India (MNN) — A God-sized problem in need of a God-sized solution. That’s what Audio Scripture Ministries (ASM) was facing this year when their staff sat down and dared to ask the question: How many audio Bibles could they distribute if they weren’t limited by finances?
Last year, ASM was able to give out 5,000 audio Bibles. It was the best year they’ve had in terms of distributions, and something worth celebrating! Each audio Bible often serves anywhere from ten to 100 individuals.
But still, it always seems like there is never enough.
ASM’s JP Sundararajan shares, “Every distribution I’ve done, I have oftentimes walked out of the distribution hall and looked into the eyes of people who ask, ‘Do you have any more of those audio Bibles?’ And for a long time it was devastating to look at them and say, ‘We don’t have any more. Please pray that God will provide, and the next time we’re here, maybe you’ll get your own audio Bible.’ I’ve had this conversation way too often.”
This year, the ASM staff decided that if resources weren’t an issue, they would be able to import and give out 25,000 audio Bibles — a daunting leap from their record of 5,000 last year.
The staggering number seemed like an impossible goal; something worthy of the interesting ‘what-if’ considerations, but not something achievable in reality.
“We’ve just never been able to really even make a dent in terms of how many people have asked us for Bibles and how few we actually have to distribute,” says Sundararajan. “One of the toughest parts of my job is that I have the job of having to ration out God’s Word. Every time we get a stock of audio Bibles, we have to decide how many do the blind get this time, how many do people with leprosy get this time, etc.”
Audio Scripture Ministries embraced the challenge of 25,000 audio Bibles, and their work began.
“This year, we came back, and I had been sharing that number with a few people in churches, etc. And there was always a few question marks and raised eyebrows when I mentioned what we did last year and what we hope to do this year, and people would say, ‘Wouldn’t it be more prudent to maybe think about 6,000 audio Bibles instead of 25,000?’ And I always said, ‘Well, this is a God-sized problem which kind of demands a God-sized solution. So let’s stick with it and see what happens.’”
There are moments in a ministry’s lifetime where something happens that was so clearly God’s hand at work, so obviously the Holy Spirit’s movement, that it strikes you with the power and providence of God’s plan.
Audio Scripture Ministries encountered one of those moments.
“Over April, just after the Easter weekend, I got a call from a ministry based in Atlanta that had just done a distribution in Israel-Palestine and were looking to make inroads into India. Our organization and my name had come up in their conversation, and so we began this process.
“They said, ‘We would like to do work with you in India. How many audio Bibles do you need?’ So I told them from my heart what my hopes were for WCOI and ASM in India, and it took a day and they said, ‘Well, as long as our budget allows for it, we would like to provide as many audio Bibles as you can handle.’
“So right now, we’re on track to get 25,000 audio Bibles that we hope to distribute throughout different parts of India! And it’s really been a wonderful testament to God’s provision and also I think for me it was a lesson in learning to trust God. It was definitely a God-sized problem and God came through in a wonderful way.”
These audio Bibles go, not just to those who can’t read or write, but also people in oral communities, the visually impaired, individuals with leprosy, and children.
As God continues to move ASM’s ministry forward and open doors for the spread of the Gospel, Sundararajan hopes to see this initiative expand.
“It’s not the ‘25,000 and then we’re done’ kind of a deal. We hope to do this every year. Again, we don’t know how, we are trusting God to provide continually. But again, our focus always has been making sure God’s Word is in people’s heart languages and the work of the Holy Spirit will continue to transform lives and communities. And we will be there to be the hands that provide these audio Bibles, be we also want to be there to hear stories of what God’s Word has done in these communities.”
Phase one for the distributions will begin in September. It’s going to be a major shift in the workload for their ministry team, and they could use your prayers.
“As we scale up our distributions and our connections and contacts, we would really appreciate prayers as we handle the logistics [and] imports of these audio Bibles from all over the world. And we hope that even as we do more and more distributions, that we would not compromise the integrity of how we’ve done ministry.”
If you’d also like to come alongside ASM and support their 25,000 audio Bibles initiative, you can visit them at their website.
“Each of these audio Bibles represents at least one story of amazing transformation,” Sundararajan reflects, “and I can only imagine what 25,000 audio Bibles can do in a place like India.”