HURST, TX — EEM (Eastern European Mission), a ministry that has steadfastly worked for more than 60 years to supply free Bibles to Eastern Europe and the surrounding nations, recently delivered 225,000 Children’s Bibles in North Macedonia as a result of its Bibles for Kids fundraising campaign. The gift was recognized by both the Church and government as the largest book donation the nation has ever received.
The Archbishop invited EEM for a celebratory dinner at his residence in Skopje to celebrate the gift and effort to provide every child in North Macedonia with a Bible. Darijan Sotirovski, Director of the Committee on Relations with Religious Communities and Religious Groups, was in attendance along with Orthodox Church officials. Sotirovski serves as a mediator between the Church and governing bodies and helped coordinate importing the children’s and teen Bibles into the country.
Church leaders expressed their thanks by recalling the nation’s history. “Here the Gospel seed was sown first by the apostle Paul, but this country, like all the countries of the world, has a need for the message of Christ to be continuously shared with each new generation,” one leader said. “Up until 30 years ago, we lived under communism. Our churches and monasteries became museums and our parents were raised in the spirit that God was a fantasy. Thankfully, the faith of our people was preserved during communism by our older women and grandmothers. They had enough courage to fight for the faith in difficult times.”
Because of this, he added, many adults will also be impacted by the Bibles their children are receiving. “We believe the parents of our Macedonian children will also read these Bibles and be brought into faith, too. Please allow me to give thanks to EEM. You are providing for the need of our younger generation to know Christ and providing for those who are wanting to know Christ an opportunity to practice what they are learning in their lives. On behalf of our children, I say thank you.”
Bartosz Rybinski, EEM’s Vice-President in Europe, explained how the funds were raised to make the Bible donation possible. “Some of the donors who gave their own money to help Macedonian children receive a Bible were children in America,” he said. “Many saved their allowance so they could donate Bibles to North Macedonia. So it’s not just wealthy people, it’s the little ones – those who often are the same age as the children receiving a Bible here.”
North Macedonia is following the example of many eastern European nations, including Ukraine, which have invited EEM to distribute Bibles throughout the public school systems for use in the teaching of Christian education and ethics classes. EEM is able to receive government approval for the distribution because of the dramatic difference it makes in student behavior. “We saw in a neighboring country, that after one year of Christian education for children being introduced in the schools, youth delinquency dropped by 17% in one single year. This is why we want to see faith education provided in all schools,” the church leaders explained.
EEM President Bob Burckle expressed appreciation for the Macedonian church leaders’ welcome. “The kind of hospitality we experienced immediately upon arrival at the airport and throughout our stay has been overwhelming,” he said. “It is clear how grateful these leaders are for their partnership with EEM and how much they value the gift of God’s Word for the children of their country. Their commitment to share God’s Word inspires us.
“These 225,000 Bibles are only half of the number that was requested for the children of North Macedonia,” Burckle added. “God willing, EEM will be able to raise the money to print and deliver another 225,000 in 2023.”
Macedonian church leadership concluded with a word about the impact this donation will have far into the future: “The mission and the call of the church is not confined to a building or a country’s borders. And with this immense gift of yours, you have once again stated that. Many generations to come will be grateful they have had the opportunity to know our Savior and the Word of God. What you learn when you are a child, you take with you throughout your entire life. This is important for younger generations, and a beautiful pathway for them to find the real truth in their lives.”
Despite the global pandemic and resultant supply chain issues, EEM distributed 1.5 million Bibles and Bible-based materials in 2021. At the start of 2022, the ministry had already received an additional 1.9 million requests, which continue to pour in. EEM is inviting disciples of Jesus everywhere to partner in this work to fulfill all of these requests, with individuals and churches encouraged to participate in the fall fundraising campaign, “Million Dollar Sunday.”
To learn more about EEM or to make a donation, visit https://www.eem.org/mds.
About Eastern European Mission
Eastern European Mission (EEM) was established in 1961 to provide Bibles and Bible-based materials throughout the former communist bloc countries in Eastern Europe. Today, EEM publishes and prints Bibles and New Testaments as well as Teen Bibles, Children’s Bibles and coloring books, distributing them through a vast network of partner churches and organizations reaching more than 32 countries in 23 different languages, including Farsi and Arabic. For more information, visit EEM’s website at www.eem.org.
Media Contact: Melany Ethridge; 972-267-1111; firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Eastern European Mission, Official Website