Bibles for Iraq, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ Int., printed 10,000 copies of Aramaic Bibles two months ago and are awaiting to hear news on the distribution. Already, as of April 1, 2004, the ministry has already given away all 15,000 of the printed Bibles and the demand for Christian literature among Iraqis is growing.
Elvin Ridder, U.S. Ministries Development Coordinator of CCC, has reported that everyone has been amazed at the thirst for Christian material. He said of the Iraqis the Christian nationals give humanitarian aid to, 60-80 % are asking for Christian literature and videos. “That is extraordinary in those situations,” he said.
In addition to Bibles, the ministry also hands-out Josh McDowell's "More than a Carpenter" and a children's "comic book" style Bible story book. United Bible Society, the world arm of the American Bible Society, provided the plates to print the Bibles in Aramaic.
News on the progress of the distribution effort will not be revealed for two more weeks when CCC’s Middle East Director will meet with National Iraq Director for an updated report.
One of the key strategies the ministry uses is “having nationals reach to nationals,” according to Ridder, who said the ministry is operated by Westerners but by Christian nationals who have been trained. “People of the same language and culture and value system can reach many more people.”
Changes in the Iraqi government as it becomes more democratic have opened up new doors for spreading the Word. “There is a very, very great opportunity for ministry,” said Ridder. “People feel they can share their faith and they don’t feel government persecution and religious persecution.” However, he noted that there is concern if a religious government is passed since the freedom of religion would not necessarily be protected.
Ridder asks that people pray for the safety of everyone currently in Iraq.
“We want them to know Jesus Christ and he can bring a healing to that land.”