The Canadian Bible Society is now able to share the Bible with many people across the country in people's 'heart language.'
Majd Alajji is the Regional Manager for the Prairies and Northwest Territories with the Canadian Bible Society (CBS). He works closely with diaspora churches, which are churches mainly filled with people from different cultures, countries, or backgrounds. CBS has access to Bibles translated into 71 different languages for people, churches, and ministries in Canada.
"We have thousands of these churches across Canada," says Alajji. "I have a specialized role only to connect with immigrant churches. That's what I do every single day and it's what gets me out of bed every day. We connect on a personal level. We believe it's all about relationships rather than just products. We get together for coffee or a meal and then I learn more about their journies. I share my journey and I believe everybody comes to this country with a story."
Alajji immigrated to Canada and understands what it's like to shift cultures and lifestyles. He was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria.
"I was born and raised in a Christian home. My parents were in ministry and still are. I recall giving my life to Jesus at a very young age."
Growing up, Alajji lived in the middle of a war-torn country, which caused him to have a lot of fear.
"I remember I was very afraid. My mom used to pray with me every night and read those 365-day stories for children. I told her I was very afraid. She asked if I had a passport to heaven. I said, 'No, what is that?' She said this is your entryway into heaven in case you left this world. She prayed for me that night and I remember those moments."
Alajji felt God's calling on his life into ministry at a young age and after grad school, he went on to Seminary.
"God opened doors for me to serve Him in Lebanon as well. Then I moved to Canada with my wife. I had the privilege of working with refugees then in Canada. Then another door opened with the Canadian Bible Society to serve in this wonderful role of connecting with people like me, coming here with a story."
Different Ways of Sharing God's Word
CBS offers more than just Bibles in different languages.
"For example, we have a booklet called On the Road. It's a set of stories for immigrants. It's 33 stories from people in the Bible who have migrated from one place to another. The wonderful thing about this resource is that it comes in different languages."
Another program they offer is a Bible-based trauma healing program.
"It is healing the wounds of trauma, the wounds of the heart. It's a wonderful tool that would take you on a journey from your point of suffering to talking about the importance of listening and being heard, we talk about grieving, and then we touch on lamenting. When I took this training myself, it was my first time learning about this and actually writing my own lament to God out of my own story. Then we move on to talk about forgiveness and taking our pain to the cross."
For senior citizens, CBS offers a digital device called Mega Voices.
"It's a small device, like an iPod that has the Bible on it. When we first launched this program it only had Scriptures in English. Then we adapted, coloured outside of the box, and we now provide this device for seniors that are immigrants here, in different languages. If a church is serving seniors that are from a ethnic background that speak a different language we can now provide this device in their heart language. It also has some hymns on it and another booklet called The Word of Comfort."
Seeing God's Work in Action
Alajji was training a pastor in Northern B.C. with the Bible-based Trauma Healing.
"He calls me to let me know he got a call from a friend of his telling him that a person he knows is about to commit suicide. The pastor couldn't stay at home, so he went to a motel to meet with him. The guy was ready to do it with a note and everything. The pastor said he had never encountered this but then he remembered all the skills that he learned at trauma healing. He shared that he sat there just listening for hours."
The pastor calmed the man enough to realize that life was worth living and after that, the pastor shared the gospel and the man gave his life to Jesus.
Alajji recalls another moment when what he does for a living in this ministry drastically affected someone's life.
"I had a conference in Edmonton and I had all these Bibles in my trunk," says Alajji who lives in Calgary and had driven to Edmonton for the event. "On my way back I decided to get a haircut. I went to this shop and found out the barber was Arabic. We were talking about back home, stories about life, and he asked me what I do. I said I work for the Bible Society."
What happened next surprised Alajji.
"His eyes sparkled and he said, 'Are you serious?' He said he had wanted to get a copy of a Bible for years. He finished the haircut and I went and got him an Arabic Bible from my trunk. He took a chair, sat outside in the street, and he was reading the Bible out loud. That touched my heart and gave me confirmation that what I'm doing is literally transforming people's lives."