Local couple spearheads mission of biblical proportions
'We began our life as missionaries and educators'
August 04, 2010 - By Leah Yanuszeski
|"Whatever your religion is, you can go in and support this."
- Don Bone|
It all started when a group of fresh college graduates traveled to Austria in 1961, with intentions of smuggling Bibles underneath the Iron Curtain and into communist Russia.
This covert operation by the Church of Christ had succeeded in transporting over 7 million Bibles before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
That's the story from Don Bone of Lake Orion, anyway.
Eastern European Mission (EEM), in conjunction with the Church of Christ, continues today to send Bibles and Biblical literature to the nations of Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe.
According to literature issued by EEM, "communism and its collapse have left a tremendous moral void in the former Soviet Union…teachers are increasingly alarmed by what they describe as the development of 'criminality' among the attitudes and behavior of their youth."
Therefore, the Bibles given to students serve as a moral compass that many feel Russian youth are void of.
Bone became involved with EEM 28 years ago. His daughter served as a secretary for the organization's home in Houston, Texas.
Bone informed EEM that many northern churches did not know about their mission.
He originally decided to put in a good word at local churches for EEM; however Bone soon took on the cause full-time.
So far, Bone has visited over 1,000 churches east of the Mississippi, from Florida up to Michigan.
Bone has traveled twice overseas to help at distribution centers.
"We're going in with a basis for morality. Whatever your religion is, you can go in and support this," he said.
Dr. Vladimir Skovorodnikov served as the Russian Minister of Education for the Altai state of Russia.
He opened the doors for EEM in 1998 to bring Bibles in Russian schools, as a basis for bringing up the next generation. Now four states in Russia have asked for Bibles.
"We send over age appropriate Bibles," said Bone, noting that children's study books, "morality guides," and "newcomer guides" are sent to Russia as well.
Ministers as well as church members are invited into schools for teaching, and teachers are given an 'instruction manual' to the Bible.
"One thing we want to stress is this is a non-denominational outreach, this is something that we're handing out with no strings attached," said Bone.
All of this is funded by what EEM titles 'The $1,000,000 Sunday.'
The goal: raise $1 million in one day. Every Church of Christ that works with EEM raises money from church attendees on a specified Sunday.
This year, EEM plans to place bibles in two states in two countries. With the completion of the planned Million Dollar Sunday, the Bible will be placed in 9,201 schools and into the hands of two million students.
Bone and his wife have been involved in volunteer work since they were first married.
"We began our life as missionaries and educators," said Bone.
Together they aided in the establishment of two Bible colleges in the Philippines.
EEM's Million Dollar Sunday is planned for October 31, 2010.