How do missionaries encourage the study of God’s Word in a nation where nearly one out of every four individuals 15 years or older cannot read or write? Such is the situation in the Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia.¹ But thanks to interested donors and organizations like JESUS Film Harvest Partners and Kids Reaching Kids, a solution has been found!
In 2013, the Cambodia District was given 34 Papyrus units, an audio Bible player that is solar, AC, and battery powered. These initial units, loaded with one of three different local languages, were deployed to new believers who could not read. These durable units have been used in a variety of settings from personal Bible studies to Sunday School classes to a group of farmers taking their lunch break under a tree at the edge of the field! These audio Bibles have been used to open up many conversations about Jesus, and as a result, people have come to Faith in Jesus Christ.
Then at the end of 2015, a generous grant from Kids Reaching Kids allowed for the purchase of 80 new audio Bibles for distribution in Cambodia, and another 73 units arrived in January 2016.
Of the 40 Nazarene churches in Cambodia, all but one are in rural areas. Given the national literacy statistics, this would indicate that a significant number of the people in these areas cannot read or write. So during the recent 2016 District Assembly, two to three Papyrus units were given to each church, along with training in how to effectively use and care for the unit.
Although it is difficult to obtain accurate statistics regarding the number of people who have become followers of Jesus through this ongoing initiative, enough stories are filtering back to confirm that the Spirit is using these devices in powerful ways!
- One pastor gave the Papyrus to a young woman in a dysfunctional marriage. The young woman became a believer, and she reports that her husband no longer beats her because of the Word of God he is listening to!
- In another situation, a missionary has been sharing the Papyrus with her friend, who recently said she, too, believes in Jesus!
- Another Papyrus was given to a person attending a Christmas celebration. The pastor felt compelled by the Spirit to give the Papyrus to this woman who was not yet a believer and could not read. She took the Papyrus home, listened to the word, accepted the Lord and has begun a small group in her home!
The Church is growing in Cambodia and the Audio Bible in various formats is one of the tools God’s people are using! When asked if the churches could use more of these units, and if so, how many, the Cambodia District Advisory Board responded, “How many can we get? If you can send us 40 more, we will say ‘Praise the Lord!’ If you can send us 400 more, we say ‘Praise the Lord’! We will use however many units you can send us to spread God’s word!”
Join the effort! Partner with us in spreading God’s word in audio format on the Asia-Pacific Region!
– Debbie Kleinfeld, Nazarene Missionary, Cambodia