USA (MNN) — An audio Bible ministry has hit a milestone in its ministry to military families in the United States.
Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) initiated their military outreach about five years ago at the request of a handful of active duty Marines and chaplains serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Needing a deployment-friendly version of the ministry's standard BibleStick, military members advised FCBH engineers of the needed specs, and the result was the creation of the Military BibleStick.
Today, Faith Comes By Hearing is honored to announce they have shipped–free of charge–more than 250,000 BibleSticks to chaplains serving every branch of the military for distribution to troops in pre-deployment briefings, counseling sessions, Bible studies, weekly chapels, and upon direct request of service members.
More than 1,200 chaplains have participated in the project, with regular requests for more BibleSticks coming in every week. The small, portable, digital audio devices are so popular that the ministry is currently working to fill a backlog of requests for over 20,000 additional units.
FCBH raises funds for this project from a number of sources, which include individual donors and on-air campaigns with Christian radio and TV stations. However, the single largest funding source has come from churches across the country that have partnered to generously support America's troops with God's Word in audio. More than 7,000 churches across 120 denominations have presented this project to their congregations, with many participating a second and third time.
The ministry's church outreach currently is to raise funds for 12,000 additional BibleSticks by Easter in recognition of our troops' twelfth year of deployment since 9/11.
Your help is needed, says spokesman for FCBH Bill Lohr. It costs $25, but it includes "the BibleStick with the complete New Testament (dramatized version), the ear buds, getting it to the soldiers, and also a card they can send back to us so we can send MP3 discs to their families."
Why are BibleSticks so popular with the military? Lohr says, "Even the small New Testament print Bibles are sometimes hard to have around. Sometimes [troops] are in areas where lighting is difficult, so to have it in audio has really been [beneficial] for our troops."
The age group, 18 to 24, is another reason. "Their life is audio-visual, so they like things in audio. They listen to things in audio. That's why this has been something that's been so impacting, particularly to that age group."
Troy Carl with FCBH says, "We continue to be amazed at both the number of requests from chaplains and the outpouring of support from grateful citizens wanting to do their part to provide our military heroes with the kind of peace and spiritual guidance that only comes from the pure Word of God."
Carl is a vice-president at Faith Comes By Hearing and oversees the Military BibleStick project. He also has a personal perspective as the father of a West Point graduate who recently spent two years deployed.
"It's very encouraging to see so many hard-working people financially supporting this outreach," says Carl. "But more importantly, these are strong, patriotic Americans who get on their knees every day and pray for our sons and daughters who are in harm's way."
Lohr adds, "There are troops who come to their chaplains who aren't believers at the time. They sit and listen to the Bible. We know God's Word doesn't return void, and so it works in their heart and they are coming to the Lord."