International Bible Givers

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From the Chairman

IBG Chairman Chuck Hayes

Repeating History?

Winston Churchill wrote “those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. I love history and have been an avid reader of history over the years. More recently, I have read a lot of church history, and rather than being “doomed” to repeat, I am praying that God will “choose” to repeat some of that history. Let me explain:

There have been several periods in history where church growth has exploded. None of these growth periods have occurred when things were good, but rather, occurred when things were very bad, and the church was under great stress. The first of these periods was in Roman times. Persecution started in Jerusalem, scattering the early church to the ends of the Roman empire. While there were periods of tolerance and acceptance, various Roman rulers also persecuted the church. When the Antonine plague struck in the second century, the church stepped in to care for the ill. While many believers caught the illness and perished, many unbelieving Roman citizens were exposed to the gospel – in word and in deed – by the early church. Christianity grew by leaps and bounds. That growth continued until Rome adopted Christianity as their official religion in 323, when the evangelical fervor petered out.

In the early ninth century, the pagan Vikings began invading continental Europe, burning villages and cities, killing and carrying off many hostages and prisoners. God used this terrible season in history to bring the goods news to Scandinavia, through the witness of traumatized prisoners. God uses the worst situations man can create to still accomplish His purpose of spreading the Good News. There are other examples you can find digging through history to find difficult seasons where the church grew.

It is in remembering this history that I am praying for revival in Europe. Europe has been dying spiritually ever since embracing the “Enlightenment” two centuries ago. God allows us free will and the ability to choose life apart from him. Into this spreading hopelessness, refugees of an unjust war are bringing back the Good News to a fresh generation. Ukraine is the most Christian nation in Europe, and now more than 5 million Ukrainians have fled the war into western Europe. With them, they bring the hope of the Gospel. It is in the hope of history repeating itself that IBG is providing $3,000 worth of Ukrainian and Russian Bibles to the refugee diaspora in western Europe. Many left wearing only the clothes on their back. While their host countries are providing for basic needs, we can at least ensure they are armed appropriately with their sword of the spirit, the Word of God.

Join me in praying through this refugee crisis, that the Ukrainians will have all their basic needs met, that they could return soon to their home and start rebuilding their lives, and that as sojourners, that would leave a fragrant aroma of hope and Good News to their host countries.

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