I was talking with Jerry Starling of Eastern European Missions this past Monday, specifically about their efforts to put Bibles in schools in Eastern Europe and the upcoming “Million Dollar Sunday.” Below is a blog post from Jerry about their efforts. If you feel this is something you can help with in ways big or small please take whatever action you feel is appropriate. A few action items to consider:
- Help it “go viral” by reposting this on your blog
- Help financially on a personal level.
- Present this need to your elders/congregation. See this link for promo materials.
On Sunday Oct 31 churches will be taking up money to help fund this effort. This is the “Million Dollar Sunday” I mentioned in a post yesterday. This post is more of a grassroots effort to get even more people and churches on board. It is very infrequent that I post a need like this on the blog but I think this is pretty special. Will you help it go viral by linking to or reposting Jerry’s initial post?
From Jerry…Million Dollar Sunday
“What do you think would happen if the Secretary of Education in Washington said we could put the following books in every public school in America – and that we could expect the schools to use them as a part of the regular school curriculum?
- Children’s Bible Story Books (if they were true to the Bible)
- Middle School Bibles (that are like a Bible Story book with the text of the stories coming from a modern translation of the Scripture)
- Full Bibles
- A Newcomer’s Guide to the Bible (that helps introduce people absolutely ignorant of the Scripture to the story-line of the Bible)
- Curriculum guides to help teachers use the other books to help develop character and morality among the students.
The government, however, would not purchase the books. The churches must donate them.
Would your congregation want to help?
What if your contributions were under budget and you were dropping other works of the church? Would you consider having a special contribution to help provide those Bibles?
The above, of course, is a hypothetical situation. It is not happening – and will not happen unless God intervenes to change some things here in America.
Well, God has changed some things in Eastern Europe and something very much like the above scenario is happening.
Parts of the former Soviet Union have asked Eastern European Mission (EEM) to put the above Books in the public schools – entire “states” (sometimes called regions or provinces) at a time.
The first time this happened (in 1998), EEM’s first reaction was, “We don’t have the resources.” The Russian asking for the Bibles responded, “Find them!”
After days of prayer and discussion, the first EEM “Million Dollar Sunday” emerged. EEM leaders decided to accept the challenge of the opportunity God had opened by asking congregations to have a special contribution on a set day to try to raise the funds needed to put the Bible in the schools of that one state of Russia. As a result, the money came in and the Bibles were delivered to the schools as requested.
Since then at irregular and unpredictable intervals, four more states have requested – and received – Bibles for their public schools. Three of these are in Russia, and one is in Ukraine. Since that first Million Dollar Sunday EEM has had four more – in 2001, 2004, 2006, and 2008 to fund those major projects.
This year October 31 will be our sixth Million Dollar Sunday. This time, we received two invitations from two entire states – Krasnoyarsk in Russia and Ivano-Frankovsk in Ukraine – to put Bibles in their public schools. Again, we do not have the resources to do this without requesting congregations for a special contribution for this purpose.
In addition to those two entire states, we received a request for 40 schools in Crimea, another region of Ukraine. These 40 schools are in an area with a high proportion of Muslim residents. We did not expect that request and did not actively seek it. Yet God worked in His goodness to open this door as well.
Will your congregation help?
For more information, you can go to www.eem.org for general information about Eastern European Mission or here for more about the Million Dollar Sunday. This ministry, begun in 1961 to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, is now under the oversight of the Prestoncrest Church of Christ in Dallas. Today, our work is to provide Bibles and other spiritual literature to missionaries and congregations of the churches of Christ in the former Soviet Bloc of nations. There are 26 nations speaking 20 different languages in our service area.
In addition to providing these things for the churches, we also do the following:
- Place Bibles in Public Libraries, Hospitals, Prisons, and Nursing Homes as God opens those doors for us.
- Recruit, organize and train teams to teach Bible in former Communist Pioneer Youth Camps.
- Support T.V. and Radio ministries with Bibles and other literature – that are resulting in scores of new congregations forming each year. (You can read about one of these here. You can read more about the leader in that work and how he came to know Jesus here.)
- Work in many orphanages of Ukraine to provide not only Bibles, but also a monthly “Weekly Reader” type publication for each orphan.
- Sponsor an annual church-planting seminar attended by about 500 each year – half of whom are “new comers” and the other half are actively engaged in starting and building churches in their home towns.
- Help to develop leadership for these new congregations.
- Help provide training in universities and teacher training schools for ethical instruction for the next generation of business & professional leaders and teachers.
- Continue to look for open doors to provide Bibles and Christian literature to the people of Eastern Europe.
These are things in the annual budget that Eastern European Mission sponsors and/or assists others to do. Our budget is stretched almost to the breaking point by these things. It is not possible to “budget” for irregular opportunities the size of a request to put Bibles into the schools of one or more “states.”
That is why we have a Million Dollar Sunday when one of these large opportunities comes along. That is why we keep coming back to the churches for help. That is why we need your congregation to partner with us so we can continue to partner with the peoples of Eastern Europe to provide God’s word there.
Will you do for Eastern Europe (our one-time “enemies”) what you would cheerfully do if we had the same opportunity here in the USA?”