New digital Talking Bibles head to Africa


ESCONDIDO, Calif. — One thousand Talking Bibles, using new digital technology, have been sent to Malawi, marking the first time the ministry has made the digital ministry tools available to Africa.

The Chichewa First Audio Bibles were unveiled Sept. 2 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre during a dedication service organized by the Bible Society of Malawi. The nation's chief justice, Leonard Unyolo, was the guest of honor at the dedication, which was also attended by Paul Hoekstra, vice president of Talking Bibles International.

The concept of the single-voice recordings of the Bible was inspired by Dr. Harvey T. Hoekstra, a missionary and Bible translator who realized the ever-increasing language translations were of little use in vast regions of the world where native peoples could not read. In fact, according to Hoekstra, about half of the world's population cannot read or are from oral cultures.

His ministry was launched informally in 1967 where he began making audio recordings for nonreaders. A decade later, the ministry became more formal when Hoekstra started the Escondido-based Audio Scriptures International to produce, distribute and preserve audio Scriptures in as many languages as possible.

Following in the passion of his father, Hoekstra's son, Mark, created the Talking Bible, described as a self-contained listening device created to look like a printed Bible. Each book contains a translation of the New Testament. All the listener needs to do is push a button to hear the Scriptures.

To help place evangelism tools developed by his brother into the hands of millions, Paul Hoekstra formed the Adopt-a-Village ministry in 1998. Within a few years Adopt-A-Village was responsible for the placement of Bible listening kits in nearly 20,000 villages in India alone.

After combining Adopt-a-Village and Audio Scriptures International into one ministry, the non-profit was renamed Talking Bibles International.

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