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World Cassette Outreach of India has distributed almost 20,000 audio Bibles to visually challenged people and leprosy victims in India. Photo courtesy of World Cassette Outreach of India.

Uncle Chung had been drifting in and out of unconsciousness since his fall in late September. Doctors had given up hope on the 83-year-old new believer, but his family hadn’t.

With hearing believed to be the last sense to go, his family got hold of a Cantonese audio Bible device in late October, in the hope that it would encourage and strengthen their dialect-speaking family member.

Within a few hours of listening to the audio Bible, Uncle Chung woke up, spoke and was alert. He has since been moved from the intensive care unit to a regular care ward in a local hospital.

This is just one of the many testimonies of the power of hearing the Word.

“The way God made us, the last sense to be switched off when we leave this world is hearing,” says Solomon David, Asia Pacific representative for MegaVoice, makers of the world’s first tamper-proof, solar-powered, digital audio Bible. “God gives patients – perhaps even comatose ones – opportunities, even to the last moment, to be able to hear.”

But that is not the only reason David is a firm believer in being a hearer of the Word.

The case for hearing

“If you can keep only one of your five senses, what would it be?”

Most of us would choose to keep sight. And naturally so, since that is our dominant sense, according to neurologists.

“The hearing and the Word, it’s all connected. Jesus says, ‘He who has ears, let him hear’.”

But for David, his choice would be hearing, for faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

“The hearing and the Word, it’s all connected. Jesus says, ‘He who has ears, let him hear’,” David, 59, explains.

This is the reason he has been in the audio Bible ministry for 20 years. He first brought in audio Bibles in MP3 format, but as technology and needs evolved, he brought in MegaVoice.

It is estimated that the world’s 7.4 billion people speak about 7,100 different languages. MegaVoice has a library containing the Bible, systematic theological studies and children’s stories in more than 4,000 languages and dialects. Photo courtesy of MegaVoice.

To the ends of the earth

Jesus’ command in Mark 16:15 ­– to go to all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation – sounds like a near insurmountable order.

It is estimated that the world’s 7.4 billion people speak about 7,100 different languages and MegaVoice believes more than half are oral learners who are either illiterate or prefer to learn by listening.

The solution: Audio Bibles. MegaVoice has a library containing the Bible, systematic theological studies and children’s stories in more than 4,000 languages and dialects.

David shared a testimony from the Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship, a mission organisation based in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

A few years ago, missionary Gerhard Stamm was invited by the people of April River to visit the Bikaru community, a Stone Age era people group who lived in the remote highlands of PNG.

Missionary Gerhard Stamm (right) with Daniel, who was saved by listening to the Word of God from the solar-powered audio player.  His favourite statement when Stamm had time to visit him was, “I will never turn my back on Jesus”. Photo courtesy of Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship.

Missionary Gerhard Stamm (right) with Daniel, who was saved by listening to the Word of God from the solar-powered audio player. Photo courtesy of Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship.

During the visit, he noticed Daniel, who had two flying fox bones sticking out at both ends of his nose, clearing his garden with a stone axe. He befriended him and gave him a MegaVoice audio Bible.

Daniel not only learned how to speak Tok Pisin (an English-based creole used as a commercial and administrative language in PNG) after using the device, he also accepted Christ!

He told Stamm during his return visits: “I will never turn my back on Jesus.”

MegaVoice is also in close partnership with World Cassette Outreach of India, distributing nearly 20,000 audio Bibles to the visually challenged, bedridden, infirm, and oral preference learners in South Asia.

Samikannu was a literate man, but leprosy had caused him to lose his fingers in both hands. He said: “I love to read the Bible but I have no fingers and when I try to turn a page in the Bible it is so difficult and frustrating.”

Now, with an audio Bible, he is able to enjoy the Word and recite Bible verses.

Samikannu came to know the Lord at the leprosy home. He often recites Bible verses in chunks, and he tells volunteers how much he loves and listens to his Bible. Photo courtesy of World Cassette Outreach of India.

Samikannu came to know the Lord at the leprosy home. He often recites Bible verses in chunks, and tells volunteers how much he loves listening to his Bible. Photo courtesy of World Cassette Outreach of India.

A gift that keeps on giving

We need not look far to see how we can bless those around us with an audio Bible.

As of June 2018, there are nearly 1.4 million foreigners work in Singapore. A number of them may benefit from owning an audio Bible as many, like Indian Telegu-speaking Siva Ben, prefer oral learning.

Singaporean couple, Peter and Ruth*, also used a MegaVoice player to reach out to a Hokkien-speaking homeless man as they themselves are not fluent in that dialect. The 87-year-old was illiterate and had asked them for a portable radio.

World Cassette Outreach of India has distributed audio Bibles to many visually challenged people in India. For many of them, this was the first time that they could access and read (listen) the Bible on their own. Photo courtesy of World Cassette Outreach of India.

Many visually challenged people who were blessed by World Cassette Outreach of India gained access to the Bible for the first time.

“Instead of simply getting him a radio, we thought it would be good to get him a player that had an audio Bible built into it so that he could have the Word of God with him in his own ‘heart language’,” says Peter.

“We believe the player would also keep him company during quiet, lonely nights. It also comforts us to know that he has the Word of God so close to him at all times, to secure his faith when things get difficult. Over time, our relationship deepened and we subsequently brought him to church.”

The next time you are going on the mission field, whether it is to your neighbourhood or overseas, consider gifting an audio Bible. The device, which weighs less than a box of Pocky Chocolate, can continue to share God’s promises even when you are not present.

*Names have been changed at the request of the subjects.

About the author

Geraldine Tan

Geraldine is a former news journalist, public relations practitioner and research editor with a penchant for puns, punctuation and a positive attitude. She is always up for the next new adventure and is on a quest to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Geraldine is now Assistant Editor at Salt&Light.