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liffe Africa

Words and photo by Heather Pubols

Yonathan Zeamanuel explains to the Guji-Oromo team how to use Proclaimers* in listening group Bible studies. Yonathan and his wife, Tizita Zenebe (sitting to the right of him), are Wycliffe Africa members who are working to promote the use of Scriptures in the minority languages of Ethiopia.

*Faith Comes By Hearing works with language communities to produce dramatized audio Scriptures in local languages. These are played using a device called a Proclaimer. “Listening groups” are small groups that use the proclaimer to study the Bible together.

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By Melissa Chesnut

It was a Friday afternoon. Many of the Krachi villagers—men and women, young and old—were gathered around a tape recorder.

To those who know the Krachi people of Ghana, this would be an unusual scene to observe. As peasant farmers, the Krachi people spend most of their days working in the fields. The days they do not go to the fields are rare: Sundays for the Christians, and special or taboo days that happen once a week. On those days, no one is allowed to work in the fields.

But on this occasion, it was neither a Sunday nor a special or taboo day. The Krachi people had left their fields for something more important—listening to God’s Word.

The tape recorder was playing the Gospel of Mark, an audio version that had recently been completed and distributed among the Krachi people. Setting aside the normal schedule of their daily lives, this group of people had gathered to listen to God’s Word in their language.

As the tape played, a familiar voice was heard. One of their own people had read and voiced the recording of Mark! This was not just some stranger speaking their language for the recording—it was one of them!

Moses Danso was one of the elderly men listening to Mark that afternoon. His life—along with many others—was touched through the use of tape recorders to communicate Scripture.

No Longer A Barrier“I have never been to formal school,” he said. “But I can listen to the Word of God in my own language. Illiteracy can no longer be a barrier to my salvation.”

For those who are unable to read or write their language, these audio recordings are perfect. But many Krachi people are now getting the opportunity to learn how to read and write their own language as well.

Before, the Krachi alphabet had not been developed, so there was no written document for the language. Then a team from the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), a Wycliffe partner organization, helped develop the Krachi alphabet. The team is now providing literacy programs for the Krachi people while they work on the Krachi New Testament translation and additional audio Scripture recordings. So far, they’ve drafted 90 percent of the New Testament, which will soon be checked by translation consultants!

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