The need to address the distribution of Bibles in Iraq, particularly in regions like Basra, Bagdad, Kirkuk, Suleymaniye, the Nineveh Plains, and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), is crucial for several reasons. Having been displaced, attacked and persecuted by ISIS, the preservation of these ancient Christian communities, dating back over 2000 years, is severely threatened. The ISIS attacks on Christian, churches and homes. led to burning books and everything Christian, forcing thousands to flee, leaving even their Bibles behind.
Many Christian families in Iraq possess Bibles primarily in Arabic, with limited exposure to Aramaic Bibles, especially in their homes. The Bible used in Sunday services is written in Old Aramaic (Kthobonoyo), which has evolved into Eastern and Western Aramaic dialects over the centuries. This linguistic evolution, coupled with the dispersion of Christians across various countries, necessitates a modern translation of the Bible into spoken dialects. The Shai Fund's project aims to print and distribute 20,000 Bibles, including the first-ever modern translations of the Old and New Testaments in Eastern and Western Aramaic dialects.
Shai Fund's solution involves producing 5,000 copies of the Old Testament in the spoken Eastern-Aramaic (Chaldean dialect), 3,000 copies of the New Testament in the spoken Eastern-Aramaic (Assyrian dialect), and 12,000 copies of the New Testament in the spoken Western-Aramaic (Urhoyo dialect). Previously, the New Testament in Western-Aramaic was limited and only available in churches due to the challenges of printing in Iraq.
With a corrected computerized electronic file, the Shai Fund aims to make these Bibles accessible to Christian families, empowering them to fulfill their faith, pass on biblical lessons in their home dialect, and provide spiritual support in times of persecution. This initiative is especially critical given the ongoing challenges faced by Christian minorities in Iraq, who have experienced violence, harassment, and displacement, making access to Bibles a source of strength and continuity in their faith.
The project plans to achieve the following:
· Delivering another 20,000 Bibles to ancient, Aramaic speaking, Christian communities in Iraq.
· Support the rebuilding of communities, and the preservation of the language through new Bibles.
Impact Summary: This project has distributed 10,000 Bibles, 5,000 Chaldean and 5,000 Assyrian. These directly impacted communities affected by displacement, war and persecution, many of whom no longer had bibles of their own.
The distribution provided 117 churches (including priests and bible schools), 8,050 families and 600 oversees diaspora churches with new Bible prints. In addition to this, Bibles were distributed to other regional churches and key individuals in Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.
WHAT: Printed and distributed 10,000 Bibles to ancient Christian communities, churches and key individuals.
WHERE: Christian communities living in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq including, Basra, Bagdad, Kirkuk, Suleymaniye, the Nineveh Plains, and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
WHY: This project aims to preserve the cultural and religious heritage of Christian communities in Iraq by providing Aramaic Bibles in various dialects, fostering spiritual growth, and offering a source of strength amidst persecution and displacement
Print and Distribute: The modern Chaldean and Assyrian translations of the Bible will be produced and distributed to families in the communities throughout the region, and to diasporas. Christian families will have a bible in their home which they can freely read with their children, which will enable them to continue living out Christianity in Iraq, learning the stories while preserving their native language.
Contributing to the distribution of Aramaic Bibles in Iraq has a profound impact on Christian communities facing persecution and displacement. With 30,000 family Bibles being equivalent to 150,000-180,000 individuals, each Bible priced at $5.87, the approved project budget of $180,062.40 seeks to provide spiritual nourishment and support to those in need. The urgency for funds in 2024, amounting to $121,295.40, highlights the crucial need for additional support to fulfill the project's goals.
Donors can make a significant impact through various contribution options:
- Single Bible Donation ($6): A modest contribution that ensures one Bible reaches five people, fostering spiritual growth and support within families.
- Bundle of 10 Bibles ($60): With this donation, the impact grows exponentially, reaching 50 people and promoting the distribution of Aramaic Bibles to a broader audience.
- Bundle of 20 Bibles ($117.4): A larger contribution, reaching 100 people, amplifying the positive influence on Christian families and communities in Iraq.
Without your help, this project would not be possible. Each donation plays a crucial role in making these Bibles accessible to those facing persecution, providing a source of strength, continuity, and spiritual guidance in challenging times. Donors have the opportunity to directly contribute to preserving the faith and cultural heritage of Christian communities in Iraq through their support of this vital initiative.