People who would like to participate in a Bible Reading Marathon in the Despatch Town Hall from October 25 to October 28 are invited to book their slots now — and judging by the success of last year’s inaugural event, would-be participants would be wise to act fast to avoid disappointment.
Illona de Wit who arranged last year’s marathon after God put the vision on her heart, said some of the slots were still not booked when they started but as they reached the start of each empty slot somebody arrived at the hall and asked if they could read and so each and every slot was filled.
And by the final day of the event in which people read the Bible out aloud from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 over a period of 86 hours and 10 minutes, there was a waiting list of people hoping for an opportunity to read in one of the 15-minute slots. A number of people who were self-conscious when they first stepped up to read returned later and asked if there was an opportunity for them to read out aloud again.
The purpose of the marathon is to publicly magnify the Word of God, to arouse interest in God’s Word and to encourage Christian believers to develop the habit of reading the Word for themselves, said Illona. Based on feedback from last year’s event these goals were realised.
Illona said that people commented on experiencing a tangible sense of the presence of God as His written Word was proclaimed continuously from Friday morning until Monday evening.
One woman who had been doing a Bible study on the book of Jonah registered for a time slot in last years’ event — and when her turn arrived it was time to read Jonah. The experience confirmed something she felt God had been saying to her through that book of the Bible.
Another woman was so moved by the experience of reading the Word out aloud at the marathon that immediately afterwards she committed to doing just that for half an hour daily during her devotions. Illona said she heard from the woman this week that now she is reading the Word out aloud for an hour every day.
Another woman testified that when she went to bed after her slot in the marathon, in a dream the Lord read to her the same passage she had just read out — and confirmed promises to her from that passage.
She said several men came to her after reading, with tears in their eyes, to say how deeply they had been moved by the experience.
De Wet van Veijeren, who participated in last year’s marathon as a reader and as a supervisor, said that as he sat in the hall for long periods of time he was profoundly impacted by the realisation that he was sitting under the very words of God and not the words of man. He said the marathon left him with a renewed hunger for God’s Word — “to discover how God thinks, what he feels about me and about His people”.
“I am so excited about this year’s upcoming event of reading the Word from start to finish and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be part of it — and also to know that it is this Word that we want to see manifesting in our lives and our communities because it is Jesus. Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus,” he said.
Prospective marathoners are asked to complete the application form — one per individual — to reserve 15 minute reading slots. Forms should be returned to Illona at email@example.com / 073 350 6999 or to Elmarita Wicks, who is helping her organise the event, at firstname.lastname@example.org/ 072 357 2829.
Bibles will be available to read in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. People are also welcome to come to the marathon to listen to the Word of God being read out aloud.
Illona and Elmarita are currently busy scheduling time slots and will confirm with applicants whether their requested times are available.
Any inquiries about the event can be emailed to email@example.com