Healing and Heeding God’s Word
A vibrant Bible partnership is inspiring Rwandans to love their neighbors in remarkable ways.
At first glance, there’s nothing special about Rugero Gaudance’s house in Rwanda’s Southern Province. Perched on a mountainside, the blind widow’s one-room home is comprised of four walls caked with mud and small, reddish stones. The roof is a sheet of metal slung across wooden beams.
But as Rugero hobbles around her humble abode, she knows that her house is anything but ordinary. In fact, it’s nothing short of a miracle: Rugero’s house was built by the Bible.
It all started when a Scripture listening group began to meet in Rugero’s village. As her neighbors huddled around a Proclaimer®, a small, black audio Bible, God’s Word came alive. With the teachings of Jesus ringing in their ears, Rugero’s friends decided to build a house for their vulnerable neighbor, who had no home of her own.
God Speaks to His People
Although Rugero’s story is extraordinary, it’s not unique. In Rwanda, thanks to support from American Bible Society’s financial partners, God’s Word is inspiring people in Audio Scripture listening groups to serve their neighbors and families in powerful ways.
This spiritual transformation stems from the End-to-End partnership, which helps people in hard-to-reach places engage with God’s Word through screenings of the JESUS film, Faith Comes By Hearing® Audio Scripture listening groups, and Bible reading groups. In Rwanda, the Scripture listening groups are especially effective.
“It’s not a secret—we have a lot of people who don’t know how to write and read,” says Father Fidel Mutabazi, a priest in Rwanda’s Mushishiro parish. “But they need to hear the Word of God.”
Scripture listening groups meet this great need by making God’s Word easily accessible for non-readers.
Here’s how they work.
Participants gather regularly around a solar-powered Proclaimer®. First, the group listens to a chapter of Scripture. Then they listen to it again. Finally, with the guidance of a leader, they ask questions and discuss what they’ve learned together.
To the casual observer, this routine might seem unremarkable. And that’s the point: Scripture listening groups provide an ordinary method of Bible study for people who would otherwise be cut off from the power of God’s Word.
But this ordinary method of Scripture engagement is producing extraordinary results throughout Rwanda.
A Living Faith
“Before I heard the Word of God, I was wandering through the world like a blind person,” says Tamar Mukagakwiya, a listening group member in Muhanga. “I came to Mark 8:22, where Jesus opened the eyes of the blind. ... It entered my soul, and I started living in the light of the Word of God.”
Today, Tamar wants other people to experience the power of Scripture, just as she did.
“I feel strong and empowered to ask others to come and listen to the Word of God,” says Tamar. “I have a gift to talk to other people so the Word of God can comfort them.”
In some cases, God’s Word inspires Rwandans to reconcile with family members they have wronged. Nshutiraguma Donath, a former thief, decided to care for his disabled mother after he heard Paul’s conversion story in the book of Acts.
“I heard how he persecuted the people of God,” he recounts. “I compared it to the way I caused problems in my family. After listening to the Bible, I decided to repent and follow the way of the Lord.”
A Stronger Church
And the Scripture listening groups aren’t just for non-readers. Hearing the Bible read out loud inspires some Rwandans to dig deeper into God’s Word on their own.
“After listening to the Proclaimer, we went back to the printed Bible to understand it deeply,” Kampire Marie Claire says.
Whether people read, hear or watch the message of God’s Word, the result is the same: lives are changed. And church leaders are grateful.
“Thank you for [thinking] about us and developing this program, which helps us grow in our faith,” Mutabazi says.
You can help support Bible translation projects around the world. Visit ABSRecord.com/Bibles.
Thanks to the support of our faithful financial partners, American Bible Society has been engaging people with the life-changing message of God’s Word for nearly 200 years.
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