Syrian refugees have settled in Canada since the conflict started in Syria.
With the coming of new immigrants, CBS saw the opportunity to reach out to people with the Word of God. Immigrants, international students and refugees may have come from different circumstances, but they face the same challenges of adjusting to a foreign country, living among people of different cultural backgrounds, and learning a new language. They all go through the same struggles such as homesickness, uncertainty about the future and loneliness. Many of them find help through churches and organizations who conduct outreach ministries to new immigrants. Programs such as church-based ESL/FSL classes not only help them learn English or French, but also provide a way to establish new relationships and build communities. In these programs, the “Word of Welcome” Bible is introduced as a teaching tool. In some cases, the Bibles new immigrants or international students receive are their first.
Through its partners and presentations at citizenship ceremonies, CBS has distributed over 7,000 Bibles in the last three years alone. A new resource, On the Road, was also developed as Canada welcomed over 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2015. This resource, offered to churches and organizations ministering to Syrian refugees, is available in Arabic, Farsi, French, Chinese and English. It was developed in collaboration with people who have experienced the harsh realities of life as a migrant.
There are so many other ways the Canadian Bible Society has been distributing Bibles in Canada. For more information, visit www.biblesociety.ca.