International (MNN) — Imagine having an audio book in over 700 languages. More than 5.5 billion people worldwide could listen to that book and understand it.
That's why Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) is celebrating today.
"Believe it or not, that represents three-quarters of the world's population that now have God's Word available to them," says FCBH's Bill Lohr. That's a big step toward getting Scripture to every person on earth.
"It really is our over-arching goal to get the Great Commission completed [so] everyone can hear the Gospel."
Lohr says the goal originated with FCBH's founder and president, Jerry Jackson, and worked its way into every aspect of the ministry.
"That's his vision: that we will get to a point where we have God's Word translated and then recorded in enough languages where we can ask the Lord, 'Is this enough? Does this meet the Great Commission requirements?'"
FCBH recently added nine Audio New Testament recordings to their catalog, bringing the total to 703 languages. When combined, the new releases represent over 1.1 million people who now have God's Word in audio available in their heart language.
"Whether it be through resources, technology, our talented and dedicated staff, or ministry partners from all over the world: God's provision has made this day a reality," says Jackson.
The new language releases are: Agutaynen (Philippines); Aruamu (Papua New Guinea); Belize Kriol (Belize); Carapana (Brazil/Colombia); Jola-Fogny (The Gambia); Matsigenka (Peru); Moba Lok (Togo); Quechua Eastern Apurimac (Peru); and Shilluk (South Sudan).
Jola-Fogny is the largest of these language groups, spoken by over 400,000 people primarily in The Gambia. The smallest is Carapana, with 650 speakers.
"People think that there's gotta be thousands or millions of people that speak a language for that to be significant, or for it to be translated or recorded," explains Lohr. But FCBH tags importance to every language group, even the tiny Carapana.
"There is no such thing, really, as a people group that's too small."
He says they have an agreement with translation partners like Wycliffe Bible Translators and The Seed Company.
"Our agreement is, if you translate it, we will record it," states Lohr.
FCBH makes their audio Scriptures available online and on mobile devices. They also have solar-powered devices called Proclaimers for rural areas. Collectively known as the Digital Bible Platform, FCBH offers free access to a substantial resource of digital Bible text, audio and video.
How can you support their work? First of all, pray.
"We always ask for your prayer, because some of these countries are not the easiest to work in," says Lohr. "They're very hostile to the work that's going on, and your prayer is needed to keep those people safe."
Lohr says, "That's really the gas that drives the bus…maybe you can't go to another country and help in a recording or help with translating work, but you can do your part by helping support those who are doing that."
According to Lohr, partnerships play a key role in completing the Great Commission.
"It's bringing the Body of Christ together," he states. "We all have our different parts. We all can't be legs, we all can't be hands, [and] we all can't be eyes.
"It's collectively the Body of Christ. So when 1000 people are giving $5 a month, that's $5000 that's going to God's Word."
Ask the Lord what your function is.
"Find your part, come together, and work with us as the Body of Christ."