Scriptures on audio player prove effective tool to share with other faiths

At a village church in the Kabwa language area, a large group of people have gathered to listen together to the Word of God. But no pastor is preaching; no one reads from a Bible. Instead, they are using audio recordings of Scripture which has been translated into their language, stored on tiny solar-powered mp3 players called MegaVoice.

“Many of them are church leaders from the area,” said Michiel Louter, a Translation Advisor with the Mara Cluster Project in northern Tanzania. “They were involved in ‘listening workshops’ like this about a year ago. This one is a follow-up, so they have opportunity to tell us about their experience with using the audio Scriptures since then.” 

The testimonies share common themes. The players and recordings helped some people to better understand Scripture. “Especially children and older adults,” said Louter, “since they often don’t yet understand Swahili well.” 

Several people also described listening to the Kabwa language recordings at home with their family. The sound attracted neighbours – even those of other major religions – curious to know what they heard the family listening to. This led to discussion about how to reach those neighbours with the Gospel.

“When we start to use these audio Scriptures,” said one participant, “we should believe that it is the words of the Holy Spirit we hear. So, before you switch on the player – pray! And after you’ve listened to a chapter – pray! Then the Holy Spirit can do His work.” 

As the listening workshop continued, people formed smaller groups to listen to and discuss a chapter or story from the Bible. “One group listened to the whole book of Jonah,” said Louter. “Then they talked together about what God teaches us through that story.” 

One man summed up the main point which seemed most clear to them… 

“We shouldn’t say, ‘Those people are so difficult, they are so stubborn, we can’t tell them about the Gospel.’ No, that is our task – to go and tell people. God will see to it that they change.”

This story was written for SIL Tanzania by:

Michiel Louter (Translation Advisor, Mara Region)

SIL International is a global partner among academic and professional organisations which offer language development services. SIL works alongside speakers of more than 1,700 languages in over 100 countries. Active in Tanzania since 1989, the organization makes its services available to all without regard to religious belief, political ideology, gender, race or ethnolinguistic background.