Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Eastern European Missions $1,000,000 Sunday

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:

Eastern European Missions

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.

Eastern European Missions Newsletters

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:

Christian Chronicle archive issue

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:

In Praise of Smugglers; Now Gone Legitimate

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.

EEM Photo of Youth Camp


  1. Terry, while raising money for eastern european countries is a laudable cause, raising money to provide bibles not so much. When that money could be used for textbooks and supplies to teach nutritional values, something really needed for these children to grow up healthy and to help their developing brains learn instead of feeding the churches need to proselitize is not so laudable.
    In many of these countries they don't have adequate access to immunizations, healthcare, clean drinking water. Their families need clean and safe living conditions, good irrigation and crop management techniques.
    In essence your church is trading Communist indoctrination for Christian indoctrination, while neither addresses the basic problems of the people of these countries.

  2. If you go by my blog alone and don't check all the sources at EEM, you would think that the church was proselytizing. However, the school systems there in both Russia and Ukraine are requesting the bibles from EEM. The school systems there are using them to help teach morality, something that was non-existent in the U.S.S.R.

    While many people have the belief that proselytizing is the entire message of churches, that isn't true. In addition to helping EEM with providing bibles for those states that want them, our church congregation is also supporting missions that are digging water wells in Africa. So, churches do much more than just try to convert folks to Christianity.

  3. That's nice to know that your church does more than "provide bibles". I just wonder if the schools are requesting bibles because they are offered free and normal school textbooks are not. I will be doing more reading on that.
    However, I disagree that the people of the former USSR were without morals. Maybe the government was without western christian accepted morals, but all people have morals. They are born out of societal acceptance and expectancy. You might be able to say they were without "christian morals" but not all societies are based on christian morals and not all societies based on "other than christian" morals are bad.

  4. I will stand by my comment that the schools systems in the U.S.S.R. were devoid of any teaching of morality. I've heard former citizens of the Soviet bloc comment on that. That morality existed in the U.S.S.R. was due to the fact that people still had a knowledge of and desire for biblical knowledge.

    Regardless of whether the Bibles are free or not is really irrelevant. The school systems are still requesting them. They have wanted them so much that they have had teachers drive their school busses to the distribution centers to pick them up because EEM didn't have the money to deliver.

    From the last report that I heard, there are additional states in the Ukraine that are watching what goes on in those states that have requested the Bibles for their schools. It might be that other states make similar requests in the future.

    By contrast, there are few places in the United States where Bibles are allowed at all in schools. And those must teach literature and history from them as opposed to teaching Christianity.

    Many on the extreme left seem to want to ignore the actual wording of the First Amendment, specifically these words: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" and want to ignore that second clause.

  5. I don't think either of us will be able to bring the other over on the issue of free issuance of bibles or that the end all of morality is the bible.
    As to your last paragraph, the left are not ignoring the second part, all religions are free to exercise any parts of their religions. The first part prohibits the government from placing an emphasis on any one religion. If the bible or any other religious texts are allowed in public schools (a government entity) that would be the government respecting one religion above others. We are a nation of lots of different beliefs and the first amendment prevents the establishment of a government religion. This is something our forefathers specifically wanted placed as the Church of England (or whichever religion happened to hold sway at any one particular time) held too much sway.
    If we want the bible in schools specifically to teach our children Christianity than we must be willing to also teach our children the Koran and all other religious texts.
    As I said above, no one and especially not the government, is prohibiting anyone's free exercise of their religious beliefs. That's what your church community is for and what other church communities are for. No one is restricting your right to teach in your particular church what your church believes.

    One other thing, if bibles are allowed in schools, then which version should it be? Yours? The Catholics? Just the old testament or just the new? And who's interpretation do we teach?

    No one is prohibited from carrying a bible to school. Not students, not teachers and not even administrators, thus "prohibiting the free exercise therof" is not happening. No one is prohibiting students from gathering and discussing their beliefs. What IS prohibited are school sponsored teachings, or evangelizing.

    Let's turn it around a bit. You are the minority. Mostly everyone you know is Muslim. Muslim prayers are said before each school event, Muslim prayers are said before each council meeting, the Muslim children want your children to read the Koran and know that it is the true word of God. Every politician running for every office wants his constituents to know that he is Muslim. I'm sure you wouldn't want that. I know I sure don't. But that is precisely what many Christians of the extreme right want for the rest of "our" country.

    Whoever is right on the question of this being a Christian nation founded on Christian ideals doesn't matter. Whenever you have one belief system in charge, all the other beliefs become marginalized. That, I believe, is not what democracy is about. Yes, the majority rules, but our forefathers also had the wherewithal to make sure the minority is protected. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR prohibiting the free exercise thereof;". Hence "We the People", not We the Majority.

  6. I wasn't trying to "bring you over." I was simply stating that the school systems in Russia and the Ukraine were wanting Bibles as textbooks. EEM and participating churches simply are providing those Bibles to them. It is kind of a "mutual aid" package with both sides getting what they would like. If someone learns about Christianity and embraces it, that is a secondary benefit.

    How would that be different from Africans wanting water wells and Christians helping to provide those? Or, families in South America wanting to live in something other than makeshift structures made from whatever is at hand and Christians going there to build them structures to live in?

    What I wrote this blog post for was not necessarily to preach that Christianity was the only way to go. I wrote it to show what Christians were willing to do to help others. I am positive that if the people of Russia and the Ukraine needed nutrition instructions, that would be provided as well. However, that isn't what the citizens, and dare I say it, the governments over there wanted. They wanted Bibles.

    The citizens of Russia, the Ukraine, Africa, and South America are not told that they must worship the Christian God to receive the benefits that we are willing to give them. So, why do so many in our government, and others, want to stand up and tell us what we should do with our resources?

    Also, I didn't advocate teaching Christianity in schools in this country, but why is it that we can't pray at school games but schools can loan out their buildings to people wanting to have a place to worship?

    Personally, I think that is another example of "mutual aid" and I am glad that it is a practice that can be done. That is simply the case of a school board offering facilities, that they aren't using at the time, to citizens of their district.

  7. I think it's wonderful that churches are helping there brethren in other countries. I have no argument with you there.

    And I have no quarrel with anything you post in your own blog. You SHOULD be able to brag about anything going on in your own life.

    I just know that the two of us can have a discussion and have differing points of view and still remain blog/forum friends. :)

    As to school prayer at games, which religion/sect/church prayer would you choose that would be all inclusive. Kind of hard to do and not leave someone out. Lets be inclusive but not exclude or marginalize others is all I'm saying.

    Schools can loan out their buildings to anyone of their district, (we agree on this)as long as the administration is not doing the advocating and make it equally available to anyone.

    Happy blogging Terry. I always enjoy your posts, whether I agree with them or not. Please continue to brag. Others point of view are always of interest to me.

  8. Doris,

    Of course we remain as blog/forum friends. Without discussion and even argument there would be no understanding. How many times have people held a belief until challenged to either change their minds or to make them more thoughtful enough to really consider their beliefs in order to better understand, and perhaps strengthen their own beliefs?

    I've had the fortune over the years to have done some studying of various forms of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic beliefs. While I am pretty tolerant to most all of them, Islam still gives me problems. You can read about my thoughts at this link:


    Some aspects of Christianity also disturb me. Someone once commented that the Dark Ages were in a time when the "church" was pretty much in control of both thought and politics. That dark period still haunts me with the Catholic church.

  9. I'm right there with you on the dark ages and having been raised Catholic the whole Pope thing and protecting of pedophiles is hard to get over.

    I'm glad that we can have a pleasant discourse. One saying I've always liked in relation to atheism...."We are all atheists, I just believe in one less God than you".

    Take care and I'll keep on readin along....


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