USA (FCBH) — Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July in the United States, is a holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. On that day, the Colonies declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and so continued the American Revolution.
Since the day is associated with liberty, it's not a huge leap to look at those who defend those freedoms. The soldiers who are on the front lines around the world often find themselves face to face with their mortality. It often is then that they begin to ask questions that can be answered by the hope of the Gospel.
Since 2008, Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) has provided more than 300,000 Military BibleSticks to this nation's brave men and women in uniform–free of charge. The small, portable digital device contains a dramatized recording of the New Testament and is distributed to troops through their chaplains. Since the program's inception, over 1,250 chaplains have requested BibleSticks and distributed them during pre-deployment briefings, counseling sessions, Bible studies, weekly chapel services, and upon direct request of service members.
"When we started this outreach in 2008, we had no idea the demand would reach these levels," states Troy Carl, Faith Comes By Hearing vice president.
Initial production was a small run of just 1,000 units, which were quickly dispersed in a few weeks by the handful of chaplains who were the original participants in the program. As the word spread about the deployment-friendly devices, regular requests from other chaplains soon demonstrated that this was not to be only a short-lived outreach.
"We were–and continue to be–amazed by the demand [for BibleSticks]," says Carl. "And how could anyone ever say 'no' to those who voluntarily put themselves in harm's way to protect and defend our country?"
Having a desire to fulfill every request, the ministry has looked to a number of sources to find funding to meet the ongoing need. Among these sources are individual donors through Christian radio and TV campaigns, and thousands of churches from all across America that have sacrificially given in support of our troops.
"Many of our church partners have participated and given three and four times," continues Carl. "There is clearly a heart for our military members throughout the American church."
The ministry works with churches by providing video and printed material about the outreach that they can share with their congregations. While working year-round to meet the demand from chaplain requests, FCBH also focuses the project around holidays that are meaningful for those serving and their loved ones back home.