Chinese Christian reading the Bible
A new program from Voice of the Martyrs has just shipped its 100,000th Bible under a program that puts God’s Word in the hands of those who want to know about Jesus but are in nations that limit access to Bibles.
Officials for the Bibles Unbound outreach say the program, launched because of those government limits on the publication or importation of Bibles, has surpassed by far the original hopes of a few hundred Bibles a month.
After only about nine months of operations, the milestone Bible was mailed through Bibles Unbound by Dr. Mike Earls of Beggs, Okla., and now is en route to an Egyptian who wants to read about Jesus.
Mr. Mike Earls (Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs/persecution.com)
Earls and his wife became familiar with The Voice of the Martyrs in the early ‘80s when VOM’s founder, Richard Wurmbrand, spoke at Oral Roberts University. They later lost contact, but recently were in Phoenix, Ariz., when they noticed two men behind them in line wearing VOM shirts.
They struck up a conversation, and the relationship was renewed, VOM officials said.
Today he’s an osteopath who cares for the physical needs of people, but his life’s work is with VOM.
“We are very, very, very interested in seeing people saved. That’s our main thrust,” Dr. Earls said.
He believes one key ingredient in a recipe for that success is to have Bibles available.
“If anything, we need to have superfluous amounts of Bibles in the world where they’re easy to come by,” he said.
The Bibles Unbound effort allows Christians in the free world to mail New Testaments one at a time directly from their homes to someone in a nation where Bibles are illegal or restricted.
While a truckload of Bibles can be spotted and stopped, that same truckload of Bibles, wrapped and mailed individually, just disappears, officials note.
And once Christians in nations where they are persecuted have access to Bibles, they will read them, and develop questions about Jesus.
His family helps in the work, Earls said.
“It makes the kids more a part of the ministry so their prayers are a little more tangible,” he said. “They’ve actually laid their hands on the Bibles, thought about the people, prayed about the people, whereas sometimes when you get stuff from a magazine or a website it sounds great and [you say] let’s contribute, but you’re really not as involved as with this sort of unique ministry.”
Earls and his family have chosen to reach out to Islamic nations, and have been sending Bibles to Egypt so far.
“We’re interested in Muslims hearing the good news and receiving the truth. The Gospel is going forth in the Islamic world. I think once the Muslims hear the good news of Jesus they’re going to accept Him, but they can’t without the Word of God.”
Participants contribute the $30 each month for the five New Testaments and packing materials needed to ship them. Addresses also are provided by the program.
The name of the outreach comes from the New Testament message from Paul to Timothy, that, “Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil-doer, even unto bonds, but the Word of God is not bound.”
Ministry CEO Tom White said persecuted Christians even today are willing to risk being beaten and imprisoned for their faith, and VOM supports them in many ways.
“When they asked us to begin mailing individual Bibles into their communities, we immediately knew that was an incredible way to join forces with them,” he said.
VOM is a non-profit, interdenominational ministry working worldwide to help Christians who are persecuted for their faith, and to educate the world about that persecution. Its headquarters are in Bartlesville, Okla., and it has 30 affiliated international offices.
It was launched by the late Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, who started smuggling Russian Gospels into Russia in 1947, just months before Richard was abducted and imprisoned in Romania where he was tortured for his refusal to recant Christianity.
He eventually was released in 1964 and the next year he testified about the persecution of Christians before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, stripping to the waist to show the deep torture wound scars on his body.
The group that later was renamed The Voice of the Martyrs was organized in 1967, when his book, “Tortured for Christ,” was released.