Recently I was thinking about how I should react to people with whom I’m not getting on too well… This story from a primarily oral culture in Mali was a challenge and an encouragement, not to mention the reminder that God speaks to people through his word in their heart languages!
Jesus lived in a primarily oral culture. People gathered to hear him teach and tell stories – and what they heard transformed their lives.
Today many of the places where Wycliffe works remain primarily oral cultures – and that means that Bible translation can be as much about producing recordings of the Bible that people can listen to, as it is about printing copies of the Bible that people can read.
In many of these cultures, like the Supyire in Mali, Bible listening groups gather people together to listen to passages from the Bible – as in the picture below of people listening to the audio Bible sitting on the yellow can.
After listening to the passage they discuss how to apply it to their lives. And, as this story of one Supyire women called Ndeere shows, hearing the teaching of Jesus and the Bible continues to transform lives:
‘The word of God in Romans 12:20 says if you do good to your enemy it is as though you are placing burning coals on their head. I thought hard about this passage and then I applied it to the case of a woman who lives in the same courtyard as me who doesn’t like me at all. She used to say to her friends that she didn’t even want to see me.
It is our custom that if women are heading out to work in the fields, the younger women carry the baskets of the older ones. But this woman, such a nasty person as she is, nobody would carry her basket for her.
When I heard the part in Romans on the audio player I started to carry her basket each time we went to the fields and we came back from the fields. Some of my friends told me not to do that, because she doesn’t like me. But still I carried on. At last the nasty lady said to me she was afraid of me because I respect her so much. And in the end she stopped hating me.
What is more, I have to say that listening to the audio Bible player has made me more patient. There was a time when if someone would criticise me I wouldn’t feel at ease unless I attacked them back. Now everyone is surprised at the change in my behaviour.’
This story was sent to Wycliffe supporters who receive our bi-monthly e-newsletter, thanking them for their continuing support and prayers for the work of Wycliffe. If you wish to support and pray for people like Ndeere to hear and be transformed by the Bible, you can sign up here.
And I’m learning to carry my enemies’ baskets… I hope.