20 Aug 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
Did you know that 12 percent of the world cannot read and an astounding two-third of the world population are oral learners? That means 775 million people have no access to God’s Word, and two-third of the people in the world cannot read or prefer learning through listening than reading!
The Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH) ministry converts the Bible of different languages into audio recordings, with currently more than 800 languages that are spoken by over 5.7 billion people. The ministry uses a solar-powered playback device (called a Proclaimer) that comes with a designated language and can be audible for more than to 300 listeners. It can also be charged using electricity or kinetic energy through cranking the box.
“I believe all of us serve a purpose on earth. We are here as stewards to take care of this temporal world. So, it’s our duty to advocate stewardship of resources available. And as a good steward, in this instance where this amazing resource is made available to us, we help build the faith of others by giving them access to the audio Bible in their own language,” said Dr Anthony Ng, Executive Secretary of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship Malaysia (FGBMF).
He believes that the Word of God must be made readily available for Christians who lack access to the Word of God due to environment and illegibility.
“This is a very good tool for pastors and ministers to use with their church groups. We have seen churches grow by listening to the Word of God because their faith is strengthened.
“And because the audio Bible comes without theology, doctrine or hymns, it is neutral and is acceptable by all denominations. When people listened to the Word in the dramatized form, they find it very interesting and they want to keep on listening,” said Anthony.
He encouraged groups to listen to the Word of God for half an hour, followed by discussing what they heard, how the passage impacted their lives, and what are they going to do about it. This process (called Head, Heart and Hand) allows the listeners to chew on the Word and discover answers communally.
Many encouraging testimonies have been reported from hearers of the Word of God, which is much needed by our Christian brothers and sisters who have no access to electricity or Internet in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak. At a rural church in Sabah, regular worshippers had grown five folds since the pastor started using a Proclaimer during services.
Although listening to the same passage, Anthony shared that different people can have a different perspective or understanding of God’s Word. In Mark 5, Jesus met a demon-possessed man. The demons begged Jesus to cast them into a large herd of pigs nearby, which rushed down into a lake and drowned. For this story, Anthony shared how a villager asked if Jesus had paid for the 2,000 pigs that died. As he came from a similar background, the villager speculated that the pigs could be the main economic income for the whole village then.
“Theologians don’t usually look at this economic aspect but the simple villager did. While discussing this, another man from the village wisely answered that ‘this shows the value of one person to God. Who would have cared for this dirty and insane person? But to God, his soul is worth more than 2,000 pigs.’ That person gave the smartest answer and it came from amongst themselves,” said Anthony.
Some people were also healed when they heard about the miracles that Jesus did. For example, Mark 5 tells about Jesus healing a woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years but upon touching the cloak of Jesus, she was completely healed. People of simple faith with similar issues who heard and immersed themselves in that passage also testified of being healed!
“Just like the movies, you would imagine yourself as the hero and heroine in the picture. Similarly, when oral people heard the Word in the dramatized form, they feel that they are in the story with Jesus,” said Anthony.
Indeed, faith comes by hearing!
Proclaimers are available locally in English, Tamil, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, Malay, Indonesian, Iban, and many migrant languages. You can also download the free mobile application called Bible.is.
The Proclaimer is available freely to all churches, ministers and mission groups who are willing to form listening groups and report their progress. Using a 40-day listening plan is preferred. Played half-an-hour once a week, the entire New Testament can be covered in 40 weeks. Sponsors are encouraged to support this ministry by donating to the general fund or by obtaining units for their own outreach work. For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03-7805-7185/6.
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