Texas ministry delivers 225k Bibles to children without access to Scripture in their language

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News

 

A Hurst, Texas-based Christian ministry was recently blessed with the opportunity to place 225,000 Bibles in the hands of children in North Macedonia who have extremely limited access to Scripture in their own language.

The Eastern European Missions (EEM) was formed when a small group of missionaries embarked on a dangerous mission in 1961 to smuggle Bibles into the former Soviet Union. Throughout the ensuing decades and up to today, EEM has provided areas once considered unreachable with access to Scripture and the transformative message of the Gospel.

In addition to navigating hostile governments, EEM has worked tirelessly to remove another significant barrier to Bible access: language. Last year, the group delivered 1.5 million free Bibles in over 20 languages to more than 30 countries. 

EEM was recently granted permission to deliver the children’s Bibles to North Macedonia by the nation’s government after officials learned that the ministry provided 650,000 Bibles to public schools in Croatia last year, according to a Christian Post report.

Macedonia is a historic region dating back to the 7th century B.C. and spans parts of northern Greece and the Balkan Peninsula. The Republic of Macedonia declared its independence in 1991 after the fall of Yugoslavia. Since then, the landlocked country has experienced conflict with many of its neighbors. 

EEM’s European Operations Vice President Bart Rybinski touched on some of the ways in which these conflicts have impacted the people of North Macedonia.

“For many years, there was conflict with the Greek state about the name of their country,” Rybinski said. “They had a conflict, too, recently this year with the Serbian Orthodox Church about being recognized as a national Orthodox Church in its own right. From the Bulgarian side, there’s disagreements of culture and history.” 

Rybinski said the North Macedonian government in recent years has recognized that the nation’s children lack positive role models, leading officials to appreciate the benefits of providing them with access to Bibles translated into their own language.

“It’s more than just the Bible,” Rybinski said. “It’s the Bible in their national language, and that’s very meaningful to them.”

Another 225,000 in 2023

After delivering 225,000 Bibles this year, EEM President Bob Burckle told The Christian Post that North Macedonia’s leaders have also asked for an additional 225,000 to be delivered in 2023.

“God’s word is a seed that we’ve been planting, and we team and come together with a number of different organizations to help us do that,” Burckle said in an interview. “We go to major Bible translators like Bible League and then different Bible societies to get their translations. And then they take and they format the books, put them into the printed word, and then we print, publish and distribute,” he explained.

Burckle said most of the group’s funding comes from individuals and churches and that somewhere in the vicinity of 1,080 churches in the U.S. currently support the group’s mission.

EEM believes all people deserve access to God’s word. The goal, however, doesn’t stop with delivering Bibles. The team prays that, through access to God’s Word, people will be transformed by the message of the Gospel.

“You’ve got to get [God’s word] in your heart; you got to get it totally within your entire body and soul in order to fully appreciate and understand what God has done for us and what our future hope is for how to manage the difficulties of life, which we all have,” Burckle said. 

EEM delivers Bibles free of charge to refugees, mission churches, prisons, hospitals, orphanages, campaign groups, and “anywhere else Bibles are needed,” according to its website. The ministry also currently provides humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country.

DONATE NOW