Prison Ministry South-Africa

South Africa



14.000 bibles distributed in prisons

South Africa



14.000 bibles distributed in prisons

Project story

Freedom behind bars

A special project that is about prison ministry among the toughest criminals in South Africa! This project is led by a former criminal Freek Vermaak, who came to faith in prison and surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. That radically changed his life and he decided to proclaim “freedom in the Lord Jesus” to prisoners. Freek has been doing this for over 20 years and experiences a growing interest from the prisoners. Since early 2019 the government allows the CityBibles to leave some bibles for prisoners to pick up. Even the guards ask for a CityBible. All this is having such a tremendous impact, that there is now an urgent need for thousands of  CityBibles developed especially for this target group: ‘Freedom behind bars’ (Freedom behind Bars!).

“Even the guards ask for CityBible”

What is CityBibles
CityBibles, started in 2009, is convinced that only the Gospel can save lives in this dark world. The most effective instrument for this is mentioned in the Bible: Isaiah 55:11″..The Word of God never returns empty”. The New Testament contains all the information on how one can get to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. That is why CityBibles prints modern looking New Testaments bibles and distributes them worldwide. By the way, since 2021, Bibles are also increasingly distributed in a very innovative way (with QR codes) based upon both the Old Testament and the New Testament. For each target group, CityBibles develops specific covers so that the recipient can identify with them. Furthermore, each CityBible contains a short introduction about reconciliation with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

City Bibles is independent of every denomination and is based on the Word of God. With its New Testament bibles, CityBibles aims to reach inaccessible groups. Ever increasing migration of individuals and even entire population groups, make these groups hard to access. Migrants are often more open to the Gospel, since they no longer are under their prior social control. These opportunities are unique and CityBibles wants to take cease of these opportunities.

By the end of 2022, more than 5 million CityBibles have already been printed and distributed worldwide in more than 50 languages. Meanwhile, more than 700 different versions of CityBibles are already available.

Vision and Mission
The vision is to print and distribute a New Testament in every language (including an introduction on how one can get to know God). The New Testaments are only printed in the highest quality (29 gsm paper with linen spine). The City Bible is always provided with a full color cover, whether personalized or not. CityBibles targets all people with a special focus on migrants.

CityBibles distributes the New Testaments in cooperation with the local church, the local missionary organization and the local believer. In every country, a CityBible must be available in every language for free or at cost price. This not only reaches people who do not know God, but also encourages the local church and local believer to evangelize.

CityBibles works through a growing network of churches, organizations and missionaries. CityBibles has now established a network of 12 partners worldwide from which CityBibles are distributed on 5 continents. CityBibles also uses a website and a webshop. CityBibles works with local projects that are carried out in collaboration with organizations all over the world.

The world is changing and new generations need a new approach. That is why CityBibles has developed an Interactive Bible in which one can read, listen and see the Gospel. All this via the free CityBible app. Our partners in this project are YouVersion, Faith Comes By Hearing, Bible Project and Superbook.

An increasing number of people have never heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Especially young generations in the West. It is our responsibility to pass on the Good Message of the Gospel to them. In recent years we have heard many stories of lives that have been saved, but the real impact of God’s Word is only known to God!

Capitalizing on opportunities with additional funding! 
Worldwide, we see that there is huge demand for Bibles. More than CityBibles can handle. With the arrival in 2021 of the so-called Interactive CityBible, the demand has even increased. In recent years, CityBibles has grown to a circulation of 500,000 – 750,000 Bibles per year! Due to the urgent demand from new projects, CityBibles needs additional funding of €100,000 – €150,000 per year. This will allow it to print approximately 75,000 – 100,000 additional Bibles, helping special projects that have an urgent need for Bibles.

Freedom behind bars: specific project!
The project in South Africa is an example of such a specific project where Bibles are urgently needed. A special version ‘Freedom behind bars’ has been developed for the target group of prisoners (see project impression). For this project 35,000 Bibles are needed. The cost of this (including shipping) totals €45,000.

Due to the somewhat short duration of the project, it was not possible to finance the entire project. Through the mediation of MissionInvest, an amount of €18,000 was realized for this project in 2020, which means 40% of the amount needed. CityBible was able to realize the remaining amount through its own network.

Reference and reflection
Peter Pilon, founder of CityBibles: ‘The Freedom behind bars project is an ever-growing project. The fruit it is giving is unprecedented. Many prisoners surrender their lives to Jesus, often including some guards. Last month (Dec. 2022) we witnessed life-changing meetings in 3 prisons in South Africa. How wonderful to see all the prisoners in their orange suits reading from the orange CityBibles. May God particularly bless the givers for this gift!’ 

‘MissionInvest’s efforts and methods are essential for us to place the right givers with the right mission worldwide. As with other projects, we are grateful that MissionInvest is our partner.’

Project impression

Script EN
Script EN closed and realized


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