USA (MNN) — God’s timing and His providence are perfect. Often times, His blessings require change somewhere in our lives.
For Audio Scripture Ministries, that change is happening Monday as Tom Dudenhofer retires from the position of Executive Director of the organization.
Dudenhofer has served ASM for 14 years, and as he puts it, he’s old enough to retire. More importantly, he says, “It’s obvious that God has put Audio Scripture Ministries in a place of ministry emphasis that will be encouraged along that line by the new man that God has brought to us. So it’s a combination of my decision to step aside and the recognition that God has brought somebody along that’s really going to enhance the ministry.”
The new director will be Jim Loker, a partner of ASM who has served for over 20 years in Oaxaca, Mexico. Dudenhofer highlights his excellent field experience with the people and his work in media production as qualifiers for the position.
Dudenhofer reflects on ASM’s mode of operation saying, “When we put God’s Word in audio for people who don’t read, and people listen to it, God’s Spirit does what God has always promised His Spirit will do, and that is He impacts lives as they hear the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ, as they begin to understand the significance of His death on the cross, His resurrection, as they begin to comprehend what it means to repent, to turn to God, to allow Him to be the Lord of their lives.”
Often times, ASM enters areas where there has been no missions work. They witness multiple lives changed as people listen to the Word in their own language. The organization also strives to strengthen local churches and develop discipleship practices. Often these cultures with few literate people have the advantage of good storytelling, which allows them to carry what they’ve learned to other people.
For audio players to exist in all these languages, ASM has to engage national believers who speak the language. They also must establish contacts and partners, and gain permission to record Scripture. It is hard work that Loker is well acquainted with, and ASM repeatedly sees everything fall into place.
“Jim has a really good background in all of this, being on the field for these years and developing his own ministry team in Oaxaca. We think that he is really God’s man for this particular point in time for Audio Scripture Ministries,” says Dudenhofer.
Dudenhofer grew up in the states in a Christian family, surrounded by all the resources one could possibly need. So the work of ministries like ASM particularly intrigued him.
Dudenhofer explains, “When I heard the stories of how lives were changed when no one was around except an audio Scripture player, it just really encouraged my appreciation of the power of God’s Word. We talk about it all the time, we say we believe it, we have it so readily available around us, and we have so many good teachers and good churches and ways to grow that often I think we underestimate what the power of the message of God’s Word is in the lives of people who are just like you and I except they can’t read and they haven’t been given the benefits that we have.”
Over the years, Dudenhofer has collected stories of God working in the lives of people ministered to by Audio Scripture Ministries.
One time when Dudenhofer was visiting a village in Mozambique, a pastor approached him and asked for 11 Scripture players.
“I was curious, and I took him aside and said, ‘Tell me, why do you need just 11 players?'” The man told Tom that he was in charge of several districts and the area had lost 11 pastors in the last year. The man said, “I think if I could just give each church an audio Scripture player, they would be able to listen to God’s Word and that would carry them on until we could find or train another pastor for that church.”
Dudenhofer was amazed at the man’s faith and respect for God’s Word. He trusted in it, believing it to be powerful enough to hold a congregation together in the short term, in lieu of a pastor.
Another story Dudenhofer shares is a commonly-heard story around the world: not the same instance, but a repeated occurrence.
Another man in Mozambique listened to his Scripture player as he worked in the field, tying it around his neck to hear the Good News. A stranger from a remote village approached him, and upon hearing the Scriptures, he said, “We need that. My village needs that.” The stranger was not a believer, but he at last convinced the man to give the Scripture player to him.
Nothing was heard from the village for several months.
A year later, an ASM missionary visited the area. He was approached by the same man of the remote village. Over the previous year, 20 people listened to the audio Scripture every day. They all decided they wanted to follow Jesus and needed guidance.
“What thrilled me was, without actually knowing the right terminology or what they were talking about, he described a group of people who had trusted in Jesus Christ, who had begun to gather as a body of believers and actually formed a church, and now they were looking for teaching to help them grow in their walk with the Lord just because they had God’s Word in audio.”
Dudenhofer asks that you do everything you can to support the work ASM is doing. God is opening doors for them all around the world. “The opportunities are just exploding, “he says. “It’s just a wonderful time in the ministry of Audio Scripture Ministries, and God is just obviously blessing and opening doors for the future.” If you would like to be a part of this, click here.
As for the Dudenhofer’s future, you can be praying there as well. He says, “My wife and I are going to transition to a different phase in our lives.”
That includes their involvement with a local church. Dudenhofer also has the chance to minister to a group of Nepali Bhutanese immigrants that are starting their own church here in the states.
“We’re just normal people that are going to have a change in schedule, and we just want God to use us wherever He happens to lead us,” he says.