A very significant drop in the bucket

India (MNN) — The phrase “a drop in the bucket” is meant to represent a portion so small it’s nearly insignificant.

JP Sundararajan of Audio Scripture Ministries refers to the group of people they’ve reached in India as a drop in the bucket. However, he is under no illusion that the drop is insignificant. Why? Because that drop is 500,000 people reached with the Gospel.

In India, ASM partners with WCOI to reach various people groups with the Gospel in their own heart language. (Photo courtesy of Audio Scripture Ministries)

In India, ASM partners with WCOI to reach various people groups with the Gospel in their own heart language.
(Audio Scripture Ministries photo)

ASM has partnered with World Cassette Outreach in India from their beginning.

Since that time, the partnered ministries have distributed 41,000 audio Bibles. That’s a lot of Bibles for a small ministry. “What’s even more staggering,” says Sundararajan, “is we don’t give Scriptures to individuals. We encourage group listening in India.”

The group listening is what constitutes such a large number of people hearing the Gospel. “These are people who have never heard Scripture in their heart language before, never heard of Jesus. So we were able to introduce this many people to God’s word and to the person of Jesus Christ, and that is amazing in itself.”

The people they minister to are unreached for a variety of reasons. They may be a remote tribal group that has no written language, or they may be blind and unable to read. The final group of people ASM and WCOI ministers to are lepers. These are people that are rejected by their families and waiting to die. The hope of the Gospel is especially poignant for them.

Sundararajan says, “It’s like an iceberg. You have Scripture accessible at the top of the iceberg. But the bottom–the surface that you don’t see underneath the water, that’s the group that we get to work with. And you get to see some amazing, beautiful stories emerge from how God encounters these people purely from Scripture and the Holy Spirit at work.”

The difference between encountering the Scripture in India as opposed to how people encounter it in the West is that in India, it is often a group event. Western life is fraught with individualism and evangelistic efforts are often focused on the individual. “But when you listen to Scripture together in community, when God begins to stir it up, you can transform an entire community almost immediately because you’re all feeling the same movement,” says Sundararajan.

What is so significant about having the Bible translated into these people’s languages audibly is that the Gospel is then presented in what ASM refers to as their heart language.

“Only the people who are nearest and dearest to you speak your heart language, and to wake up one morning and realize the God of the universe speaks your heart language connects you in a very intimate way,” says Sundararajan.

It makes sense that a relationship with God is so profound a concept in a country widespread with polytheism. “In countries like India, when God speaks your language, that’s where it’s at.”

Partnering with ministries like ASM and WCOI  means you are helping distribute the Gospel to people in India. Click here if you’re interested in doing that.

Sundararajan makes one request: “Continue to pray for us. We have an incredible thirst for God’s Word in India, and we just do not have enough Bibles. I often refer to it as this syndrome where I have this basket and I have five loaves and two fish, and I’m looking at a multitude. God is able to use that. But every now and then, we are longing for more loaves of bread and maybe a half fish to go with it.”

Sundararajan says, “It’s an incredible story of God’s Word and the power of God’s Word.”

However, he doesn’t want us to view the situation solely as an “other” country scenario.

He says, “We have the same word in our heart language, here in West Michigan, in America. [If] God can do so much with so little in a place like a leprosy colony in India, what can God do here, with this community we have here?

“Maybe we should start expecting God to do stuff like that here, because we have the same powerful Word at our disposal.”