But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
– 2 Peter 3:18
There are over 4 million Bambara people living in Mali and they are one of the most powerful and influential ethnic groups in the country. The women play an important role in their culture and, as their lives are transformed by hearing God’s Word, families and the nation are being transformed.
The average Bambara woman has eight children and even elderly widows have suitors because the people believe having a wife increases a man’s prestige. Marriage is very important to the people and it is often viewed as a type of investment. The main purpose of marriage is to have children in order to provide the family’s labor force and ensure the family lineage. Though men and women share the farming duties in most families, the women usually arrive in the fields later than the men and leave earlier to allow them time to prepare the meals.
Since many of these women cannot read or write, the Audio Bible in Bambara is especially important to them and local churches often offer special Bible listening groups just for them. Two women described how the Lord has used His Word in their lives:
Mariam says, “After having surgery, I was told to stay in bed for a few days to help the healing process. It was so hard because I experienced excruciating pain night and day. My constant moaning and wailing worried everyone in the house. Then, after two days, someone began playing a Proclaimer by my bed. As I listened, a stream of fresh air passed through my body, the pain subsided, and I fell into a deep sleep. When I woke up, the pain was gone and a smile returned to my face. Today, I can testify that the Word of God is powerful. It heals!”
Leila says, “As I listened to the Proclaimer, I realized belonging to God would mean a profound change in my life. I was so stubborn that I wouldn’t listen to anyone when it came to changing my behavior. I took offense when corrected and had to take revenge, but listening to God’s Word changed me. Now my pride has been broken and I have learned to seek forgiveness when I hurt someone.”
Faith Comes By Hearing sent nearly 200 Bambara Proclaimers to Mali in 2014. Each one will reach as many as 90 (and sometimes more) people with God’s Word. Additionally, over 30,000 people have listened to the Bambara Audio New Testament digitally through the Bible.is app and podcasts since it was released. Whether they are men, women, or children, each life transformed through hearing God’s Word in audio creates a better future for the Bambara people of Mali.
We are grateful to churches like Christ Community Church (Canoga Park, CA), Triumph Church (Detriot, MI), Lake Highlands Church (Dallas, TX), Powersville Christian Church (Brooksville, KY), Canon Community Baptist Church (Canon City, CO), and many others for partnering with Faith Comes By Hearing to help Mariam and Leila and many other Bambara speakers like them find the inner beauty and peace God gives through hearing His Word in their heart language.
Image: A group of women and children attending a Bambara Audio Bible listening group in Mali.