They are small and unassuming to look at, but pack a powerful message that can change lives!
Proclaimers – not the well-known Scottish band, but solar-powered digital audio players – are bringing the word of God to oral-based communities, and lives are being transformed as people hear the good news of Jesus in the language that speaks to them best. Nowhere more so than among the Koma* people of Ghana, who speak the Konni language.
Take Sibiri Awa.
Sibiri is a young Koma woman. She married into a different ethnic group (the Sisala) and moved away from her community. However, recently she returned to the Koma village of Yikpabongo to attend a funeral of a relative. While there, she listened to a Proclaimer that one of her relatives had.
Sibiri had never seen a Proclaimer before, but over the next few days, she became engrossed as she heard in her own Konni language the message about Jesus being the Son of God and the way to heaven. It was a life-changing moment – not only has Sibiri come to faith, but she is growing in that faith. As Sibiri says:
‘Now that I am hearing the word of God in my own language, I cannot be misled by any new or strange teachings that are contrary to the word of God.’
The importance of having the recorded word of God in oral-based communities – particularly in remote locations – cannot be overemphasised. Digital players like Proclaimers are the perfect tool for reaching hundreds of such communities. They use modern solar technology and are highly durable, having been built to last in harsh climates and rough conditions. Proclaimers come preloaded with audio Bible recordings (usually the New Testament) in over 800 languages. The Koma New Testament, which was completed in 2006, is one of those New Testaments. Ongoing translation work on the Old Testament, along with literacy and Scripture engagement efforts, are being supported by Wycliffe.
Konlon Kpeebi, who heads up the Koma translation team, says: ‘Because the Koma are an oral people with very few of them able to read and write, Proclaimers are the most effective way of evangelising them. We usually give the Proclaimers to responsible individuals, who are encouraged to form listening groups or play them in their compounds. While we continue to work in Bible translation and literacy, the Proclaimers are currently the best way of ensuring the word of God has the impact we hope for. We are thankful to Wycliffe and its supporters for their assistance and prayers, which are helping us in the translation work and as we purchase and distribute the Proclaimers.’
That impact is reflected in Sibiri’s story – and in Bavayima’s too.
Back in the 1980s, Bavayima was among the first people to accept Christ when the good news of Jesus was preached to the Koma (not in Konni, of course, as there was no Scripture in Konni then). However, over time her faith dwindled and she stopped going to church.
Then, recently, while listening to a Proclaimer with some of her group in their courtyard, she heard Jesus saying in her own language that in the world to come, ‘The last shall be first and first last. For many are called but few are chosen.’ (Matthew 20:16)
It was as though Jesus was talking to her directly. As a result, Bavayima rededicated her life to Christ and is faithfully attending the Bible Church of Africa in her village.
‘It has increased my faith in Christ. I pray every day and my prayer is that I should not backslide again but live a consistent Christian life.’
Lives changed – via a small but clever device that allows people to hear the word of God in the language and form that speaks to them best.
Play your part in prayer
Join with the supporters across the world who are praying for the Koma people:
- Pray for Sibiri, now that she has returned to her marital home. Pray that her faith remains strong and that she can lead others to Jesus in her Sisala community.
- Pray that Bavayima remains strong in her faith, and can draw many others to Jesus through her words and life.
- Pray that the word of God in Konni will continue to be spread throughout the Koma community, and many will have transforming experiences as they hear Jesus speak to them in their own language.
- Pray for the Koma translation team, as they continue to work on translating the Old Testament. (For more visit the Koma Project page.)