The $1,000,000 Sunday: An Amazing Journey
Over fifty years ago a group of young adults moved to Vienna, Austria to bring God’s Word to the people of Eastern Europe. Although they believed in the power of God, none of them envisioned what would happen during the last two decades in countries like Russia and Ukraine. They could not have predicted that entire states in Russia and Ukraine would turn to the Bible as a resource for their Public Schools! No one could have imagined the incredible generosity and faithfulness of churches and individuals across the United States whom God used to change Eastern Europe for good.
The $1,000,000 Sunday A Present Day Work of God
This year marks the eighth Million Dollar Sunday effort. The Minister of Education of the state of Lviv in Ukraine has requested EEM to place Bibles and Biblical literature in their public school system (1,445 schools in all with a population of 283,806 students). Lviv marks the fifth state within Ukraine (eighth overall between Russia and Ukraine) to request Bibles for students in their Public Schools.
Poltava and Rivne
In 2012 the states of Poltava and Rivne sent official requests for EEM to supply all 1,494 schools in their regions with Bibles. The student population of these two states is 283,000 children from elementary to high school. Both states were favorably impressed with EEM’s track record in providing Bibles for other regions in Ukraine, most notably the state of Ivano-Frankivsk.
Ivano Frankivsk, Crimea, and Krasnoyarsk, Russia
In 2010, Ivano-Frankivsk formally requested Bibles and Biblical literature for their 763 schools representing 170,000 students. Krasnoyarsk, Russia also requested Bibles for their 300 schools (80,000 students).
When EEM’s representative met with the Minister of Education for Ivano-Frankivsk in December of 2010 and announced that EEM was ready to begin delivery of the Bibles, the Minister asked, “Are you really going to do this?” To which EEM’s reply was, “Yes, we are ready to begin.” To which the Minister asked again, “Are you really going to do this?” And again, EEM’s reply was “Yes, we said we would and we are ready to deliver the Bibles.” At this point the Minister of Education stated, “We have been promised so many things by so many groups who never did what they said they would do.”
The Saki District with its 35 schools and 6,700 students in Crimea was an unexpected door God opened while two of our Donetsk staff vacationed in the area. Nick and Natasha Plaskin were in Crimea when they met an official of the Saki School District. During a friendly conversation the official learned about EEM and its history of placing Bibles in schools. Not long afterwards Natasha received a call, “We’re ready!” Ready for what? “For EEM to put Bibles in our schools!”
What started off as a project for two states included a district in a third state: Crimea! It was obvious God was just beginning!
The state of Donetsk was the first Ukrainian region to request Bibles from EEM. Donetsk is home to 1,187 Public Schools serving 366,000 students. In 2008 the official request was sent and the needed funds donated. In 2009, local congregations and Christians made themselves available to deliver the Bibles to every school in the region. Some of these schools were so far out in the country they had not received new books in years! Not only were school administrators impressed with the materials, they were touched by the servant attitude of those delivering the materials. The deliveries by Christians opened the door for Christian leaders to be invited to teach Bible courses in some of the schools!
The Siberian Minister of Education, Dr. Vladimir Skovorodnikov, a friend of EEM from the very first Million Dollar Sunday project obtained approval for EEM to place Bibles in all of the 1,600 Public Schools in Omsk, Russia. Omsk is a large state in Western Siberia with 380,000 school children. Nearly $2,000,000 was raised in 2006 for the project and in 2007 the Bibles and Biblical literature was delivered.
The third Million Dollar project was a defining moment for EEM. It was during this time EEM realized God was creating a long-term opportunity for His word to spread. EEM also realized that God was not satisfied with walking by sight. This project was going to require a frightening step of faith. It was discovered the Governor of Novosibirsk was up for re-election. If he lost then a long and costly re-approval process would have to take place.
EEM decided to print and deliver the materials before raising the funds! The money was borrowed but God blessed the effort through the generous hearts of His people who raised nearly $400,000 more than was necessary! Approximately 386,000 Novosibirsk students benefited from this project.
In 2001 EEM partnered with Russian Bible School (RBS) to provide Bibles and other Biblical materials to families throughout former Soviet Russia. Forty-one thousand Bible bundles were put together. It was clear God had more than these families in mind. During the printing EEM was able to do some “creative overruns” enabling the organization to provide Bibles for all of the schools in the state of Tomsk: 1,300 schools serving 225,000 students! God was demonstrating early on His vision for these projects was much greater than ours!
The Altai region was the genesis of The $1,000,000 Sunday project. Never before had a project like this been proposed among Churches of Christ. It was an aggressive suggestion to provide Bibles for 2,500 schools and 430,000 students in Russia! However, God made it clear that this was His project, not EEM’s! The goal was a million dollars, but He provided $1,051,000! He also opened the door to include 1,183 public libraries.
The project opened even more doors. EEM followed up by teaching seminars in the region to equip teachers to teach character and ethics using the Bible as the primary source material.
An Amazing Journey that is far from over!
Eastern European Mission began with a dream of a small group of young adults in 1961. They had no idea where the dream would lead. God has been faithful and has done more than anyone could have asked or imagined! EEM does not know what doors will be opened in the future, but we remain convinced God will continue to be faithful and will provide more opportunities to change nations, and the world.
The question to consider now is: would you like to join us on this amazing journey?
The Bible. We Want Everyone To Get It.