Today, April 29, 2012, was the day chosen by Eastern European Missions to hold their latest $1,000,000 Sunday. Sundays with those designations from EEM are the days when participating Churches of Christ take up a special collection for their ministry of providing Bibles for public schools in Russia and the Ukraine.
While it will be some time before EEM has an actual total for this year’s $1,000,000 Sunday, I can say that our congregation of approximately 300 people managed to contribute over $18,000 for this ministry.
This program is one that is close to the hearts of the folks at our congregation. It is somewhat bewildering that while this country has such limitations of having churches to be able to have prayer, countries in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are allowing Bibles to be placed in their public schools as learning tools.
While the Bible does teach of God and Jesus, those schools have said that the Bibles should be a strong influence on countries that used to have only a moral code dictated by the state. Now, the people of those countries are using Bibles to teach morals with the hope of instilling good morals into their children.
If you would like to see more at EEM’s website, it is at this link:
This next link will take you to the page where there is an archive of EEM’s newsletters; however at the time of this writing, I was having difficulty fully opening any of those pdf files.
In the January, 2012 issue of the Christian Chronicle, there was a story about the 50th anniversary of the mission for EEM. I managed to find an online source for that month’s issue at this link:
What was interesting in that story was the telling of a story of a gentleman from the Soviet Union traveling to Vienna on business. An official on the train found this gentleman’s Bible, and saying something to the effect that “a man of your stature shouldn’t have a book like this”, threw the man’s personal Bible out the train window. Two years later, he received his Bible in the mail from those that found it. In it was a letter of apology that expressed their sorrow that it took two years to send him the Bible. However, they stated that it took that long for them to copy his Bible.
That tells something of the urgent need and desire that former USSR citizens have for Bibles. Now, EEM even has distribution points, and perhaps printing facilities, in those countries.
I wrote about the EEM and its history in a previous post on my blog. If you wish to read that, it can be found at this link:
Kind of in summary of this whole story of putting Bibles in a former Communist country, the following photo speaks volumes. I found it on one of the newsletters for EEM. What an ironic picture it is.
During the “tenure” of Vladimir Lenin, they constructed “youth camps” throughout the USSR where the young people would be introduced to “camp” activities. However, they main purpose was to serve as indoctrination centers so that they could be taught that the State was the “supreme being” in their lives. Nowhere in their camp activities or studies were there to be any references to God.
Now, in this photo, a line of young people are reading EEM bibles under a bust of Lenin in one of those youth camps. But now, EEM has also begun their own camps for the young people. I wouldn’t be surprised that some of their parents are involved as well. I would imagine that if Lenin’s bust could channel this image to him, he would not be pleased.
God bless the yearning people of the Ukraine and all the rest of the world. May they find their answers, and may caring people use ministries such as EEM to help them in their efforts.