South Africa (MNN) — South Africa is not called the "rainbow nation" for nothing.
The nation has 11 official languages, and scores of unofficial ones. While English is the most common trade language, it ranks fifth as spoken home language.
It also means that while all 11 languages have had a profound effect on each other, there are some things that are best spoken in the heart language. That's where Faith Comes By Hearing comes in alongside a church partner, Willow Creek Community Church, in South Africa.
Bibles are one of the most requested items from Willow Creek's church partners in South Africa. However, getting the heavy books in the country and out into the remote areas can be cost-prohibitive. Then, getting the right translation can be problematic.
Finally, although the literacy rate in South Africa is well over 85%, in rural communities that's not the case. Many Christians there have never had the opportunity to learn to read, and for some, poor eyesight is a problem. The quickest solution to providing access to Scriptures is through an audio Bible.
Since FCBH has already translated the audio Bible into more than 600 hundred languages, the devices they distribute allow individuals to listen to God's Word recorded in perfectly clear voices. At roughly $100 each, listeners are drawn into a dramatized telling of the God's story, as written in each book of the Bible.
The audio Bibles are powered by three different methods: electricity, solar power, and manual wind-up, making them the ideal Bible in any environment.
Willow recently delivered four audio Bibles to the Genesis Care Center, a holistic church partner in Port Shepstone, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. The facility cares for stroke survivors, HIV/AIDS patients, and individuals with TB and cancer.
Patients at the Center receive medical, physical, spiritual, and emotional care 24 hours per day. Using the audio Bibles, the nursing staff encourage patients to sit outside in the early winter sunshine and listen to the "Word" spoken in their own language, IsiZulu.
Something about the interaction with Scripture provides hope and strength to the patients. While there's no direct correlation between recovery and the audio Bibles, roughly 48% of the patients recover enough to go home, giving new meaning to the power of the "Spoken Word."
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