Pocket Bible School For Arab World
January 19, 2010
Media players go everywhere. Pocket-size MP-3 versions can be carried into the fields and desserts of Arabia, even on the backs of camels.
Modern technology is speaking the gospel and teaching the Word of God to oral cultures in the Middle East. Media players have become much more than entertainment toys. Indigenous missionaries are creating programs for these hand-held devices.
Low-cost MP3 player containing Arabic language recordings of the New Testament, known as the Injil, are being given to Muslim Bible students. Indigenous missionaries assisted by Christian Aid are using this simple tool to proclaim the good news and train missionary volunteers throughout the Middle East.
With the help of Christian Aid supporters in the USA, four more professional studio recordings are scheduled for production in 2010. These recordings teach the Bible, contain much needed commentaries and play culturally-sensitive music.
Music and stories, not books, are the key to Arab hearts. Tools are needed to adapt to oral cultures.
Indigenous missionaries working in the Middle East have to know their subject well and be superb story tellers who can articulate fluently. Arabic speaking peoples are actually a very vocal bunch. In fact, 98% of all Arabic speakers (about 450 million of them) rely on spoken rather than written language to communicate. Oral traditions have been passed down through generations. For example, listening to and memorizing passages from the Koran is the traditional method of religious education. And this method still dominates today.
Few girls finish school and millions of women are illiterate. Media players can be used to reach them with the gospel.
Unfortunately, most ministries in Arabic speaking countries are still tied to printed literature. But indigenous missionaries are revolutionizing training of the next generation of Christians. Costing less than $50, more tools like the MP3 player are crucial for expanding this method of teaching.
A ministry leader in the Middle East told Christian Aid, "There are some areas where reading and writing are never taught. Nomadic life styles and the remoteness of some villages preclude formal education."
Even so, there are some people who are able to read, but just don’t. For them, reading is a real chore due to poor eyesight, lack of time and poor lighting that runs on expensive batteries.
Each of these Bible program recordings is also broadcast over FM, medium wave, shortwave, satellite, and internet radio.
Indigenous missionaries are grateful for the provision of these units as well as the underwriting which Christian Aid provides to cover studio costs.
"Please share our joy over the lives that are being transformed!" says one native missionary. "We could not have done this on our own. Thank you for your partnership and support -- together we are making an eternal impact," he concluded.