Jesus Speaks Konkomba!
This is a story about the Konkomba in northern Ghana. Morgan Jackson visited 20 villages to see what was happening with the Faith Comes By Hearing Bible listening groups. The villages started with 500 listening groups, almost every church having received Audio Bibles; yet they were asking for more – a thousand more – because they had started more than 1,100 groups.
But many churches had been planted so now they needed 3,500 more Audio Bibles.
Morgan wanted to understand what they were doing – was the program really working – and how they were using the Audio Bibles. Were they really using them to start listening groups and plant churches? As Morgan went through each village, it became very obvious that the Word of God was causing a revival among the Konkomba people.
But he also saw something that he had never seen before: the tremendous distrust that people who cannot read have for people who can read. And also the distrust they have for anything that is in a written language other than their own.
"They were surprised that Jesus Christ speaks Konkomba!"
At the first village, he listened to the people talk about listening to the Word of God. Morgan says, “They were surprised that Jesus Christ speaks Konkomba! The people said, ‘Ah! Jesus speaks Konkomba! Ah! I can talk to God directly.’”
In this one village, there were only two young men who could read and they were at this church. The pastor couldn’t read so he allowed the young men to read the Scriptures. The two men made a covenant with each other, reading Scripture in English and translating it into Konkomba, but never mentioning anything about adultery or fornication.
You see, they were having relationships with the women – the women trusted them, saying, “Hey, these are spiritual men. These are leaders.”
So when the men would ask the women to have relations with them, each woman gladly responded: “It would be my pleasure since you’re a man of God and you are requesting this. This must be right and what God wants.”
However, when the Konkomba Audio Bible was played in the village church, the young men immediately realized they were exposed. The very first Sunday they listened to Jesus saying you’re not supposed to commit adultery. Well, adultery in English and adultery in Konkomba are the same. There was no doubt what Jesus was talking about. Everyone in the church looked at the men as if to say, “What were you doing?”
They immediately fell to their faces and repented. The men stood in front of the people and Morgan to repent. They knew what they had done was wrong and that God, through the hearing of His Word in Konkomba, had caused them to repent. They offered to point out some of the women, and Morgan said, “No, we don’t want to go that far.”
The transformation was obvious. Morgan says, “I began to see the power and the need for people to hear the Word of God in their own mother tongue. What they loved about it was they had heard chapter by chapter by chapter, nothing was left out. They heard it all. What a powerful thing for people to hear the Word of God in their own language.”