Nicodemus by Night

By Rachel Greco

In March 2011, Phil was preaching to Jews on the street in Brooklyn, New York and had a paperback copy of the English Orthodox Jewish Bible. A rabbi came up and asked for a free copy of the Bible, so Phil gave him one. 

The rabbi walked away and started ripping the Bible up into a garbage can. 

Phil continued preaching as if nothing unusual was happening. When he returned home that night, however, he prayed, “Lord, you need to do something. Please help me.” 

When Phil next opened his computer, he had an email from someone at YouVersion asking for the digital rights to put the Jewish Bible on their Bible app. Phil said, “Of course.” 

Then it dawned on Phil what the Lord had done: People couldn’t destroy God’s Word because God had made it available online. And today the Orthodox Jewish Bible has had millions of downloads all over the world. “You can put Bibles digitally everywhere,” Phil explained. 

Phil (top right) presents the newly-created website to the other participants at the workshop.

He’s working on putting the entire Bible translated into Yiddish on a newly crafted website that the JAARS Scripture Website partner* helped him create at one of its recent workshops. With the help of instructors Dave, Aaron, and Ester, Phil accomplished in days what would have taken him months. “What they’re doing,” Phil explained, “is putting all the tools in front of a [mission worker], and showing them how to put it together. They open the world of website building to [someone] who might never have built a website before. And it’s really quite amazing.” 

Not only that, but Dave and his team also put the translation of the Yiddish New Testament and put it up on his newly crafted website so someone walking down the street with a phone can actually read the entire New Testament in Yiddish. And in this sect of Judaism where people can lose their jobs, inheritances, and even families for following Christ, the importance of putting the Bible on phones can’t be understated. “Their Nicodemus-by-night opportunity to meet Jesus is with their phone,” Phil said. “We have a great opportunity here.” 

Fifteen other participants in this month-long virtual workshop also took advantage of making Scripture and scripture materials digital. One woman built a website for the Seimat language group on the remote Ninigo Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea. 

The translation team already had created a lot of apps and distributed them on micro SD cards. When the islands recently acquired internet access, this woman decided: “Now that there’s internet, let’s build a website.” So she put some of the apps and scripture materials on the website and also built a website focused on literacy. 

Sixteen participants who weren’t officially part of the workshop logged in with the two official participants from Southeast Asia. This year, their ministry is focusing on sharing and contributing to their spiritual welfare and that of families, friends, and other Christians throughout a country in Southeast Asia. To this end, they created websites focusing on spiritual wellness. The instructors helped them put Bible verses, teaching materials, audio, videos, and images on their site. 

This group’s main takeaways from the training included ease of use, new skills, confidence, perseverance, a willingness to try, and content planning. They also learned more about how to work better together and how to delegate work—all in English, which isn’t their main language! 

Praise the Lord that he has opened a way via websites for his Word to be easily distributed and where it can’t be destroyed! 

Join us in praying that the Lord will use these websites to spread his name to the ends of the earth and will protect these partners from spiritual warfare. 

*Name not included for security reasons