Spending time in God’s Word, discovering passages that speak to your situation, learning from the instruction given through Scripture—all are important for spiritual growth as a follower of Jesus. But what if you can’t read?
Like many women of their generation, Chenai (age 78) and Sekesai (age 80) were not sent to school due to a prevailing cultural belief that saw parents prioritize education for the boy child only. Chenai and Sekesai were victims of this practice, and all their lives they have had to make do without the critical skills of reading or writing for themselves.
“Women of our time were all housewives. We did not worry about the need to read or write for our place was in the home,” recalls Chenai. The same was corroborated by Sekesai; however, she was quick to add that she wished she was “able to read the Bible after becoming a Jesus follower.”
“Sometimes our pastor gave Bibles to people, and even though I was a member of the church for over 20 years, I was never considered simply because I can’t read,” she said with a hint of sadness in her voice.
Sekesai and Chenai were finally remembered when their pastor obtained audio Bibles from OM in Zimbabwe to give to the functionally illiterate and the blind in the church.
“I have been in the church for over 30 years. I felt honored and worthy when the pastor called my name to give me the audio Bible,” said a cheerful Chenai.
Church leader, Pastor Israel Fernando, under whom Chenai and Sekesai fellowship, said audio Bibles were a helpful tool that would aid with the discipleship process in his church. “Discipleship is difficult if you as the pastor must read, interpret and instruct instead of someone discovering truths and asking questions. Thus, someone can be in the church for 30 or more years and yet remain an infant in their faith,” said Pastor Israel.
He added that the audio Bible would revolutionize his church, especially in rural areas where a lot of the poor and uneducated live.
“Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. The audio Bible will assist in church growth by improving the faith of the blind, the functionally illiterate and the elderly who cannot read or struggle with small print Bibles due to eyesight issues.”
OM intends to reduce Bible poverty in Zimbabwe by helping provide printed Bibles and audio Bibles to marginalized people. The team hopes efforts such as these will improve Bible literacy and breathe life into the church in Zimbabwe.