Beslan, RUSSIA—The International Bible Society (IBS) moved quickly to provide the hope and comfort of God's Word to survivors of the worst terror-related human catastrophe in Russia's history.
On Sept. 1, 2004, the first day of school, a group of about 30 armed men and women stormed Beslan's Middle School Number One. The attackers seized the school building, taking hostage 1,181 people, most under 18. After a three-day standoff, a shootout between the hostage-takers and Russian security forces left hundreds of children and adults dead and wounded.
IBS-Europe's response began in mid-September when Vladimir Sazhin, coordinator for the Northern Caucasus area, delivered copies of "Jesus and His Life: Illustrated Gospel of Mark" to Beslan children and "When Your Whole World Changes" Scripture booklets to their parents.
"We are giving out these Scripture materials as quickly as possible to people who were involved in this crisis," said Sazhin. "We hope the Scriptures will truly ease people's pain and point them towards God."
The distribution of 54,000 packages, including copies of the New Testament and the Gospel of John in addition to the two booklets, is ongoing. Since establishing its Emergency Scripture Fund in 2001, IBS has provided these and other specialized Scripture booklets to churches and ministries to use in crisis outreach all over the world.
For more information on IBS's Emergency Scripture Fund, call toll-free at 1-800-987-3595, or visit the web at www.IBSMinistry.org/disasterfund.