A huge part of the Bible Society work is translating, producing and distributing God’s Word. However, it doesn’t end there; Bible Societies also provide ways for people to engage with the Bible. But how can they engage with the Bible and make it a part of their daily lives if they can’t read?
Through literacy and listening programs, this is possible. The Canadian Bible Society (CBS) currently works with the Bible Societies in Bangladesh, Haiti, Niger, and Pakistan in helping to unfold the message of the Bible by teaching people to read or by providing tools for people to hear God’s Word in their language.
Haiti: Scriptures for New Readers
According to the latest World Atlas report, with an illiteracy rate of 48%, Haiti ranks 12th among 25 countries with the highest rate of illiteracy around the world. The Haitian Bible Society has seen the need to help illiterate people in the country to learn how to read, so that they will be able to engage with the Bible. In partnership with Alfalit International and many local churches, the Bible Society has initiated literacy classes where people learn how to read and receive the Word of God. Every person who completes the program is given a copy of the New Testament. In 2016, 8,000 people completed the literacy program with Alfalit International.
Pakistan: Beacon in the Darkness of Illiteracy
Pakistan has one of the world’s lowest literacy rates among women. Today, three out of five Pakistani women are still illiterate. Sadly, only 15-20% of girls in rural areas are given the opportunity to go to school. Most are married by the age of 16.
That is why CBS has been working with the Pakistan Bible Society to give thousands of women the chance to gain life-changing literacy skills through the program, Beacon in the Darkness of Illiteracy. These classes help women read the Bible for themselves: a skill that allows them to stand firm in their faith and pass it on to their families. In these classes, women are also empowered to bring positive change into their communities.
Listening programs in Bangladesh and Niger
In some parts of the world, Bible engagement is carried out through group listening programs. This is effective particularly in rural areas of Bangladesh and Niger. Through the Bible Societies’ partnership with Faith Comes By Hearing, the Bible is heard in people’s heart languages through a device called Proclaimer. God’s Word is powerful and those who hear are convicted, strengthened, and can experience a more meaningful spiritual walk.
As one man from Niger testifies, “My spiritual life has been transformed from the time I started listening to the Word through the Proclaimer. Before, it was very hard for me to forgive people who offend me, even if they ask for forgiveness. Now it is completely different. I am able to forgive; my relationship with other people has completely changed.”
Helping people engage with the Bible through literacy and listening programs is a gift with life-changing benefits. Here’s what your gift can do:
- $12 will provide 6 New Testaments to students who complete the literacy program with Alfalit International in Haiti.
- $70 will provide a Proclaimer for one listening group in Niger and Bangladesh.
- $120 will provide 24 New Testaments for literacy classes in Pakistan.