USA (MNN) — Religious and civic leaders concerned about the rising crime rate in the Virginia Peninsula region of the United States teamed with International Bible Society, an affiliate of IBS-STL Global, to give more than 100,000 New Testaments to residents in Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Yorktown Peninsula residents on March 16, Palm Sunday.
Distributed through The Daily Press to newspaper subscribers, the New Testaments are customized with local landmarks displayed on the cover and testimonies by area residents inside. The customized New Testaments include helpful notes to guide readers unfamiliar with the Bible.
Area churches, para-church organizations, businesses, and individuals raised more than $250,000 for the CityReachers project. A second door-to-door delivery is planned this fall to homes not receiving The Daily Press.
IBS Outreach Director Paul Tolleson said community leaders in the Peninsula and elsewhere are convinced that any solution to urban crime rates must include a spiritual, values-based component. The Bible contains a message of hope and guidance that can change lives and transform communities.
Ironically, while the Bible is the most-purchased book in the United States, it is also one of the least-read. Many people own Bibles written in archaic forms of English. Others struggle with how to apply the Bible's truths to modern culture. For many Virginians, the New Testament they received on Palm Sunday will be the first clear, easy-to-read Bible they've ever owned.
The Palm Sunday distribution garnered a warm response. One subscriber wrote, "My husband brought the Daily Press newspaper in … and gave me the New Testament you sent out. I was excited to see what you have done! You have created a format that will cause people to want to read the New Testament."
Pray that God's Word will be read and understood and that many will turn to Christ for salvation. Pray, also, that money will be raised to do more of this type of outreach in the U.S.