Jesus’ story has impacted millions of individuals throughout the centuries. His miracles, parables, sacrifice, and love stand in stark contrast to the world and its promises. But what if you only heard the story of Jesus in the language you took a couple of classes in during high school? Understanding the Good News would be difficult if you could only pick out a few words here and there.
With thousands of translations available at the touch of a smartphone icon, this problem could seem irrelevant. However, 1.5 billion people have yet to discover that God speaks their language. To them, Jesus is as understandable as static on the radio. He is a foreigner, only speaking through a superimposed trade language. And why pray to a God who (they believe) can’t comprehend what they are saying?
Decades ago, it seemed absurd that people did not have a way to access Scripture. Many of these people groups possessed print Bibles in their languages—why not read them? At the time, few knew that 70% of the world is oral, meaning they need to hear Scripture in their language.
In 1986, Faith Comes By Hearing thrived as a Christian cassette-lending library to thousands of churches around the United States when God suddenly flipped the ministry on its head. Missionaries called into the corporate office requesting for a Haitian Creole recording. To their surprise, the Haitian pastors could not read their print Bibles! These pastors begged Faith Comes By Hearing to record the Word in their language—something rarely undertaken at the time. The ministry prayed and took a leap of faith.
A Haitian pastor from the east coast agreed to read the New Testament in Haitian Creole. Projected to take only two to three months, the recording ended up taking two and a half years due to severe spiritual warfare. Our Haitian partners dealt with sickness, church splits, and many other difficulties. Satan used these roadblocks in an attempt to stop the recording, but the team continued to press on. By 1988, the Haitian Bible recordings traveled back to Faith Comes By Hearing for editing and mastering.
The following year, the first shipment of 20 Haitian Audio Bibles arrived for pastors in Haiti to check the recording quality. These pastors, who could not read, wept as they heard God’s audible Word in their heart language for the first time. One said, “From the time you gave me this tape, I have not stopped listening; this has been the most transformational day of my life.”
A bridge had been built between their mother tongue and the Father. They could now communicate freely with God, knowing He spoke their language.
These pastors shared the new Audio Bibles with their congregations, and before long, the people dived deep into their faith. It soon became clear that when people interact with Audio Scripture in their heart language, they yield rich insights.
This news surprised the Faith Comes By Hearing team. If Haiti's people were largely oral, how much more of the world might be too? Without the ability to engage with the Scriptures and find their true meaning, these people could never profoundly know who God is.
The door to an oral world flew open, leading Faith Comes By Hearing to produce Audio Bibles in other languages. The massive and urgent need for Audio Bibles ignited a fire in Jerry and Anet Jackson’s hearts. Their passion to record and provide God's Word in every language that needs it propelled the ministry to where it is today. From a Christian tape-lending library, Faith Comes By Hearing grew into a recognized leader in Audio Bible recordings. Now, Scripture is available in 1,878 languages—all because of the Haitian pastors’ pleas.
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