Thoughts to Ponder: "How many Bibles do you have in your home? Do you read at least one of them on a daily basis? How many of you have access to a computer, laptop or tablet, where online Bibles can be found?? I use www.BibleGateway.com when I am online.
I am sure many of us have at least one Bible in our home and numerous others will say they have more than one. As you read the "TRUE" story below, it might shock you to know that in some countries... Bibles are illegal!
PLEASE NOTE: *All Names and Places Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent Bible believing Christians!
"Give us more!" the robbers demanded.
It was around 10:00 p.m., and the Missionary's Bible distribution team was eager to be home. After delivering Bibles to eleven villages in just three days, they had taken a shortcut to get home faster. But as the team slowed their old van to navigate a bumpy stretch of road, they found themselves surrounded by a band of robbers notorious in this particular part of the country.
One of the workers riding in the van tried to reason with the six armed men as one of them pointed a gun at the driver and another held a gun against a passenger's leg. "We've given you everything," he told them. "Why do you want to kill us? But, even as they were rolling down their windows to hand over their valuables, he knew that the robbers would likely force them out of the van and shoot them one by one.
"We have Bibles," offered a young 13 year old girl, the teams youngest member. "Please take a Bible!"
"We don't need it!" a robber screamed, throwing the Bible down.
Approximately, one and a half miles ahead of them on the road, a pastor and the rest of the team waited nervously in the first van. They could not see what was happening behind them, but they knew something was definitely wrong.
About 20 tense minutes later, the team in the second van came barreling towards the first van with its lights off. Everyone was shaken! The robbers had taken their money and their phones, the worker who had tried to talk to them had a bruise on his neck where he had been hit with the butt of a rifle.
Just before letting them go, the robbers told the team, "Don't look back! Do not look back! Don't turn your lights on, other wise we will shoot you from behind!"
Robbers like the one the missionaries and the team of workers experienced are just one of the many dangers Bible distributors encounter in hostile parts of the world. Still, they spend several weeks each year, delivering free Bibles to believers who otherwise would not have access to one.
These workers seek out Christians who do not have a Bible, relying on local contacts to provide the names of those who need one. Most of those receiving Bibles are new to the faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Despite the dangerous, tiring journeys, the missionaries and their team are committed to supplying Bibles to those who need them. "We will show up," he told VOM (Voice of the Maryters) workers. "We will do our commitment!"
Author: VOM Workers
With each trip, the team travels further afield. Just before being robbed by the bandits, they had distributed more than 700 Bibles to believers among the people in an ancient city in another country where the Gospel and Bibles are banned!
So many of these believers are extremely thankful and overjoyed to finally have their own Bible. "Thank you!" they tell the team. "You are water for a thirsty soul!"
Unfortunately, there are many countries who place customary or legal restrictions on the Bible. A total ban is relatively rare, (North Korea however, punishes any possession of religious literature by imprisonment or even death), still it is common for ownership or distribution of Bibles is limited!
The "Gideons International," (A Group that Distributes Bibles) have a list of countries where they are not allowed to operate:
Afghanistan, Algeria, China (People's Republic), Comoros, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan & Yemen.
However, for some of these countries, other groups exist: there are United Bible Societies, chapters for Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, and China, and some presence in Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania and Somalia. The Catholic Bible Federation also operates in Iran, but not all of these efforts are entirely "government- approved!"
For more detailed information, the US State Department issues annual reports on religious freedom with detailed assessments of the conditions on the ground in each country.
May you genuinely know and keep close to your heart the fact that we as Christians are blessed to freely own and read God's Holy Word -- The Bible... because many have been imprisoned or have died while trying to share the Word of God with our Christian brothers and sisters in other nations!