In the April 2015 edition of the Voice of the Martyrs magazine, a staggering number was provided: 249,843. This is the number of believers in hostile or restricted nations who have specifically asked for a copy of the Scriptures. Each one of these individuals has a longing for the “pure spiritual milk” (I Peter 2:2) that they can only receive through the revealed Word of God, despite the great risk at which simply possessing a Bible puts them. Many of these believers would be tortured, imprisoned, and possibly even executed if they were known to have a Bible, and yet they count that cost as being worth paying if only they could know more about the Savior that loves them so. Reading the stories in each issue of the Voice of the Martyrs magazine opens our eyes a little more to the challenges and dangers that our brothers and sisters around the world experience on a daily basis for simply proclaiming, “Jesus is Lord.” The magazine is free, so I encourage you, if you do not already receive it, to sign up for a subscription at http://www.persecution.com.
Yet that number, staggering though it may be to us in a nation where most everyone has multiple copies of the Bible, is only part of the story. The headline on the front of this edition read simply, “We Know Them By Name.” Think about that for a moment: the workers at VOM knows the names of each believer who has requested a copy of the Scriptures, and they are working to make sure that there is “a Bible for every believer.” What a tremendous goal! Sometimes when we see numbers like this, it begins to eclipse the fact that each number represents a real person, a brother or sister in Christ desperately seeking Him.
Now, I want to brag a little bit about our youth. After prayerfully considering the program, they have decided that they want to help with this ministry of VOM through their “Bibles Unbound” initiative. In order to be part of this, the youth have to commit to collecting at least $30 a month (the cost for five Bibles) for a year. That’s sixty Bibles total that they are committing to gathering so that they can be put in the hands of these individual believers in their native language. This excites me greatly, and I hope it does you, too! There’s plenty of things that clamor for the attention of our young people today, and frankly, thinking about persecuted Christians in places that they may never have heard of doesn’t always rank at the top of the priority list for many youth. When presented with the situation that these 249,843 are facing, though, our youth realized that they wanted to be part of something much bigger than themselves. Over the next month or so, they will be sharing some information with us about our persecuted brothers and sisters and they’ll be asking you to help them collect money for Bibles for these believers. They’ll provide you with the details. Will you stand with your persecuted brothers and sisters, and help them get copies of God’s Word? Please be praying about how you can help. Just something to think about… ~Pastor Roy