By Lucy Robinson
Bible Society Australia’s Their Sacrifice exhibition is touring the nation to bring the personal stories of ten little-known war heroes – and the Bibles they carried to war with them – to light.
The exhibition was launched in April to commemorate the Anzac centenary and displays each Bible in original condition, along with interactive video and audio narration of the diggers’ stories.
Bible Society mission manager Chris Melville says he hopes to highlight the Bible’s power as a source of comfort and strength during times of crisis.
“Men of faith went to war and upheld their faith, reading it through dark times and being a great witness to other soldiers while on the battlefield,” Chris says.
“The Bibles on display are an attraction – they remind us that what happened was real and they lead to the heart of the issue which is the stories of faith and courage.”
Stories have been chosen from the Boer War, both world wars and a recent stage of the war in Afghanistan.
Some are uplifting tales of survival against the odds while others are tragic, and Chris says they often provoke an emotional response.
“Many people recount the stories of their fathers or grandfathers who went to war,” he says.
“We’ve had lots of people cry at it.”
World War II veteran Joe Mullins’ Bible and remarkable story are part of the collection on display.
Joe feels he cheated death as a 25 year old in 1945, when three bullets from a sniper broke through his helmet during fighting in Burma.
Each missed his skull by millimetres.
“God provides various incidents in people’s lives to wake them up and this was a wake up call for me,” Joe says.
“I realised after the battle the close shave that I’d had and it changed the course of my life.”
Now aged 95, Joe lives in Canberra and attends St Matthew’s Anglican parish at Wanniassa.
He says this particular Bible will always be special to him.
“I used to read it as often as I could even when I was on the march,” Joe says.
“I could see God’s guidance for the future.”
Adelaide residents can view the exhibition at Westfield Tea Tree Plaza until September 27 and Westfield Marion from September 28 to October 11.