Day of mourning could produce new life

By May 30, 2011

USA (MNN) — Every country has its own wars. Every country has soldiers who have been slain, and times when those losses ache deeply.

On the last Monday of every May, the United States takes a break to recognize soldiers who have been killed in battle. Men and women who were killed as far back as World War II or as recently as in the Iraq war are remembered on Memorial Day with a mixture of joy and heartache.

"There are so many families today that are going to cemeteries and graveyards, and they're remembering those in their families who have lost their lives, remembering those who have given their lives for our country, for our freedoms," says Jon Wilke with Faith Comes By Hearing. "Today is a real somber day for so many people."

Today, America mourns for the nearly 4,500 soldiers who have been killed in Iraq alone. Others who aren't mourning loss are thinking of husbands, wives, fathers, aunts, cousins, neighbors and friends who are currently serving overseas.

In the States, a lot of people are spending their day off with family, enjoying a barbeque or watching a parade. But Wilke reminds us that it's important to take time to focus on our armed forces, whether you live in America or elsewhere.

There are many ways to support these troops today, but one of the most Gospel-enhancing means of paying them tribute is to be a part of the Military BibleStick movement.

If you haven't already read about it on Mission Network News, for the last four years, Faith Comes By Hearing has been working through an initiative to send out digital audio players loaded with the New Testament. The units are called Military BibleSticks.

"So far, we've sent out over 115,000 of these units. Currently, we have about 5,000 troops who are asking for these," says Wilke.

The sticks have been a hit to say the least, but more than that, they're creating opportunity for life transformation.

"When [troops] get overseas and they get in these stressful, crucible-type situations, they begin to question where they really stand with God and where they're going if something were to happen to them," explains Wilke. Many start asking their chaplains questions. Over 700 chaplains work with Faith Comes By Hearing and can direct troops to Military BibleSticks.

The response to the BibleSticks has been overwhelming. Wilke says one sergeant was listening to the audio drama Scriptures on his player while on "suicide watch" with a soldier. He was able to share the Good News he heard through his audio player. The deeply-depressed soldier was able to hear the Gospel, and is now safely at home.

Many more baptisms and faith confessions have resulted from hearing the Truth through these audio devices, and the waiting list for them is growing daily. "Right now we have over 5,000 troops asking for audio Bibles for themselves, and we don't have the funding for that."

This is where you come in. It's just $25 for the shipping and contents of a BibleStick pack. Each pack comes with the Military BibleStick, ear buds, a battery, a disc with the New Testament that soldiers can hand out to their friends, and a card they can send to request players for their families. The effects of just one packet could be monumental.

As we remember troops today from America and all over the globe, it seems like the perfect time to cover them in prayer, and send them God's Word. To send a Military BibleStick package, visit

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