The New Zealand Defence Force
is issuing new recruits with waterproof Bibles, endorsed by
TV adventurer Bear Grylls, in a worldwide military
The act of presenting military personnel with Bibles harks
back to World War I when personnel were presented with them
by King George V.
Even in modern times, NZDF Chaplain Class One Lance Lukin
says he still distributes around 2500 Bibles a year.
"In moments of crisis, pulling out a Bible can provide our
service men and women with reassurance and strength," he
Chaplain Lukin is the brainchild behind the camouflaged book
of faith after coming across a waterproof version in a
Wellington bargain bin last year.
"I saw it and immediately thought 'how cool is that' and
wondered how it could be adapted into an NZDF resource
specifically for new recruits."
He emailed American publisher Bardin & Marsee who agreed
to design a purpose-made Bible for NZDF personnel.
Eighteen months on and the Principal Defence Chaplain holds a
copy of the purpose-made NZDF waterproof Bible, personally
endorsed by Grylls, the world-renowned outdoor adventurer.
"I contacted [Grylls] through his agent and he came back and
said 'yes, he would love to do it', and I really think it
adds something pretty special to a unique publication,"
Chaplain Lukin said.
Grylls, a former Territorial Army soldier who served as a
reservist with the Artists Rifles 21 Regiment, 21 SAS, speaks
openly about his Christian faith, which he describes as a
great comfort in times of need.
The endorsement from Grylls is printed on each of the 5000
copies printed for the NZDF which is based on a waterproof
Bible designed for trampers and outdoor adventurers.
"It just seemed like the perfect solution for NZDF personnel
heading into the field," Chaplain Lukin said
The book is printed with a plastic material - similar to that
of bank notes.
As well as being waterproof, the Bibles are also durable and
designed to stand up to the rigours of wear and tear in the
field, unlike the paper versions which are easily worn.
Chaplain Lukin is confident the waterproof Bibles are a
military world first - certainly none of the delegates at the
International Military Chief of Chaplains Conference in
Sweden earlier this year had ever heard of the initiative.
The Bibles cost $15 each to produce, with the total cost of
$32,000 covered by private donations from church groups, the
New Zealand Bible Society and personal donations.