Such is the reality of many unreached people groups across the globe, including the Islamic Yao tribe in Malawi.
Up until 2015, the Bible was unavailable in the tribal language of chiYao, in written or audio format. Today, the whole Bible is ready to be heard through AudiBibles.
In the first seven months of 2016, the OM Malawi team handed out 297 solar-powered AudiBibles. Each recipient of a device is expected to start a weekly listening group, as the Word of God is meant to be shared.
“The AudiBible is a true preacher,” said Fredson Phiri, one of the AudiBible trainers. “It doesn’t add, it doesn’t subtract; it gives the whole truth to the person. It preaches itself.”
Shadrick was working at the OM Malawi base in 2014 when a visiting outreach team shared the word of God with him and it made sense.
“They were preaching, teaching, and sharing with us,” remembered Shadrick. “I was a Christian before, but it was just a religion. I told them I wanted to be a real Christian and was baptised.”
After completing the training himself, Shadrick started an AudiBible listening group in March 2016 with 14 people in a nearby village.
One attendee named Mary* was a Muslim. Her husband was a sheik in the mosque, but she started attending the listening group against his wishes.
“I felt like I was empty,” she said. “I needed more. I needed God to change my life.”
After two months of listening to the AudiBible, she accepted Christ into her heart.
Though Mary continues to go to the mosque so she doesn’t cause problems in the community, she strongly desires to go to church.
“She’s making changes little by little, but can’t switch all at once,” said Shadrick, which is advisable in her area where culture and religion are closely intertwined.
Suwedi is a village 11 kilometres from the OM base in Ntaja where OM is doing Foundations for Farming (FFF) training. The community quickly got involved in the project; immediately putting into practice what they were taught each week.
As FFF is a course taught using the Bible, one participant remarked that the village didn’t understand the Bible; was it possible that they could have a training?
This was a first for a Muslim community to request Bible training.
Twenty AudiBibles were distributed in the village in May 2016 and the team will soon follow up to see how the listening groups are progressing. Already they have heard stories of how the AudiBibles have impacted the village.
“One of the guys who did the training let his son join the church,” said Fredson. “His son had a dream where someone called him saying ‘you need to come’ and showed him a church. I asked ‘what do you think of your son going to church?’ He said ‘it’s his choice, I can’t make the choice for him.’ So I said ‘even you, it’s your choice whether you choose Jesus or not.’ He replied that he needed to think about it. Some day I think this man will become a Christian.”
Friends of OM, Carson, and Petunia had already established Bible studies in different communities before they began distributing AudiBibles within the groups. They have seen how people value the devices and how important the word of God is to them.
“There’s one lady who we gave an AudiBible and she always charged it outside in the sun in this one spot,” said Petunia. “One time she set it out and when she went back the AudiBible was not there. She was devastated. She decided she was not going to eat or do anything till God brought back the AudiBible. She prayed for three days. Three days later, the person who had taken the AudiBible came back and said ‘I can’t have this thing, it’s given me no peace.’ The fact that she had so much faith to actually pray for her AudiBible to come back I had not seen before. We always hear ‘oh My Bible got stolen,’ or this happened to it. But this lady was like ‘God, you cannot take this away from me.’ The word of God was a real treasure for her.”
Praise God that the Yaos are able to hear the Word of God in their own language! Pray for the continued growth of the listening groups and that people will hear and believe.
Credit: Rebecca Rempel · © 2017 OM International