In 2020, COVID-19 quickly spread to multiple countries and escalated from epidemic to pandemic designation. Work, travel, and daily life changed significantly. Isolated in their homes, many people were caught off-guard.
Thankfully, God was not.
In His Word, our Father lovingly reveals His power to guide, heal, and restore: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10). Armed with this comforting knowledge, Faith Comes By Hearing trusted the Lord day by day to guide our steps.
Faith Comes By Hearing is an Audio Bible ministry which records and freely provides God's Word in every language that needs it. But at the onset of the pandemic, international travel ground to a halt, meaning many of our recording teams saw tenable field projects dwindle to nothing. Furthermore, physical listening groups were no longer feasible as governments prevented people from gathering.
In faith, the ministry sought new avenues by which we could ensure our Vision 2033 plans stayed on track.
With many recording teams unable to travel, recording projects transitioned to an online space. Virtual Recording, a secure, internet-based method, surged in the second half of 2020 and continued into 2021, sidestepping restrictions. Despite worldwide lockdown, some teams managed to record more Scripture as COVID-19 spread:
"We were stuck in the recording community for months due to the pandemic," our partners in the Philippines told us. "We thank God that after four weeks of lockdown, we were able to continue and complete the recording."
What started as a normal recording trip turned into the longest of their 11-year career. On March 12, 2020, the Philippine government closed schools, and all domestic flights were canceled for the next month. Over the following weeks, community after community was completely locked down, and anyone leaving their residence needed an ID pass. Our husband-and-wife team could not return home to be with their teenage children, who had to complete online schooling and purchase groceries for themselves and their grandparents.
The delays continued—but so did the recording. From the partners' hotel room, readers were able to complete the entire New Testament, working through strict government curfews, illness, and even water damage from a typhoon that hit the town on May 15.
In July 2020, our resolute team was able to find travel arrangements. After a nine-day road-and-ferry trip taken without ever leaving their small car, eight canceled flights, and several COVID tests, the husband and wife finally saw and embraced their family again. Reunion was sweet, and they rejoiced in the fact that another community is now able to hear God's Word in their heart language.
In 2020, despite the "new normal" that developed as people ceased meeting together, a crucial fact endured: 70% of the world's population live in oral communities. These people still need to hear Scripture—and they still need fellowship and discipleship. Faith Comes By Hearing persevered in our work, and more individuals received God's Word in audio than ever before. How?
Once again, the internet proved to be an ample space for biblical community. Partners and churches conducted weekly listening and watching groups on social media, hosting discussions, and helping people understand the Truth they heard.
Recognizing a need for single-language Audio Bible apps designed for offline listening, Faith Comes By Hearing promoted Global Bible Apps around the world. Usage of these apps skyrocketed as millions downloaded and listened to Scripture in their heart language. Search engine ad campaigns connected unprecedented numbers of seekers to the Word.
The pandemic wasn't the only difficult circumstance people endured. As the Taliban took control of Kabul, Afghanistan, in the summer of 2021, tens of thousands of citizens fled to other countries and uninstalled their Bible Apps out of fear of exposure. Partners in the region suggested Faith Comes By Hearing target areas with high refugee populations. Due to our digital pivot over the previous year and a half, we were well-positioned to meet the needs of these displaced people. Swelling download (and re-download) counts confirmed God's perfect timing and provision.
It may sound like a cliche now, but the world endured quite the storm in 2020 and 2021. Torrents of uncertainty and thunderous media commentaries threatened to drown us. But Jesus is Lord of the wind and waves (Luke 8:24-25). In His sovereign plan, God led us through the darkness. His eternal promise to strengthen, help, and uphold us still rang true. As Faith Comes By Hearing discovered, God had already orchestrated a solution and provided just what we needed to move forward at precisely the right time.
As the events of 2020 and 2021 showed us, it is crucial that every person—no matter how challenging it may prove to reach them—has the opportunity to hear their Maker share His comfort in their own heart language. That's why Faith Comes By Hearing works with like-minded partners to unlock the mysteries of Scripture for the last, the least, and the forgotten. Soon, the whole world will be able to hear God's Word.
Help us achieve Vision 2033: Give God's Word to more communities today.
Find more information on how you can partner with Faith Comes By Hearing here.