India (MNN) — Nestled in the corner of northeast India, the Nyishi tribe lives in remote seclusion. With no roads and infrastructure, it can take up to a full day’s walk to reach the Nyishi people.
Besides living in seclusion, the Nyishi people have also been cut off from hearing the hope of the Gospel. Scripture was recorded in the Nyishi language nearly 12 years ago, but with bulky cassette technology and the rough terrain, God’s Word still was not able to reach them. So the Nyishi tribe continued to exist for over a decade in physical and spiritual isolation.
However, all that changed at the start of this year.
JP Sundararajan with Audio Scripture Ministries says, “Earlier this year in January, we were able to go into the Nyishi community. They had a big convention and we distributed about 150 of our digital solar-powered audio Bibles which were immediately a big hit mostly because the people who were part of the recording process had never heard their own voices.”
An elderly Nyishi gentleman named Chira Kama is rumored to be over 100 years old. One pastor had his own audio Bible and wanted to show it to Chira and demonstrate what it could do.
“But as soon as he showed the man the Bible and showed him how to operate it, the old man refused to give the Bible back to the pastor! No matter how much the pastor begged and pleaded, Chira just said, ‘No, this is for me.’ The pastor said, ‘I’ll get you your own Bible,’ and he said, ‘Well, when you get me my own Bible, you can have yours back,’” Sundararajan shares with a chuckle.
“So the pastor a couple of days later went back and gave this gentleman his own Bible, after which he got his own Bible back, which is really funny in many ways but also speaks to the thirst and the need for God’s Word in these communities.”
ASM recently received a little video clip of Chira listening to God’s Word on his very own audio Bible.
“What’s beautiful about this…is you can see him playing Scripture in the Nyishi language, but you see him reciting Scripture along with it. They told us he has been listening to the Bible nonstop. He only turns it off when he has to charge the unit. But otherwise, it plays day-in and day-out, night and day he just listens to it constantly and he has now begun to memorize chunks of Scripture.”
Reading stories like Chira’s gets you thinking… do I value my copy of God’s Word like that?
“We hear stories like this all the time. I think I have 100 Bibles in my house. I’m not exaggerating! Maybe more. And I sometimes forget just how precious this commodity is for a lot of people in the world that just do not have access to Scripture.
“It challenges me to maybe look at Scripture a little differently, to maybe sacrifice a little bit of my own time to listen to God’s Word which we access to freely and so easily, and yet because of that ease in which we access it, I think we sometimes take it for granted.”
Sundararajan reflects, “That’s my hope as listeners hear this story. That it’s not so much, ‘Hey, we need more Bibles. We need more funding,’ but more of a, ‘What could God’s Word do here?’ I mean, we are seeing tremendous fruit happen in these parts of the world and if one little audio Bible can transform communities there, what could it do in our own communities?”
In addition to the 150 audio Bibles distributed in January, ASM recently gave out another 150 Nyishi audio Bibles. The ministry hopes to get another 1,000 audio Bibles distributed in the next few months.
“Please be praying for that, both for the audio Bibles that we need to get into those parts but also as I mentioned the logistics of getting these audio Bibles in this difficult terrain can be problematic and challenging. So pray also that the roadblocks that we see and we don’t see yet would be negotiated well in advance and that God’s Word could go freely into this community that so badly wants it.”