SowCare collaborates with the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO) to shine as a living embodiment of Christ’s truth and love in action. In unity with The Sowers Ministry in Novena Church, Asretec, and Fusion Safety, safety training schools in Singapore, AGWO exemplified the truth of God’s faithfulness.

“Our spirituality is to reach out to the poor and most abandoned. We take the pleasure of sharing the joy by showing them our appreciation and recognition for their hard work in building our nation.”— Joseph Vincent, Chairman, The Sowers (Novena)

“The partnership aims to raise awareness on the challenges faced by migrant (guest) workers and promote their well-being. We hope this initiative will inspire others to follow suit and contribute towards building a more inclusive and caring community.” — Jonathan Wan, Director, Asretec

Interfaith initiatives such as the Harmony Tour and Iftar, where they engage and better understand Singapore’s
diverse communities, also bring together people of diverse beliefs, echoing the very essence of Christ's message of
love and unity.

Your support in befriending guest workers leaves a lasting impact. If you wish to volunteer for AGWO initiatives,
visit agwo.sg or find us on Facebook and Instagram @agwosg.


*This article is excerpted from the December 2023 issue of the Word@Work Newsletter.


While the recent years have been particularly challenging for many of us, God's saving grace continues to uphold us and enable us to help others. Matthew 25:44 says, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?” The challenges that we went through together strengthen and unite us to minister to the poor and needy who dwell amongst us here in Singapore, as a reflection of our love to God.

That is why SowCare, the community service arm of the Bible Society, aims to serve and empower the underprivileged communities in our midst. Realising that the needy elderly and rough sleepers are vulnerable to loneliness and stress, your support mobilised us to conduct various initiatives such as providing free meals, mattresses, games, and love gifts to lift their spirits up. In our recent outreach, Paul (not his real name) shared that he had been rough sleeping since last year. On one occasion, he injured himself and was hospitalised. He reached out for help and found a temporary shelter at S3P@Bible House, managed by SowCare. He was filled with joy and gratitude for the grace from SowCare accorded him with a bed, pillow, mattress, fan, personal locker, shower facilities and toiletries, first aid kit, microwave and food essentials such as coffee and sumptuous meals on festive holidays. He was able to recuperate from his injury and now is gainfully employed as a cleaner to support himself, allowing him to apply for a HDB rental flat. Paul emotionally shared:

"Thank you SowCare for your kindness in allowing me to stay at Bible House with such good facilities and the great care and concern shown by the SowCare staff. What a good experience!”

Touched by God’s gracious love, a needy elderly in Ang Mo Kio that we reached out to through monetary giving also
shared her joy: “I feel very happy! This is the first time I’ve received a very big [amount]. I am 90 years old... This $100 will last [me] about a month. Thank you very much.” In collaboration with our community partner, volunteers also went personally to Dover Park Hospice to hand ang paos to beneficiaries who were warded there, and blessed 50 needy elderly with generous donations.

SowCare was also glad to have celebrated New Year's Eve meaningfully together with 100 under-resourced families and their young children, through a community carnival and distribution of mattresses, care packs of household items, and cash gifts to the families. The Alphabet Project (TAP) —a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA)—aims to support as many of the 14,000 families who come from lower-income households, and build confidence in children by equipping them with skills such as reading, writing and storytelling through organising national competitions which hope to improve their lives and build a better future for them.

As we continue our holistic works locally and globally, we are encouraged more than ever to touch peoples’ lives with God’s Word. By God’s grace, SowCare Cambodia–the strategic partner of SowCare Singapore–was officially registered last 2022 as an active supporter of our mission to provide sustainable holistic care across our shores. Other than organising events, we also work closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and social workers to get permanent housing or transitional housing for our resident rough sleepers, and to reach out to 100 elderlies in rental blocks through monetary blessing and recreational activities.

With a thankful heart for God’s unwavering grace, may we be steadfast in our love and conviction to share this bountiful grace with those who need it most through our prayer, donation or our time as a volunteer. Visit sowcare.sg for more opportunities.


One of the most enduring forms of prayer that is deeply rooted in the Christian spiritual tradition is the Jesus Prayer, which is used widely in the Orthodox Church. Although this form of prayer is becoming more common among the Protestant Christians, many have still not heard of it.

The Prayer itself is remarkably simple and brief: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me’, and is said over and over again. The Orthodox theologian, Bishop Kallistos Ware has helpfully identified four elements of the Prayer:

1. The Cry for Mercy
2. The Discipline of Repetition
3. The Quest for Stillness (Greek: Hesychia)
4. The Veneration of the Holy Name

The Cry for Mercy

In imploring for mercy, the believer who prays this prayer recognises that he or she is a sinner in need of God’s grace.

The cry for mercy not only signals sorrow for sin, but also the confidence that divine forgiveness will be granted to the truly repentant soul. As Ware puts it, “It affirms that God’s loving kindness and compassion are greater than my brokenness and guilt.”

The Discipline of Repetition

Because the Jesus Prayer is repeated many times (often with the aid of a prayer rope), some Protestant Christians may have reservations about using it. Didn’t Jesus tell his disciples not to use vain repetitions when they pray (Matthew 6:7)?

The spiritual writers of the Christian East have addressed this objection. They maintain that the Jesus Prayer is not vain repetition if it is prayed in the fear of God, and with faith and love.

The Quest for Stillness

In the Christian spiritual tradition, stillness or silence is not merely an absence of noise and activity. Silence is an attentiveness that ushers us into the very presence of God. It brings awareness of the only One
who is able to still the storms of our lives.

The Veneration of the Holy Name

And finally, but most importantly, the Jesus Prayer has to do with the veneration of the name of the Saviour. “The name of the Son of God”, writes Hermas, the second century author of The Shepherd, “is great and incomprehensible, and sustaineth the whole world.”

The Jesus Prayer can be easily incorporated into our daily devotions. It can also be prayed throughout the day, as a form of ‘arrow prayer’ (Augustine) as we go about our daily routines and attend to our various responsibilities.

But it must be stressed that the Jesus Prayer is not a form of Christian meditation, but a prayer.'

As Bishop Ware explains, “It is simply not a rhythmic mantra, designed to enhance concentration, but a personal invocation addressed specifically to the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ … what
matters is not how we pray but to whom.”

May the Jesus Prayer direct our hearts and minds to the One whose name is above every name (Philippians 2:9)—Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our Lord!


"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." —1 Peter 4:10

In the Bible, Paul tells us that grace is not only a quality in the nature of God, but also a power or an acting of God that works in us to change our capacities for work and suffering and obedience. Although Paul asked God three times to remove the thorn in his flesh, the Lord’s response was simply: My grace is sufficient for you.

In difficult situations, we can come to the Lord and find grace in His eyes, and He will come to us, stand with us, and face our situations with us. Through the 200 years of the Bible Mission in Singapore, the Bible Society has weathered storms but His grace allows us to remain steadfast in spreading the Word of God and bringing glory to Him. It is the grace of God that can cause us to bear the pain inflicted by the thorn, so that even in our suffering and weaknesses, His power shines through us.

God’s Grace Through the Years

This 2023, we give thanks for the grace of God over the Bible Mission through the years, transforming lives with God’s Word. This year is a momentous milestone for the Bible Society as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bible
Mission in Singapore, having started in 1823.

Rev Dr Robert Morrison pioneered the completion of the New Testament in Chinese in 1813 and published it the year after. By 1819, the full Bible in Chinese translation was concluded and later published in 1823. With the help of Sir Stamford Raffles, Morrison sent 1,000 Chinese New Testaments to Singapore for distribution among Chinese settlers in 1823, marking the real beginnings of the Bible Mission on the island.

Singapore served as a strategic hub and a Bible depository was started here. In its early days, the Bible depository was held in the Singapore Institution, now named Raffles Institution. The early depository site is today’s Raffles City.

In Singapore, the Bible Society’s history is intertwined with that of Singapore’s development. Upon the founding of Singapore, Raffles conceived the establishment of a library within the Singapore Institution. It has since been renamed the National Library, with its history closely tied to that of the Singapore Institution and the National Museum. Singapore Institution also served to educate Singaporeans and provided suitable facilities for translating and distributing Bibles, aiding the Bible Movement.

As we honour 200 years of the Bible Mission in Singapore this year, Raffles Institution also celebrates its 200th year since its founding. Both Morrison and Raffles pioneered the Bible cause and education in Singapore, therefore intertwining the histories of the Bible Mission and Raffles Institution. The Bible Society’s President, Dr Lee Soo Ann, was also educated at Raffles Institution.

Evolving Through the Times

Although our mission remains unchanging—to be God’s instrument to fill all nations with the knowledge of His glory, the Bible Mission’s tasks have evolved. As such, the Bible Society has undergone numerous changes since its official registration in 1837, in order to meet the evolving needs of the Bible Mission and the world we serve.

At inception, the initial global mission was to make the Word of God available to all nations through Bible translation and publishing, then subsequently distribution across the globe. But when the need to educate people arose, literacy programmes were introduced. Then to help the Christian community grow deeper in God’s Word and make Scripture relevant in the context of today, engagement and advocacy programmes were initiated. A Holistic Ministry was also established to support the underprivileged and marginalised communities in Singapore and beyond with holistic care
and the hope from God’s Word.

The Bible Society moved to be at the forefront of digital technology in a digital world, especially with the challenges the pandemic posed. The various ministries of the Bible Society have similarly evolved to include digital initiatives, so as to continue allowing more to encounter Christ through the Word of God.

Celebrating 200 Years of the Bible Mission

The Bible Society has always strived to be an effective missions agency. This year, we play an active role in GoForth National Missions Movement 2023 as part of commemorating 200 years of the Bible Mission in Singapore. Commenced in February, the event is a year-long campaign with a series of inspiring programmes from eight different tracks with a missional emphasis.

GoForth aims to reach out to both the Christian community and non-believers through a missional approach. This is similar to what we believe at the Bible Society, with a Bible Mission to make God’s Word known to all people. Its programmes target the 8 Ms:

  • Missions to Unreached People Groups by making the Word of God accessible to all
  • Migrants by caring for the foreigners in our nation
  • Marginalised by empowering the vulnerable through collective efforts
  • Marketplace by advocating for Biblical values in public spheres
  • Multi-generational Mentoring by discipling and equipping every generation
  • Mandarin-speaking Communities by engaging language groups with God’s Word
  • Media by integrating missions across communication platforms
  • Metaverse by using emerging digital media for God's purposes


On 7 July, the Bible Society commemorates the bicentennial of the Bible Mission in Singapore at its Bible Mission Banquet. The Bible Mission Banquet is a yearly fundraising initiative by the Bible Society, with the purpose of raising funds for countries in need of Scripture and humanitarian aid. In the light of this goal, this year’s theme is Shine Forth Thy Word. It is here that we also remember and praise God for His faithfulness and grace over the Bible Mission through the years. With the last banquet held in 2019, it is truly by God’s grace that we can hold this reception this
year, after a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

The official launch of the World Chinese Christianity Alliance (WCCA) will also be held in conjunction with the Bible Mission Banquet. In 1823, Raffles and Morrison distributed 1,000 Chinese New Testaments, kickstarting the Bible Mission in Singapore. 200 years later, the Bible Society is privileged to be one of the founding members of this global missional platform under the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) to reach out to all Chinese communities across the globe.

Our work cannot be done without the support of the Body of Christ, therefore this remarkable milestone of the Word of God flourishing for 200 years is not just a celebration for the Bible Society, but rather ours to share. This achievement, being entwined with Singapore’s founding and history, has also been made possible with the nation’s support.

Looking back, it is clear that it is God’s grace that carried through the Bible Mission, making His Word known despite challenges and through His provision of divine guidance. We rest on His unchanging grace as we endeavour to continue being a vessel of blessing to the nations. We would like to invite you to partner with us so that we can continue extending God’s grace as we reach out to the nations. Let us band together as we usher in the next Decade of Missions from 2023 to 2033 and allow the power of God’s Word to impact more lives!


“For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.” —1 Corinthians 3:9-10

Over the years, the presence and function of the Bible House has been built on God’s grace. In 1907, The Bible Society of Singapore acquired the land at 7 Armenian Street and built its home, the Bible House, there. Despite having been rebuilt thrice and undergone numerous changes to meet the evolving needs of the Society and the world it serves, it has remained at the same site since the conception of the Bible Mission.

In 1942, the Japanese military forces occupied Singapore and left devastating damage to the first Bible House. Despite the situation, the Bible Society and its volunteers continued distributing Scriptures and hosting annual Bible Sundays from St Andrew's Cathedral to send forth the light of God's Word in that time of darkness.

Two decades after the Second World War, in 1965, the Bible Society rebuilt the Bible House into a six-storey structure with a contemporary "open Bible" design to accommodate Singapore's rapid development and expanding demands. It was completed in 1974. The second Bible House hosted numerous churches and Christian organisations' ministry events while expanding the Bible Society's capabilities to carry out more missionary activities.

The Bible Society was also a key organiser of the 1978 Billy Graham Crusade, which led to the revival of Christianity in Singapore. Former General Secretary Peter Hsieh served as Vice-Chairman of the Crusade's Executive Committee. Then Chairman of the Scripture Union Singapore, Rev Dr Alfred Yeo, shared: “In 1978, the Singapore Billy Graham Crusade office was located in the Bible House. Christians from all over Singapore visited this office for materials and meetings. The former Bible House was like my second home then.”

To advance and better support the Bible Mission in yet another era, the Bible Society rebuilt the Bible House a third time, finishing its construction in 2011. Its contemporary style is influenced by the Bible itself and is divided into two main zones. In the Old Testament era, people's faith was governed by the Torah—the law of God. Since this law is the foundation we need to properly understand the Gospel and the Old Testament is exceptionally organised into various divisions according to the literary genre they contain, the south elevation is built with a strong masonry wall and little tear-shaped openings. On the North-East facade, however, a glass curtain wall depicting the New Testament represents openness and direct contact with Jesus Christ. A new rooftop pavilion was erected in April 2017 to improve the Bible Society's capacity to carry out its mandate as a beacon of light to the world.

With the Bible House’s restoration and rebuilding, the Bible Society’s mission remains constant—to make the Word of God known to all peoples. Aside from Sower Essentials (then Bible Resource Centre or BRC Bookshop), the new Bible House also houses several global movements and various Bible-based programmes that have been crucial in reaching out to individuals, families and churches to engage them and their communities with His Word in a deeper and more relevant way. These Bible Society ministries include Sower Publishing Centre, SowCare (the Bible Society's community service arm), Sower Institute for Biblical Discipleship–English and Chinese tracks, ETHOS Institute for Public Christianity, NextGen, Family, and Chinese Ministries, and many others.

Sir Stamford Raffles and Rev Dr Robert Morrison championed the Bible Mission by publishing and distributing the first Chinese New Testament among Chinese settlers in Singapore in 1823. They were some of the first to realise Singapore’s potential to be a strategic location for mission work in many countries in Asia. Due to their heart for the Bible Mission, The Bible Society of Singapore exists today. Since then, the Bible Society has had its own procession of Presidents and General Secretaries who took charge and furthered the Bible Mission:


1969–1985 Rev Khoo Siaw Hua

1986–1992 Datin Aw Kow

1992–2001 Mr Sim Miah Kian

2001–2002 Mr Goh Ewe Keng

2002–2012 Dr Bobby Sng

2012 to present Dr Lee Soo Ann

General Secretaries:

1965–1980 Rev Peter Hsieh

1980–1985 Rev Ong Hun Seang

1986–1989 Rev Alan Ang

1989–1990 Dr Peggy Yeo

1990–2003 Dr Lee Soo Ann

2004–2012 Dr Lim Khay Tham

2012 to present Rev Ezekiel Tan

Our many colporteurs—a term which refers to Bible distributors back in the day—have persevered in their efforts to distribute Scriptures and make the Word of God known for hundreds of years thus preserving the Bible Mission work in Singapore even during periods of great challenges. Today, our valued colporteurs include the Society’s board members, as well as the members of the Society’s various ministry committees. They utilise their experience to ensure that the Bible Society and its initiatives are going in the right direction and that the Bible Mission’s needs are always addressed.

Dr Lee Soo Ann, the current President of the Bible Society, has been serving for over 32 years, since July 1990. Before becoming President in 2012, he served as General Secretary from 1990 to 2003, then as a committee member from 2004 to 2012. Dr Lee’s grandfather, Rev Khoo Chiang Bee, served as a Bible colporteur between 1915 and 1942 in various parts of Indonesia. It was from his grandfather’s preaching in church that he first heard about the Bible Mission, when he was just a boy.

"Now, working for the Bible Mission, I feel a sense of fulfilment that this was what God destined me to be as a child of God. I have also preached from the Bible in various churches in Singapore on their Bible Sundays. Bible Mission work has changed personal lives. It has also initiated new institutions to make the love of God, as written about in the Bible, come alive in the lives of many people. When I was General Secretary in 1990 to 2003, the Bible House had many Christian organisations in that building. One of the institutions in Bible House was Presbyterian Community Services, which started in 1974. The Bible Society itself initiated typesetting the Bible on the computer in various languages through its computer-assisted text processing centre in 1991. Before that, the Bible had to be typeset manually.”

—Dr Lee Soo Ann, President, The Bible Society of Singapore

An inter-confessional mission agency that unites its people in one shared cause, the Bible Society houses staff that come from different countries, denominations and races, who believe strongly in the core mission of ensuring all peoples of all nations experience God’s saving grace through His Word. To commemorate this celebration, some Bible Society staff have shared their thoughts on how the Bible Mission has impacted their lives as they have served.

"This year marks my 32nd year of service at the Bible Society. Serving in the Publishing department, it warms my heart and keeps me going when I hold the finished product of something I’ve been working on. Being given a New Testament Bible published by the Bible Society in 1986 had sowed a seed in my heart. So now I’m working to pay it forward by bringing hope, encouragement and comfort toothers through Scripture.”

—Alex Lim, Director of Sower Publishing Centre, The Bible Society of Singapore

"I have worked at the Bible Society for 18 years. I am grateful to work for the Bible Mission—having supportive and like-minded colleagues that share similar goals in applying and living out the Bible and sharing the Gospel. It is heartening to know that the Bible has reached many in the region and globally through the many resources provided, and through the kindness and generosity of supporters. Lives are also being enriched through conferences, seminars and partnerships, helping them grow in the knowledge of God’s Word.”

—Deirdre Chan, Finance & Donor Care Coordinator, The Bible Society of Singapore

We sincerely thank you for your partnership with the Bible Mission in Singapore over the last 200 years, enabling us to be a vessel to impact and transform lives. Above all, we are grateful that God has graciously preserved the Bible Society through various challenges, guiding us through each chartered course. We seek your prayers as the Society calls for more colporteurs to come aboard the cause of the Bible Mission, as we continue to be God’s instruments for generations to come (2 Tim 2:21) in availing God’s Word to Singapore and beyond.


“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” —Hebrews 4:16

The concept of God’s grace—unmerited favour shown to a people so unworthy—is woven throughout the entirety of Scripture. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” God’s grace is the foundation upon which the Gospel message is built.

As God’s glory is seen in His grace and compassion, we work to reveal His glory by extending the same to others in need. Over the years, we are blessed to give to where it is much needed. May it be through Scripture or holistic missions, The Bible Society of Singapore hopes to support our sister Bible Societies and the evangelical communities in their initiatives to exemplify grace by equipping or giving help to disadvantaged communities of all nations.

Bringing Aid and Comfort to Turkey and Syria

With the permit (Permit Number 0013/2023) that the Bible Society obtained from the Commissioner of Charities (COC) for fundraising, we have collectively raised more than S$300,000 to help the homeless and comfort the bereaved in Turkey and Syria. About 1,000 afflicted families were given tangible encouragement amidst this unspeakable tragedy.

The deadly earthquake that struck parts of Turkey and Syria left a trail of widespread devastation in its wake. Millions of people in these countries had their homes and livelihoods destroyed and were left displaced in extreme freezing temperatures. In Syria, especially, the impact was devastating in areas that already hosted a high number of vulnerable families from the civil war.

Tamar Karasu, General Secretary of the Bible Society in Turkey, said: "We seek to respond to urgent needs (material, emotional and mental), which can bring comfort and hope in this dark period. We believe that Scriptures can be an imperishable consolation. In collaboration with local churches and the Christian communities, quick interventions are made for emergency matters.”

Working closely with the Bible Society in Turkey and World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the funds have been utilised for life-saving aid such as tents, medication, blankets, food and water, and clothing. Your help and prayers have encouraged those still suffering from the aftereffects of the shock. We thank you for your generous contributions that have brought comfort and helped alleviate the pains and suffering of the people of Turkey and Syria. Yet, the afflicted need our continued support in this important work of bringing God’s Word to them and bringing hope and transformation into their lives.

Sending Relief to Vulnerable Families in Cambodia

56-year-old Hoeun Thuch shared, “While helping to care for my three grandchildren, I remain at home and work. I've been a resident of Prek Khsev village for 30 years, and I lived close to the river's mouth. The land at the river's mouth gradually collapsed until my house fell into the river due to the high level of flooding. Now that the house is destroyed and there is nowhere to stay, I'm really depressed.”

Unseasonably heavy rain caused flooding in the lowlands of Kandal province, particularly for those living close to the canals in Roka Kpos commune's Prek Thi village in provincial town Takhmao, which is just outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

According to estimates, 130 canal-side households in Prek Thi village and Prek Khsev Village, Kandal province, were forced to leave after the banks of the Stung Prek Tnaot River collapsed due to flash floods on January 17. Most of the families impacted by this flood and whose homes have collapsed find shelter on the opposite side of the road or close to where they live.

In order to help some of the most vulnerable families affected by the floods, SowCare Cambodia—the sister organisation of SowCare Singapore (a community service arm of the Bible Society)—collaborated with pastors to provide suffering families with emergency relief food supplies, consisting of milk, noodles, canned food, and cooking condiments. They also worked with the local pastor in providing bicycles to poor children in Kampong Thom province.

I work every day to support myself on a daily basis. I'm grateful to receive this relief package. We are so grateful that you helped us and other families during this time of need and difficulties,” Hoeun Thuch continues. Want to contribute to the Global Bible Mission? Scan the QR code to donate or visit donorbox.org/bicentennial.

Without your help, the Bible Mission would not have an impact or influence on the community. The Bible Society continues to provide support to our neighbouring countries in their humanitarian efforts, as they touch hearts and change lives with their acts of grace.

Blessed to be a Blessing

Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” As we remember God’s saving grace offered to us, let us also not forget to extend the same to the destitute around the world. We invite you to partner with us so that we can reach more countries in need of the Word and of practical help.