Scripture Gift Mission’s first involvement in India was in the early years of the 20th century, when Gospels were first printed in Bengali and then a range of Indian languages, for distribution by missionary partners.
In the 1920s two medical missionaries began to produce literature for distribution to patients at their hospital in Northern India, including the Scripture Gift Mission title ‘Way of Salvation’ in Sindhi. These proved very popular, especially as Christian literature was scarce in the north at the time. As their medical work came to a close in the late 1930s, the two women became honorary secretaries of the mission in India. They translated several titles into local languages, and literature was then printed and shipped from London.
When the Second World War made it impossible to ship internationally, printing transferred to India, and the office began to develop contacts and expertise in print. One early project was a Scripture poster with the words ‘God is love’. A young Christian Sikh saw the poster and made a note of the address at the bottom. He travelled out to volunteer his services, becoming the first Indian member of staff.
Initial projects were all translations of existing booklets, but in 1945 the team wrote a new booklet called Saviour of the World, and a teaching resource called Everyday Life. First printed in India, these became part of the international range and were translated and used all over the world.
After independence the work relocated to Bangalore and Scripture Gift Mission of India was formally created in 1950. In the following decades SGMI’s work grew to cover the whole sub-continent, sending resources from Pakistan to Malaysia and all points in-between, and serving the diaspora beyond.
In 2005 Scripture Gift Mission became SGM Lifewords, and today SGM Lifewords reaches all parts of the country, partnering with individuals, Christian organisations and churches. The literature work continues, alongside programmes for communities in need such as Pavement Project and Choose Life.
Presently the Indian office is led by our National Director Serah S Thomas , functioning out of Bangalore, India.