AUDIO BIBLE TEACHERS FOR ORAL-INTAKE PRISONERS
Many African prisoners are eager to use their idle time to study God’s word to get to know Him better, but most prisons in Africa are rarely visited to preach God’s Word. This is often caused by a despising of “criminals”, but also due to lack of resources to travel. There is always a great demand for bibles, yet 70% of inmates cannot read well enough or at all, to be helped with a printed bible. Lack of usefulness makes printed Bibles often ripped apart to roll cigarettes with any available herb, or for hygiene by lack of other paper. For most inmates the world of God opens up for the first time ever when they hear the Word. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing (with the heart) by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
Our Audio Bible Teacher, ABT for short, by inmates also called a “Talking Bible”, allows inmates to hear the Word of God for the first time and study it. Men can listen in small fellowship groups, encouraging each other in their faith.
Before distributing these Talking Bibles in the prisons we give three-day seminars to create a desire to come closer to God and create a deeper commitment to study His Word. It is at the end of such seminars that we often baptize large numbers of inmates. We also need to evaluate how we can best leave ABT-s in good hands for supervision and security. Sometimes that is a chaplain who is excited about our program, sometimes it is a local pastor or lay-worker who wants to manage and supervise this program together with a prison official. We program these players with audio bibles and teachings in the local languages for use in fellowship groups.
An excellent source for our Audio Bible Teacher players is Davar Partners International. You can visit DAVAR at www.davarpartners.com. This group has set as its goal to make the entire bible available by the year 2035 in the heart languages of the 70% of the world’s population that cannot read, that receives only through hearing. Their Audibible™ is designed so that it cannot be re-programmed for other purposes than providing oral Bibles and related materials, and is programmable only by the issuing organization. The units have a solar panel built in to recharge the battery so that the players can be used where no electric power is available.
The units with their content are never sold for profit; we occasionally sell them however outside of prisons for $15.00 though the cost price of the hardware is about $25.00; thus the buyer may put greater value in his Talking Bible. In prisons they are of course only brought for free.
Inmate Jane from Zambia wrote: “I have loved the Audio Bible Radio because it has helped me to understand the Bible, since it is difficult to read the Bible page by page. But as for the Audio Bible, I can listen to it though hearing the voice, and where I am not clear, I usually rewind so that I can understand more.”
Chaplain from a Malawi prison wrote: “Pastor, the introduction of those audio bibles to the prison has done many advantages to the prisoners: The good understanding of bible since the other chapters are in our local language to those illiterate benefits. The introduction of bible study groups for bible discussion. The machines have user friendly features, solar power / quick search of chapter, just to mention a few that doesn’t require much effort. Praise songs, and many more that were not there before the audio bibles.”
Inmate leader in a Zambia jail wrote: “We would like to say thank you for issuing these bibles to us, especially with the visually impaired who really benefitted and still benefitting in studying the word of God. To others, especially those who do not know how to read and write. It has been wonderful, and we pray that this ministry should continue and be extended to many lives. It is unfortunate that many of the Audio Bibles have been lost and some taken away. And its our prayer that this ministry should not die but continue.”
Cel 1 of Bvumbwe juvenile prison wrote:
This Word of God when it came, it helped us in the lives of so many people. A lot of people have heard this gospel and have been changed. This is how we use this Word:
• During bible study before we read the Word to teach, we start by listening.
• On the day of prayer before we preach or read the verse to preach we listen first.
• And also every morning before we wake up we have prayer, and before we pray we listen first.
When we talk about this Word a lot of people tell us that it is changing their lives and they come to borrow, and when they listen to the Word they come with questions, and we explain to them and they get to understand and it changes their lives, and also our lives.
I can tell you that when we get out do not throw stones on us but welcome us with open arms and believe what I am saying that we are really changed, in the name of Jesus we are changed. Our walk, our talk and our behavior are changed and we are children of God. What remains is to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to be confirmed that we are His. Amen