Audio Bibles for the People of Ghana
Proclaimer® Reaches People in Hospital
In the midst of a very busy hospital with people waiting to be helped, could the Proclaimer® have an impact? The hallway is narrow and there are a lot of people in the area. Would they be able to hear the Proclaimer® and concentrate on what they were hearing? A pastor sat with the families while they listened and then asked questions to see if they were grasping what they heard. The results were amazing! The people not only heard the Word, but had questions of their own. Twenty-three people raised their hands to accept Jesus.
A Bright Light and a Voice
This Ghanaian man testifies, "One night I prayed and went to bed. In a dream I saw myself wearing a white garment with the Faith Comes By Hearing program in my hand. A bright light shone and a voice said ‘Blessed is the one who holds My message.'" The dream convinced him that the only way to a life of fulfillment is to follow Christ, and he is now committed to doing so.
Chumburung and Deg Projects with Wycliffe
In Ghana, Africa, the Chumburung people live around the Daka river at the northern end of Lake Volta. About 40,000 people speak Chumburung as their heart language, but the region is dominated by Twi-speakers, so the Chumburung language was not highly regarded — that is before the Audio Drama New Testament arrived! Now the Chumburung people are glad to know God understands their language. The Faith Comes By Hearing program was launched in 2006 and has been embraced by churches and literacy advocates who are helping native speakers learn to read and write Chumburung as they listen to the Scriptures.
Of the 26,400 Deg in Ghana, less than 10% can read, so the printed Deg Bible could not reach a broad audience. Yet having the translation was invaluable, because we could then produce the Audio Drama New Testament ... and today almost every Deg church and village has a Faith Comes By Hearing program! There are 85 listening centers, including programs in literacy. Already many of those who enrolled in the original literacy programs can read, and they follow the audio with their own printed Bibles. One young man said that he hid behind the church to listen to the Audio Bible and the discussion afterwards. The fourth time he did this, he was so deeply touched that he came into the church and accepted Christ — and this is not uncommon!
The New Testament for Oral Cultures
The book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Christ. Often overlooked, or only briefly studied, are the verses which consist of Christ’s human ancestry. These are not what typically come to mind when we are called to evangelize, or witness, or are given the opportunity to share our faith. Though this genealogy proves prophesy found in the Old Testament, to most people there is not a lot of spiritual “meat” in the first 17 verses of the New Testament.
That is, unless the people are from a society where ancestry is very important to the culture. There are ethnic nations in Africa,
The Lord had a purpose for every word in the Bible. Not one word is wasted. When an oral culture with deep respect for genealogy hears the lineage of the Messiah, Christ’s authority and right to address the village is immediately established. Ears are attentive, hearts are open, and the Word of God comes to life with the very first words of the New Testament.
In Ghana, there are poor and illiterate people whose traditions and heritage are passed down orally from one generation to the next. Village elders, through community discussion, teach people about village life and important tribal people. Oral learners receive and process information by hearing.
When the Dagbani of Ghana first heard the Audio New Testament in their language, their response proved that the pure Word of God has the power to capture hearts. The first words to ring out from the New Testament were the genealogy of Jesus Christ, rich with names of people from stories they had heard before. And the words coming from the miraculous machine explaining Christ’s heritage were in their heart language making it easy for the Dagbani to process the information.
Audio Bible Programs in Prisons
In James Camp Prison, several inmates expressed thanks and genuine gratitude for the Bible listening program. Because the programs are in the native heart language, one inmate remarked,
"We have the Bible in our language and our discussions in Twi as well without any inhibitions at all."
Another prison with the Bible listening program is the Sekondi Prison. One inmate expressed heartfelt surrender when he listened one day:
Schools in Ghana Hear God's Word
The shared vision of evangelism and discipleship in an oral culture makes the partnership between Faith Comes By Hearing and Scripture Union Ghana a natural fit. Since 2005, Scripture Union Ghana has established FCBH Audio Gospel listening groups in more than 1,000 schools, including Ashaley Botwe School.
Ashaley Botwe School, a large, 1,200-pupil compound in a suburb of Accra, faced some serious challenges: teen pregnancies were common, witchcraft rituals and animal sacrifices were routinely conducted on campus after hours, and every year one or two students died under mysterious circumstances. Fear was rampant and tensions ran high between parents and school officials.
Moved by the situation, a local team brought a weekly Faith Comes By Hearing Audio Bible listening program to Ashaley Botwe. They arranged to use electricity from a house nearby because the school has no electric power. Blackouts sometimes require program leaders to use dry cell batteries, an expensive option in a country where the per-capita income averages $400.
Now, after the general morning assembly, the pupils eagerly run to their respective rooms for the day’s listening.