Okitu Beach, Gisborne, NZ.
January 1st 2020


The beginning

As dawn broke on the first day of 2020, there was something mystical about watching the sun emerge across the sea, slowly rising, bright and vibrant in its mission and unstoppable as a life force forging on.

At Okitu, one of the most westerly points of New Zealand’s north island, the sea seems endless, and I felt like I was at the edge of the world and yet at the beginning of all that is new with God’s presence surrounding us.

Our colleagues from the New Zealand Bible Society had just launched Bible 2020, surrounded by the local church we stood on the sand and read aloud John 1:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Rev. Zhane Tahau Whelau read aloud in te Reo Maori and prayed for us all as a year of speaking God’s Word across the earth officially began.

At the same time as we were reading at Okitu, other New Zealand Bible Society staff and family members read the same verse aloud at the Marsden Cross at Oihi!

This is where the first Bible sermon was preached on New Zealand soil in 1814 and is a significant landmark for the church in this country. The readings here were truly global, being heard in te Reo Maori, English, Samoan and Afrikaans.

Bible 2020 had begun!

As 1st January unfolded in the Southern Hemisphere we then witnessed the rest of the world wake and the global church embark on Bible 2020.

Since that first morning, my eyes have been glued to my Bible 2020 phone app watching video after video upload as everyone everywhere (or a version of that) read the Word of God aloud in their country and their own language.

In fact, mid-afternoon NZ time on New Year’s Day I spotted my own dog apparently ‘reading’ as my family took part in this global movement from my hometown of Kelty in Scotland.

It’s quite extraordinary to see people reading out the Word of God at ceilidhs, in church groups, over meals at home, with their families… it’s just a marvellous mosaic of God’s people reading His Word!

If you haven’t already downloaded the Bible 2020 app it’s worth watching!

We finished our launch event at Okitu beach with a breakfast BBQ, the locals assuring me this was true New Zealand style! I was reminded of another impromptu breakfast BBQ in John 21, when the disciples were in the presence of their risen Lord but not yet aware of what would come next, the birth of the church.

So it is with Bible 2020, we are aware of God’s presence in the early days of this global Bible movement, but we don’t yet know what God will do. It’s going to be exciting to see it unfold in the coming months.

Fiona McDonald
Director of National Ministries

Download the app today and join this global movement.



Thank you to our colleagues at the New Zealand Bible Society for their commitment to this project and their heart to see lives transformed through the Bible because of it. See how they are doing Bible 2020 by clicking here and please pray for them and all the work they do.