Last year we told you about a new Thru the Bible ministry concept that has recently taken off in India called a “Radio Home Group.” Now we have a firsthand, eyewitness account to how God is at work from Thru the Bible’s president, Gregg Harris.
Recently, Steve Shwetz and I walked into a meeting in progress at the TWR (our broadcast partner in India) Leadership Development Center in Chennai, India. We were a little glassy-eyed, having just completed a 52-hour journey, and it took us a moment to realize that this group of 50 key leaders oversaw more than 20,000 churches and home Bible study groups in India. We were even more thrilled to learn that they were all there to discuss how to take Thru the Bible into more languages and home groups.
As you may know, Thru the Bible is heard in India in 25 of their most recognized trade languages. But India has over 1,600 languages—too many and too expensive to broadcast them all on radio.
But George Philip, the leader of TWR-India, had an idea. As an experiment, he translated some of Dr. McGee’s key teaching from several Bible books into India’s smaller languages. Working with churches and mission groups around India, they developed a three-year weekly curriculum to be used in Radio Home Groups.
What a great idea! A Radio Home Group is simple: Gather 7-10 people every week to listen to Dr. McGee’s teaching on a digital player, followed by discussion and prayer. The hope is that this group would eventually develop into a church fellowship.
Today, more than 5,000 Radio Home Groups meet every week across India, listening to Thru the Bible in 57 different languages! And that’s just the beginning! By 2020, the goal is to have 10,000 groups studying Thru the Bible in 150 languages.
Why so many languages? It’s all about reaching people with the Word of God in their “heart language,” often referred to as their “mother tongue.”
In nearby Bangladesh: After just a few months of a similar Radio Home Group ministry launch, more than 100 groups study Thru the Bible together. By 2020, local leaders would like to have 2,500 groups studying Thru the Bible in nine languages.
And in Pakistan, more than 1,000 groups are now studying Thru the Bible in Radio Home Groups.
If you want to pray specifically for spiritual fruit to grow in South Asia, ask God to provide the funds and the people to translate Thru the Bible content into an additional 93 languages for these new groups, reaching a potential audience of 133 million. Ask in faith that God would open doors and hearts so that many thousands will encounter God’s Word in new ways.
Our response to all of this is, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).
Testimonies from the Radio Home Groups:
From south-central India—A head man of a village was in a crisis. His son suffered from convulsions. They took their son to all the witch doctors, but nothing helped. Someone said, “Go to a Christian for prayer.” So they traveled 30 miles to find some Christians and ended up in a TTB-Gondi Radio Home Group. The Christians prayed over the boy, and God completely healed him. At this miracle, the man trusted Jesus as Savior and started a TTB Radio Home Group in his own village. Today, 900 people in his village have now also come to Christ!
From Nepal—“It saddened me that many people in church didn’t really understand the Bible because they were illiterate. It was then that my pastor introduced me to Thru the Bible India’s Radio Home Groups. Being audio programs, they could help those who could not read or write. I could understand the importance of these Radio Home Groups because I knew many others who needed to hear these messages and would be blessed by it. I started a Radio Home Group in Gangtok. From one small group, we have multiplied into over 30 Radio Home Groups.”
From Dhaka, Bangladesh—One leader of a Christian denomination in Bangladesh said that until they studied the book of Luke with Thru the Bible, they didn’t know Jesus was God.