The work that became known as Eastern European Mission (EEM) began in 1961. Six couples headed to Vienna, Austria on student visas—but they did not attend class. They instead worked on ways to smuggle the Bible through the “Iron Curtain” and into the former Communist Bloc countries. When “The Wall” fell in 1989, EEM was able to put their smuggling days behind them, and today, delivers Bibles by the truckloads, package or by hand, free to all. You can learn more about EEM’s amazing journey here.
The stories and methods vary greatly, but ultimately we credit God with providing the opportunities to meet key people with great vision. We’ve learned that they all possess a unique vision and heart to change their countries and people for good.
In most instances, yes. We no longer have printing presses in Vienna and instead have opted to print in-country with local, reliable printers as much as possible. This helps on both customs costs and speed of delivery. We also purchase and/or collaborate with other Bible producers for increased efficiency or availability. Biblica, for example, has been a long-time ministry partner for us.
Yes. While our primary volunteer effort is for the camps, we continue to assess the needs of the people in Eastern Europe and are developing programs to address those needs. Oftentimes, when a need surfaces, we partner with another ministry to fulfill that specific need. This helps us to avoid duplication of efforts and makes both ministries much more efficient. Our role is often to provide support and supply—and we are happy to do it.
Explore and discover the opportunities to serve the people of Eastern Europe through our friends in other non-profit organizations. Perhaps you have a heart for teaching teachers, helping orphans, working with children in summer camps, or encouraging brothers and sisters in Christ. Or maybe you can’t travel, but you can still want promote the good news in Eastern Europe. Explore the options available on our Partner Organizations page →.
Explore and discover the opportunities to serve the people of Eastern Europe through our friends in other non-profit organizations. Perhaps you have a heart for teaching teachers, helping orphans, working with children in summer camps, or encouraging brothers and sisters in Christ. Or maybe you can’t travel, but you can still want promote the good news in Eastern Europe. Explore the options available on our Volunteer Partners page.
This question does come up frequently and we have to first understand the Bible from a world viewpoint and not our western mindset. The reliable Bible translations we have available to us in the western world all have originated from the original texts and so this is also true for the Eastern European translations we provide. For instance, if we translated a Russian Bible from the NIV, American Standard or KJV, many, many words and concepts would be simply incorrect as it would be a translation of a translation. We strive to provide reliable and accurate options in each country that we provide Bibles. For a more detailed explanation of this process, click here.
Our work focuses on the former Communist Bloc countries and the count has changed over the years as geo-political changes have taken place in Eastern Europe. While we have worked in at least 30 countries, we currently work in 20+ countries in a given year and supply Bibles and Bible-based materials in 20 languages. View our map of Eastern Europe →
At this time, we have 12 full-time and 1 part-time U.S. employees. This includes our total office staff, development staff and executive team members. In Eastern Europe, we have nine full-time employees and 10 part-time employees in total, including office staff and executive team members.
The ministry is a small but very efficient group. Our work allows us to partner with many different ministries who are on the front lines distributing our Bibles to the people of Eastern Europe, all free of charge.
Our work is focused on Eastern Europe because our roots began there and it was our focus for so many years. After the fall of “The Wall,” many ministries and missionaries flooded into Eastern Europe and our work flourished. However, in the early 2000s many ministries and missionaries pulled out of Eastern Europe. Upon evaluation, EEM decided to stay focused on the original call of the ministry, as there remained a great need for the Bible in Eastern Europe. Today, we are grateful for the vision of those who made the decision to “stay the course” as God continues to use us for great things in this part of the world.
Others translate, print and distribute, but to our knowledge, we are the only ones who provide the Bible free of charge and on the scale or distribution we do, particularly with our Bibles in public schools efforts (see www.milliondollarsunday.org for more information on these efforts)
We are a ministry. We believe in good business practices, and most of our executive team is made up of previous business executives, so the question of growth comes up often. We are committed to grow as much as God will allow and lead. Our growth will be led by the opportunities that God continues to provide in answer to the needs in Eastern Europe. As to how much we will grow, this is where we have to take off our “business hats” and “step out of the boat” to answer God’s calling. He’s continually putting projects on our plate that we simply can’t solve from a business point of view, but he always responds to our step of faith. And we are humbled and grateful for it.
We do, but often it is the ministry partner that does the follow up. We often see follow-up in the form of another request for Bibles for family members and/or by friends who also want to have a Bible in their own language.
What is the most interesting thing about EEM’s 57-year history?
Learn more by visiting our history page with interactive timeline.