2020 was unimaginably difficult—but God is bigger.
In His sovereign provision, God ensured that His Word continued to sound out across the globe throughout the pandemic and its ensuing lockdown and economic devastation.
"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever." – Isaiah 40:8
God's Word is the lifeblood of our planet. All things were created through Christ and for Christ (Colossians 1:16b). In this unchanging truth, we can rest assured that He has a plan which He will enact through us in His timing—a plan to send His Gospel to every nation, tribe, people, and language.
In Christ and His Gospel, slaves are made sons and daughters (John 8:35-36). The broken are restored (1 Peter 5:10). Hopes are fulfilled (Romans 5:5). Sicknesses are healed (Psalm147:3). And nothing in all the universe can separate us from His unyielding love (Romans 8:37-39).
This is the message that we partner with you to share with the world, no matter what it takes. We praise God that He used us, together in partnership, to share His message in barrier-breaking ways throughout 2020.
As COVID rooted itself in communities worldwide, social distancing measures, intended to minimize the spread of the disease, also isolated people and inhibited listening group participation. Border closures affected Faith Comes By Hearing's ability to ship physical Audio Bibles to other countries. But we pivoted our strategies to ensure that the Word of God was shared with as many people as possible. Since June, we have documented millions of engagements through our digital apps platform and Audio Bible downloads, as well as through our social media campaigns on Facebook and YouTube. Bible.is has taken center stage—it is paramount to ensuring free global access to God’s Word and achieving Vision 2033.
The following are some examples of how, throughout lockdown and isolation, people still received God's Word in their heart languages and came to Him. Rejoice with us, and may your heart be delighted as you see the Master's fingerprints!
Marco is the leader of a church in his community. He commented, "My greatest difficulty was not being able to read or write my own language. I longed to understand the Bible in Quechua."
One of the activities of our partner in the town where Marco lives was to train listening group leaders how to use the Audio Bible, which they call El Mensajero in Quechua. He, as a local pastor, attended the training and was so excited to hear and understand the Bible—his heart's desire fulfilled.
Marco expressed his joy this way: "When I received the Audio Bible and held it in my hands, it was like a delicious bread that satisfies a deep hunger. I took it home and listened with my family—they were so happy! My children stopped everything and wrestled among themselves as to who would listen to it next. They each want to have one."
Marco takes El Mensajero everywhere he goes. He listens with his neighbors, with brothers in the church, and while working on the farm. Even during the rest breaks, he plays the Audio Bible so his friends can know the Word and love God, since many cannot read Quechua just like him.
Fatima had to make a difficult decision after her husband died. She could either continue to adhere to her religious practices, or she could put food on the table for her family by becoming a prostitute. It was the only option for her, and so, in spite of being shunned by her family and neighbors because of her decision, she did what she had to do. But the deep shame of her lifestyle caused her to become hostile and bitter towards all those who judged her.
Fatima had a chance meeting one morning—a brief chat with a woman named Asha that grew into a genuine friendship. Over time, Asha shared about a merciful God—a concept Fatima had never heard before. Listening to the Audio Bible helped her understand that she could live in grace and not simply observe a set of religious laws and rules. She committed her life to Christ and left prostitution. Although her family still despises her, now because of her conversion, she reaches out to them in love. And she prays that one day they will receive the truth of Jesus as well.
"I am a pastor. I work mainly in hospitals and prisons, and am most active in the high-security prison. I chose to work there because it is far from the city, and very few people want to go there. By God's grace, I work with the chaplain and the family in charge of helping the prisoners in the infirmary. This family has become the key to provide Bible listening.
"These prisoners were arrested for terrorism. My team and I meet them every Sunday, and they are interested in the Gospel. The Faith Comes By Hearing coordinator from the Bible Society provided two Proclaimers in eight different languages for use in the prison, and the family leads the listening program.
"After Sunday evening, when the prisoners can no longer leave their cells, they can hear the Word of God all week long from the Proclaimers. Because of COVID, we pastors can no longer visit them, so the Audio Bible is their only comfort. God bless the Bible Society and all partners for those two Proclaimers, which give light to the prisoners in the darkness of their captivity!"
God's audible Word impacts thousands every day. Groups who have historically been overlooked gladly receive Scripture in a language that speaks to them and opens their hearts to the Good News. Through these past months of gathering restrictions, the number of new groups and opportunities for follow-up have been significantly limited—but Proclaimers placed prior to and during the pandemic are providing daily encouragement and hope. As well, online listening campaigns have stirred the hearts and souls of millions, leading them to find encouragement and fellowship in the virtual space.
Although 2020 was an unpredictable year, we continue to forge ahead, recording and providing Audio Scriptures in the heart languages of the world and pushing forward in our Vision 2033 goals. We don't know what the future will bring, but we know that God is on the throne and has already won, and we will continue to follow the path He has put before us. The solace that comes from listening to Scripture in today's challenges brings hope and peace. We thank and glorify God for your commitment to share His comforting Word with others around the globe.
To share God's life-giving Word with more people in their heart language, click here.