The Message He Carries

By Rachel Greco

God has begun wooing Abi* and Fani*, two Ayri* people in Africa, to himself through his marvelous message of love. Like many others in this region dominated by a major religion, Abi and Fani are hearing about Jesus in a language that speaks to their hearts.

Some Ayri women walking across a field

When the Ayri Oral Bible Translation (OBT) team first asked Abi, who was born into this religion, to join their team and help record Scripture for their oral community, he hesitated. “I found it very difficult to accept the offer because of my faith,” Abi explained. “On the other hand, I told myself that the Bible also contains the Word of God. Why not also try to see the message contained in it?” 

Abi attended the three-week training that Faith Comes by Hearing conducted in partnership with a local African Bible translation organization. JAARS supplied brand new laptops, USB headsets, and speakers with help from people like you giving to Technology Solutions so the training could proceed without technological challenges. 

The Ayri team gathers during the dry season

After the training, the Ayri OBT team returned to the Ayri region and began recording the Gospel of Luke. “That’s when I started to discover who Jesus was, and the message he carries,” Abi recalled. 

Because of Abi’s attachment to this work, some of his friends and community members started calling him “pastor.” Some did so in an attempt to get him to give up the work, others to show the influence the message was having on his life—though such a reminder was not needed. God was beginning to touch Abi through his Word. He even asked one of the pastors on the team for a Bible in French so he could better understand the Scriptures. He wanted to translate them well.

A meeting with Ayri community leaders

Fani, another member of the Ayri OBT team, is the daughter of a religious leader in this religion. She was still a student in high school when she joined the Ayri OBT team with the encouragement of her father. 

Like Abi, when the team asked Fani to join the project, she initially refused because she found the work incompatible with her faith. Fear also grabbed her: “I was afraid of how the members of my community would react. Many might say that I had become a Christian, and I was at risk of persecution.” 

But Fani’s father, mother, and brother encouraged her about the importance of this work and how it could help their language and culture develop into something lasting and rich. So Fani decided to help her people in this way, and now God is implanting his message in her heart. 

“The more we translated,” Fani said, “the more the message was addressed to me personally.” She has watched the film of Luke several times, and the message often strengthens or helps her in practical ways. “There were certain things in my life that were not right. Now I am very careful with my life. And I feel a lot of joy in doing this work, knowing that it will be very beneficial to my people and myself.” 

The Lord is also already sowing the seeds of his Word more widely into the Ayri people’s hearts. When a team member presented the recordings to a group of Ayri students, they enjoyed the recordings so much they asked to take part in a community check session of future recordings. 

The Ayri team, in partnership with the local Bible translation organization, has also initiated a training program to teach church leaders how to organize groups to listen to the Word of God. The groups can arrange tea meetings where they listen to a Bible passage on audio—in French or Ayri. At the end, people become familiar with the Bible stories and respond to the questions supplied to generate discussions. Some churches have already started meeting. 

To read more about the Ayri, click here and here. Praise the Lord for how he is bringing his message of love and hope to the Ayri people! 

Pray with us that the Lord will bring Abi and Fani to himself as well as many others through the gospel message. 

*Name changed for security reasons