Among the Bhojpuri-speaking people of India, an accident left a man named Anil paralyzed and unable to walk. He was discouraged and even thought about suicide. One day Anil’s family brought him an audio version of the New Testament, explaining that if he listened to it he would hear from God.
After hearing the story in John 5 in which Jesus cures a man who had been an invalid for 38 years, Anil called out to Jesus until he fell asleep. When he awoke he asked for his brother and said: “While I was sleeping, Jesus spoke to me! He said, ‘I will make you well.’ He said that I would talk about it, and others would listen and know my words were true.” Anil then stood up and showed his brother he could walk.
Anil went to see his doctor, who could hardly believe Anil was walking. Since then, Anil’s entire family has been baptized, and many have accepted Christ through his incredible testimony.
This is just one story of the lives that have been changed through the digital initiatives of Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH). Through the Digital Bible Project, the nonprofit organization has developed a software called Bible.is, which makes the Word available in text and audio formats in over 600 languages—and counting—on the ministry’s app and website.
“We think it’s one of the most exciting times to be alive in human history,” explains Troy Carl, the national director of FCBH. “As the Scripture commands in Matthew 24 andMatthew 28, we are to take the gospel to the whole world—to every nation, tribe and tongue. Nothing can do that more effectively than the digital media that’s being developed today.”
In addition to mobile devices, FCBH is using other technologies to reach remote areas of the world. The Proclaimer is a digital player that can reach up to 300 people at once with God’s Word. With a microchip containing the Scriptures in different languages, a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 15 hours, and a built-in generator and solar panel, it has enabled millions to listen to Scriptures. More than 290,000 devices have been distributed, with an average of about 100 people listening at each gathering.
Ricardo, a native of Peru, took over his father’s witchcraft healing practice—until he came in contact with a Proclaimer in his language, Quechua.
“After listening to it for three months with my family and neighbors, I understood that witchcraft was a sin,” he explains. “What it says in the Acts of the Apostles changed my life. It was like a dagger to all my sinful ways.
“Now, I have been born again thanks to God,” Ricardo adds. “People come to me for healing, and I preach the gospel to them. Already, three of the families in my neighborhood have given their lives to Jesus.”
Like FCBH, Bible League International (BLI) is also taking steps to distribute the Word of God on a massive scale via technology. In the past 21 years, the nonprofit organization has trained and equipped more than 2.5 million local believers to lead people to Christ.
When BLI recently teamed up with the Digital Bible Society, the partnership produced a digital chip that gives people in countries where being a Christian is dangerous access to a pool of resources that, in years past, would have filled entire libraries. Today, these assets can be contained on chips smaller than a fingernail—packed with the Jesusfilm, multiple Bibles, Bible study material, illustrations and graphics, songs, and more—or on SD chips, microSD chips, CDs, DVDs, flash drives and hard drives.
“The most significant impact is that in a very short time we are in the process of and will alleviate the shortage of Bibles in the world—and not just Bibles, but discipleship material as well,” says Ken Allen, president of the Digital Bible Society. “Users who would not be able to go down to their local Christian bookstore now have access to materials. It’s becoming increasingly easier for people who have had no Christian resources to have significant resources.”
The two organizations are working on several different chips: a 4-GB chip that includes the resources mentioned; an 8-GB chip for pastors; and a 16-GB and 32-GB chip for church planters.
“We can reach more people exponentially through the use of digital media than just the printed resources,” says a BLI employee who works with program development for the Muslim world. “Whoever receives the chip or DVD has permission to reproduce it as long as it’s not for sale. It allows us to go into countries that are quite restricted.”
Although the chip will not be distributed officially until later this year, a group of former Muslims in Iran are already benefiting from this resource-rich material. A few recipients of the chip have led several of their community members to Christ and have even started a church—which exclusively uses the resources from the chip.
Digital vs. Print?
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