The influx of refugees into Austria has brought challenges as well as opportunities. So many people are searching for a safe place to be and not everyone welcomes their presence. The Bible Society in Austria however, have made every effort to welcome refugees and provide the Word of God to all who want it. The door is open to share Jesus!


God's Word for Refugees in Austria
Seeking asylum often means temporary shelter and uncertainty.

Austria is a beautiful country known for its music, art and amazing mountain scenery. Although the largest religion here is Christianity, many people do not have a personal faith in Jesus. Many traditional church denominations are in decline.

Since 2013 there has been a steadily growing number of refugees leaving the Middle East and arriving in Austria. There is now a very high ratio of refugees to Austrian nationals. This figure dramatically increased when in 2015, 90,000 asylum seekers entered the country. Many families were kept in tents and containers as the numbers exceeded capacity. These high numbers of refugees are accepted by some and rejected by many. They are people who have lost everything, are not allowed to work, live in very poor conditions and have a very uncertain future. It can take years to be granted asylum. If not granted, many are sent back to their home countries - if they do not 'disappear' to stay illegally in Austria. Most are young men, under-aged unaccompanied minors, and families.
 
Scripture for Refugees
Some refugees have been attending churches and German classes. Many are opening up to Jesus and asking for Bibles. The Austrian Bible Society started distributing Scripture to individuals as well as to relief organisations a number of years ago. Word began to spread about this free distribution of Bibles in lots of different languages. The demand increased dramatically and is still growing. We have been blessed to be able to contribute towards the cost of this wonderful ministry. The Austrian Bible Society simply could not keep up and the refugees often have the clothes on their back and nothing more.
 
Demand is coming from various places - churches who are caring for refugees, police who would like copies in prison or detention centre libraries, aid organisations working in refugee homes, and individual refugees who visit the Bible Centre in Vienna or write letters to ask for a Bible.

Bible Societies are working really hard to make sure there are Bibles available.

Praying for Austria

Pray for the refugees, that their time in Austria will be the most important time in their life when they come to faith or experience a deeper relationship with Christ through the Scriptures. Pray that they may find churches and fellowships where they will grow and serve

Pray for good partnerships between the Bible Society and others working with refugees so that the Bible can be made widely available.

Ask God to help the refugees who are not granted permission to remain in Austria. Pray that they will be safe wherever they end up. Pray too that they will take their new faith and Bibles with them to share with others .

Pray for the Austrian Bible Society Team, for creativity, for relationships, for continued passion in this project!
Week 11: 12 December 2017



Desire for Bibles

Austria Refugees
There is a great demand for Bibles among refugees. This Christian-run Aid Centre is distributing Bibles and New Testaments in various languages.

RE Teacher
This teacher regularly brings groups to the Bible Centre run by the Bible Society in Austria. In May he came with a question: "I know that you offer Scriptures for refugees. I am helping in a School in an "Integration Group", two Girls of the refugees gathered there are Christians from Iraq. I brought them each a bilingual Arabic-German Edition of the Gospel of Luke. They love these booklets. By now they have developed quite good skills of German language. Could you provide them with each a copy of a full Bible in German, in a modern easy-to-read-translation? They are so eager to combine improving their German skills as well as studying God's word."

Birgit
"Five refugees from Afghanistan are asking for Farsi Bibles. I offer German classes for Asylum seekers in our village. They are very open to learn more about our Christian faith - and especially about Jesus. They have asked me to organize Bibles for them. Thank you so much for providing us with the Bibles!"

Volunteer offering German classes 
"In the name of all the refugees, who belong to the Arabic Church, I want to thank you and all the donors for the Bibles that we received. To receive these Bibles as a gift for them is a great joy."

Many are accepting and reading God's Word for the first time.
Bible Society NI, 27 Howard Street, Belfast, BT1 6NB
TEL: 028 9032 6577  -  www.bsni.co.uk
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