810,000 military fighters have listened to the Bible on this amazing tool
By Kyle Patterson
The life or death situations associated with being on the front lines of combat can be overwhelming. But at least one ministry out of New Mexico is giving military servicemen and women hope through a creative way to deliver the Bible in audio format.
Troy Carl, VP of Faith Comes By Hearing, a ministry out of Albuquerque, NM saw a need 13 years ago for military servicemen and women to hear the Bible in audio format. His son, at the time, was a Military Academy Cadet at West Point. He shared with his fellow cadets the power of listening to his Bible on his iPod. Other cadets and officers wanted to do the same and soon dozens of requests were coming in to Faith Comes by Hearing to provide a Bible in audio format that could be used on military mission.
This meant off the grid, battery operated, and something that would meet the Department of Defense specs. Carl, knew it was something his team could provide and concluded God was opening a door of ministry to reach servicemen and women for Christ. He jumped at the opportunity. Getting to work, the ministry developed what they now call the Military BibleStick. The BibleStick is about the size of a pack of gum and comes pre-loaded with a dramatized recording of the New Testament and specially selected Psalms. It's rugged enough to withstand tough weather conditions, can be used in low-light situations, and easily fits into uniform pockets.
Chaplains saw the effectiveness of this tool and began requesting the ministry make more to provide for their troops in combat.
“We saw it as a need we felt the Lord wanted us to meet,” said Carl who explained the ministry works through military chaplains to provide the audio Bibles upon request. “We thought maybe 10,000 units for the Afghanistan war and that would be it."
Little did he know that over 10 years later, now more than 810,000 sticks have been personally delivered free of charge by a chaplain to members of the military in every branch including Army, Navy, Marines, and Airforce, along with veterans and their family members. The ministry is supported by donations starting at $25.
“The important thing to remember is that no matter how the word is getting out, people’s lives are being touched with the word of God,” explained Carl.
“It's just a tool and that tool lets us get the unchanging, most powerful word of God into the hands of people who are in harm's way.”
Following specific military requirements, the sticks are made to go on deployment with the soldiers with DoD specs, can’t be seen by snipers, with low lighting, and designed for the soldier to take it with him on mission, anytime, anywhere.
With the recent announcement that 4,000 troops have been marked to deploy to Afghanistan, chaplains are again contacting the ministry to immediately meet this need.
“And it’s more than just somebody reading the Bible” explained Carl. “It’s dramatized, with 180 characters, it’s like radio. We’ve also added Psalms that are specific to the needs of military members.”
Today the ministry now offers Bible recordings in 1,084 languages used by 6 billion people – about four-fifths of the world's population.
“The most important thing that people need to remember is that the word of God does not return void. We get hundreds of testimonials every month. Recently we heard from a veteran air force officer who told us, “I am coming back into the arms of the Father who has never left me. This MP3 Bible came right on time because I was contemplating suicide.”
The trauma that men and women face in combat is a real need that has to be addressed. Carl explained, “We forget that 22 veterans per day, but the Bible, when they hear it, hope is birthed, and they have an opportunity to receive, hope, joy and restoration. Lives are being transformed by the word of God.”