Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti Receives Audio Bibles as Aid


There is this article on about a faith based organization called Faith Comes by Hearing that is sending solar powered audio Bibles to Haiti. This device called the “Proclaimer” is basically a small boom box that has enough volume to broadcast the audio to up to 300 listeners close by.

The boom box “was developed primarily as a playback device for poor and illiterate people who may not have any other source to hear God's Word.”


My friend Shereen Meraji of All Tech Considered put me onto this article. We both had a bit of an unsettled feeling about it.

When I spent time in Brazil some years ago I heard horrible stories of Christian missionaries who ransacked and destroyed non-Christian places of worship. I am also reminded of the strange history of how Christianity has spread across the globe. In some ways it has been very painful and tragic, and in other ways it has been life affirming and healing.

The poor and illiterate comment also struck a cord with me. As I read this my immediate take was that it was condescending at best…

But then I took a step back and tried to see it from another perspective.

Does this organization have a valid purpose here?

We all know by now that Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. That is not a mystery.

But I wanted to see what the literacy rates are. Per UNICEF the adult literacy rate is only 62%...
That’s brutal.

This device made sense from a practical standpoint even before the earthquake.

Then I thought about all of the starving and homeless people there now. Wouldn’t it be better to send food, water or money to help provide temporary shelter? Why the audio Bibles? Is this an opportunistic move in a desperate time?

As I was discussing these things with Shereen and others the first thought that came to mind was “what good is food and shelter if you have lost all faith, hope, and will to carry on?”

Another valid point.

And now I get what this group is doing. While others have the means to provide food, water and shelter; this group has the means to send what they believe to be spiritual food and comfort in the form of a Bible that can be experienced by anyone within ear shot for free.

So yes, we may or may not have our own personal baggage when we think of missionary work; but, if we allow ourselves to take a step back and look at this from another angle, this act seems like a wonderful and heartfelt expression of love from a community of people that believe the Bible can work miracles.

Even restore the hopes of a shattered nation.

I know that the Bible has helped me through my tough times. Perhaps it will do the same for some of our brothers and sisters in Haiti within earshot of its words.

What do you think?

And yes... the Bible are going along with food and medical aid...

Check out Shereen’s interview with John Wilke of Faith Comes by Hearing.


  1. You know, everybody has a different gifting and calling. There are so many ways to help (in this situation and others), we should be holistic in our thinking. Some like children, others like schools, some like helping those internationally, some like religious/spiritual based things. The point is that we need it all - all of it. So, while food and medical aid is so critical right now from a physical sense, equally as critical from a spiritual sense, is the Word - and our obligation to share it, regardless of situation. There's room for it all at the table of walking our talk.


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