43rd Annual Membership Meeting Report
From strength to strength
I will go in the strength
I will proclaim your goodness,
Psalm 71:16 GNB
Looking back at what the Lord has enabled us to do in 2007 we cannot but praise God for the way that hes taken the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) from strength to strength. Surely, the Lord has done many things in 2006 but 2007 has been more exciting. Why?
We Have Strength in Numbers
In Scripture distribution alone, we were able to hit 103% for quantity and 96% for financial target! Our reach and scope in the mission of making the Bible available has significantly increased by 61%. From a total of 702 customers in 2006, we gained 1,129 new ones in 2007! We have increased contacts from Catholic churches by 75% from 2006 figures and by 267% for Protestant churches. We have also established our presence more strongly in chain bookstores through additional 94 outlets. This gives us a total of 511 distribution channels nationwide. But the highest increase was in the area of independent bookstores where we have tapped 137 new distribution partners a 473% jump from 2006 figures! Another great blessing is that we have started to make inroads in reaching the academe. Weve forged distribution partnership with 31 schools and universities, and five seminaries.
In terms of making available new Scripture materials, we have launched several in 2007. Paglalakbay, the Bible specifically prepared for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families, was introduced not only in the Philippines but in Hong Kong as well. It has since been touching lives around the globe wherever Filipinos are to be found. We have repackaged many of our Scripture materials making them abreast with changing times and more suited to the evolving taste and needs of our audiences. We also product-tested the Greek-Tagalog Interlinear and the Youth Study Bible both using the Gospel of Mark to gauge their viability in the market. We also launched the Talking Bible Tagalog New Testament recording featuring the voice of Rev. Mike Lacanilao, and completed the recording of the Ilocano NT for Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH) program to reach not only the visually-impaired but also those who prefer listening to the Word of God.
We Have Strength in our Position
The Philippine Bible Society is blessed to be the primary Scripture source and authority in the country, respected and recognized by different churches and denominations. To strengthen this position we sponsored a lecture series by renowned Bible scholar Prof. Takamitsu Muraokain various universities and seminaries, and hosted the first Philippine Bible Forum on the theme: The Bible in the 21st Century Philippine Context. We likewise conducted nine inter-confessional Bible Translation Seminars nationwide, designed to help Filipinos better appreciate Gods Word in different translations and versions that are now available. PBS also participated in a Bible Symposium in Sorsogon upon the invitation of Bishop Arturo Bastes, DD, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and PBS Vice President.
Weve strengthened our partnership with other local Bible translation agencies, namely the Summer Institute of Linguistics-Philippines, the Translators Association of the Philippines and The Seed Company, in undertaking the New Testament translation of Northern Subanen in Bukidnon, Majukayong in the Mountain Province, and Paranan in Isabela. This is a historical landmark in some degree as PBS once again engages in the minor language translations of the sacred Scriptures.
On the production side, our printing plant in Lawang Bato is doing well and was able to produce nearly one million copies of Scriptures for its first year of operation in 2007. We have managed to meet and deliver our commitments, and at considerable cost savings to the Bible Society.
We Have Strength in Knowledge
In terms of mission expansion and generating awareness for the Scriptures, we have been successful in providing multi-media opportunities for people to get to know about us, and what we do. Through the National Bible Week our flagship program we once again spearheaded a nationwide, multi-sectoral celebration participated by churches and schools as well as local governments and private agencies. We also staged the Biblia Fiesta, an extravaganza of Bible-honoring activities at the Bulwagan ng Panginoon (or Folk Arts Theater) as a culmination of the week-long celebration.
We started partnership with various media organizations, notably the Catholic Media Network for the radio segment Isang Tanong Isang Sagot, featuring Bishop Daniel C. Arichea, Jr. Even secular and commercial networks aired the Victorious Christ CD, a compilation of Holy Week reflections PBS produced to help draw the nation back to God and his Word. Meanwhile, through a special chapel service and tracts distribution in schools and offices during the World Day of Prayer, we managed to focus attention on the work of the United Bible Societies, the fellowship of National Bible Societies globally of which PBS is a full member.
Taking advantage of technology, we started using the Text Genie to inform our members and partners of special events, promos and other information from the Bible Society. We have reconstructed our website and ventured even into You Tube and Multiply sites to reach various audiences. To make shopping for Scripture products easier and more convenient, we enhanced our online purchasing system in November. Buying Bibles and other Scripture related materials at the BibleHouse may now be done virtually by simply visitingwww.biblehouse.info.
In the area of systems and processes improvement, we have completed the setting-up, installation and end-user training of EPICOR by August. This software now allows us to document and monitor in real time all our financial transactions.
In recent years, the Bible Society has placed emphasis not just on meaningful distribution but also on Scripture engagement, or helping people interact with the Bible in everyday situations. We promote the Bible as a manual to life, for all Filipinos and in every Filipino home. Along this line, PBS has increasingly produced and distributed audience-specific Bibles, like Ang Pangako Bible, POIMEN Pastors Bible, Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) Bible, Childrens Bible, Womens Bible, Youth Bible, E-Bible, OFW Bible, and the Ilaw sa Tahanan Bible.
Here are some testimonies of how these Scripture materials have touched and changed peoples lives:
Ching Mingoy, a 53-year old housewife from Block 29, Lot 1 Phase 1, Malis, Guiguinto Bulacan, one of our Ilaw sa Tahanan Bible recipients says:
Malaki ang pagpapala ng Biblia mula ng dumating ito sa aming tahanan. Kasi nandiyan lahat ang pangako ng Dios na pwede mong panghawakan. At saka bukod doon sa ang pinanghahawakan mo nangyayari, meron ka pang mga pangako na maaring balik-balikan. Sa buhay namin, na prove namin na talagang kumikilos ang Diyos. Sa gitna ng mga problema namin, nariyan ang mga pangako ng Dios sa amin na nakasulat sa Biblia na hindi niya kami iiwan, di pababayaan,
From Maeng Gatacilo, President of the Homeowners Association of Block 3, Lot 1, Northville 5, Batia, Bocaue:
Dito sa kumunidad, dati napakagulo. Halos gabi-gabi may away, may patay pa minsan. Magmula noong maipamigay ang Bibliang Ilaw sa Tahanan dito, parang ang mga tao ay nagkaroon ng direksiyon ang pamumuhay. Personal naman sa akin, naging gabay ko sa pagpapairal ng patakaran dito sa site and Biblia. Gaya ng nabasa ko doon, na kapag may lumapit sa iyong humihingi ng tulong, huwag mo ng pabalikin pa bukas kung may maitutulong ka rin lang . Hindi lahat karanasan ko dito ay maganda, may mga pangit din. Pero sa lahat ng bagay, ang kabalikat ko ay ang Biblia.
In 2007, we have distributed for free 14,490 copies of Ilaw sa Tahanan, a family Bible specially designed for relocated families. It contains helpful articles that respond to family concerns. The Bible distribution is undertaken in partnership with local churches and other organizations to reach the families with the Gospel message and offer them hope and a sense of stability. But to effect real change, we believe all sectors of society must be reached with the transforming message of Gods Word. We thus coordinated with various agencies and shared Bibles to those in positions of power (member of the Judiciary 424; Congress 238, police/military 1,000), to those who help form and sway opinion (Bible-school graduates 261), and to places where people come for information (public libraries in Quezon City and Laguna).
We Have Strength from Within
In terms of capacity building, we have tried our best, and by Gods grace, have been blessed in strengthening our ranks. Three members of the Management Committee, myself included, have benefited from PBS scholarships and finished our Masteral Degrees, with honors. Thirty-eight staff members have participated in locally-sponsored workshops while four attended UBS training programs. We also had a 5-day Communications Workshop in Baguio City facilitated by Dr. Julian Sundersingh of the United Bible Societies (UBS), that was attended by partners from ECBA and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC). Another self-enhancement activity, the Shakespeare Program under the leadership of Dr. Annie del Corro, was instituted to make us better communicators in the English language.
Not only were our skills enhanced, our bodies were also fortified. We started providing lunch subsidy through Josiahs Catering to all staff in May, and upgraded meal subsidy and per diem benefits to those required to travel. In accordance with the law, we implemented the New Wage Order last October and improved our salaries and benefits. We have also revised and reviewed the Human Resource Manual of Policies and Procedures to ensure better employee management and relationship.
The spiritual development of our staff remains one of our top priorities. Toward this end we continue to hold weekly devotions and chapel services, and a once-a-month training of care group leaders with PBS chaplain, Rev. Noli. Mendoza. We also had a 3-day staff retreat at the Kuhala Bay in Cardona, Rizal, not only refreshing and energizing us but also reaffirmed our commitment to pursue our goals together.
We Draw Strength from Gods Provisions
In terms of financials, the Lord has so blessed us that we were able to completely pay our loan to the United Bible Societies for the completion of this UN Ministry Facility and for Bible paper importation. So with thanksgiving to God we declare this building debt-free! Praise the Lord! But that is not all — we have also paid the last of the ten-year amortization on our Sta. Mesa Facility. On top of all these, the Lord has provided the resources to cover the major needs of operation. Indeed, God is our sure provider!
We Gain Strength through Prayer
Over all, we praise God for the way that he continues to answer our prayers that we remain relevant in efforts to make the Bible known; that the Bible can be a catalyst for change through provision of major Scripture needs of our partners; that we are able to make the Bible as appealing as possible to people.
So we ended 2007 with thanksgiving to God for the way he answered our prayers. We give God the glory for all that had happened in 2007 recognizing that by ourselves we are unable to do this. But by Gods grace, we have pooled our strength together and the Lord answered beyond our expectation. We look at 2008 with optimism, gratitude and thanksgiving to God. We face it boldly because we know we have a faithful God who will continue to provide his Word to transform peoples hearts and lives. The same Almighty God that has carried us from strength to strength in 2007 will see us through in 2008.
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to bring you faultless and joyful before his glorious presence to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might, and authority, from all ages past, and now, and forever and ever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25 GNB
To God be the glory!