• Mr. and Mrs. Siter: In Slovenia, the work on the project began in December 2011, when the first meeting was held between the Bible society general secretary Matjaž Črnivec, Benjamin Siter, the Bible Society fundraiser, and Mr. Dani and Mrs. Vilma Siter (they run a family ministry called Family and Life, one of the most successful ministries in the Slovenian church). This introductory meeting showed that it is important to offer three types of training for the people that are to be included in Calling the Harvesters project: 1) teaching the “Harvesters” about the historical reliability of the New testament; 2) teaching them about evangelism and personal discipleship; 3) coming together in bringing the Bible back into the public square; all three stages anticipate publishing of the appropriate resources.
• Mr. Cerkovnik: The meeting with Mr. Janez Cerkovnik, a formal representative of all Catholic movements in the archdiocese of Ljubljana, which was held in January, was also very productive. Mr. Cerkovnik was excited to be included in the project and confirmed the need for such an approach. Jointly we further decided that beside the strategic role of “high level” Harvesters, there would also need to be an easy way for active Christians to begin encouraging others to start reading the word of God. Out of this came I read the Word of God campaign (see description below).
• Mr. Doljak: Dr. Bojan Doljak studied pharmaceutics at Harvard and teaches at a faculty in Ljubljana. He and his wife came to know God personally a couple of years ago and, besides being active in their home parish, they would like to help with Bible mission. Mr. Doljak was particularly interested in the possibility of cooperating with us in bringing the Bible back to the public square, as seen in the example of Theos think tank from UK. He is already diligently studying some of their literature. He also helped organize one of Benjamin’s lectures in his home parish Logatec. In this meeting about 40 people were first introduced with the I read the Word of God campaign and over 30 people decided to begin reading the Bible on a regular basis.
• Mr. Lipovšek and Mr. Brodarić: Benjamin met with the General Secretary of the Croatian Bible society and with their new president Mr. Brodarić in the beginning of February. Together they discussed the possibilities in the Calling the harvesters project. They decided to print the I read the Word of God bookmark in Croatian as well and to start inviting high-profile persons, like father Zvjezdan Linić, on board.
• Fr. Zvjezdan Linić is a very popular Catholic evangelist from Croatia, who is excited about the project in Croatia, but is also willing to come and help teach our Harvesters in Slovenia. His first contribution will be at this year’s Bible marathon in October. Please see the separate report about our visit to him.
The “I Read the Word” Campaign
• The bookmark: We have produced a bookmark with 30 New Testament Bible readings, an abbreviation of the well known E100 challenge, where, instead of taking the challenge of reading the 100 key Bible verses, people are first invited to complete the 30 New testament Bible readings.
• The webpage: Matjaž produced a special webpage with the challenge (link: http://berem.svetopismo.si), where people can read about the challenge and also apply to become the “Sowers of the Word”, whose role is to encourage others to start reading the Bible daily by giving them bookmarks and promoting the campaign.
• Lectures at parishes: Benjamin shares this challenge to people at lectures he gives at different parishes, and a lot of people decide to begin reading the Bible on a regular basis. Some have decided to take a pack of bookmarks and give them to their fellow parishioners and invite them to start reading as well. The possibility for this initiative to multiply so easily is of key importance for us, and so we consider these people to be our “low level” harvesters. Some of them could also potentially become “Bible Ambassadors” (or “Advocates”) in their churches, and possibly coordinate a Bible reading group or similar.
• General assembly: We invited the members Bible Society to join the campaign at our annual general assembly held in March. One of our Board members, the Adventist pastor Zmago Godina, is now already preparing to use the campaign in all the Adventist churches in Slovenia. We are happy to see that many people just need a simple tool and an incentive to start spreading their love for the Word. As the project evolves we hope to be able to include them into further educational programs, mentioned above.