In November and December, Bible Society Mission Partner, Sonia Munro, visited four Christian Schools in South Auckland to share about the legacy of Mary Jones.
Born into humble circumstances, more than 239 years ago, Mary loved hearing the Scriptures being read at her local chapel. When she could, she would walk 2 miles to read the Bible of her minister, Reverend Evans.
At 8 years of age, Mary decided that she was going to get a Bible of her own. She was determined and dedicated to achieving this goal. Unlike today, where you can purchase a Bible for about $10 – 20, the Bible was very expensive 200 years ago, and there were few copies of the Bible anywhere – especially for people living in the countryside.
Taking on additional chores, like babysitting, feeding animals, cooking, and cleaning, it took Mary six years to save enough pennies to buy a Bible. By the time Mary was 15 years old, she finally had saved enough pennies to buy a Bible for herself.
Sonia Munro speaking to students at Destiny School in Wiri.
She set out to walk to the village of Bala, over 42 km away, through the many valleys, and over the hills, to meet up with a man she knew who had a supply of Bibles for sale. Reverend Thomas Charles, who supplied Mary with her first Bible, after learning of her long walk, was so amazed to learn of her efforts and dedication to obtain a personal Bible, that he decided to set up an organisation that would make it easier for all people to have access to the Scriptures. Thomas Charles used Mary’s story as a catalyst to establish the Religious Tract Society to supply Wales with Bibles.
While Mary Jones, may be a common name in Wales, her remarkable actions were certainly uncommon, making her story one that is still being told two and a half centuries later. Mary’s actions helped future generations have better access to the Bible at a cheaper price.
Students were challenged to think about ways they may be able to help another child receive a Bible through their own personal efforts – like Mary. They were also encouraged to consider that age doesn’t have to be a barrier to making a positive change in the world. Purposeful advocacy and positive action on issues of justice or equity, can make a world of difference to many people.
Prayer is vital in seeing communities transformed and people’s lives changed, therefore, would you consider becoming a “Pray with Us” member? Perhaps you are gifted in language, and you could help on the mission field by supporting a translation team? Could you become a fundraiser this year, so funds are available to print and distribute Bibles to people around the world?
It is time to be involved and active in the Lord’s work and the Great Commission. Would you like to do something great for God’s Kingdom? Consider partnering with a team of New Zealanders who want to make a world of difference, by joining Bible Society New Zealand.
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THIS ARTICLE IS WRITTEN BY Sonia Munro, MISSION PARTNER – Volunteer & Community Services, BIBLE SOCIETY NZ
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The theme for National Volunteer Week is “Time to Shine – He wā whakawhiti.” This year Bible Society New Zealand and Manna Christian Stores would like to celebrate the special people who serve in our churches, plan and organise fundraising events, coach in our classrooms and sports teams, and in many other capacities, for the benefit and support of our communities and whānau.