NPR logo Spiritual Aid: High-Tech Audio Bibles for Haiti

Gadgets & Apps

Spiritual Aid: High-Tech Audio Bibles for Haiti

screengrab from the Faith Comes By Hearing web-site
Faith Comes By Hearing sends audio Bibles to Haiti.
screengrab from the Faith Comes By Hearing web-site

I came across a short Reuters article about audio Bibles being sent to Haiti by a faith-based group called Faith Comes By Hearing.

They call the device the "Proclaimer," and it can broadcast the Bible in Haitian Creole in good sound quality up to 40 yards away. The Bibles have a speaker and a proprietary memory chip that can't be erased, so the device will never blast Britney Spears' new track.

The Proclaimer is designed to work in the harshest of circumstances. No electricity? Not a problem, you can charge it in the sun. No sun? You can use a hand crank to power the Proclaimer.

I posted a link to the Reuters article on the All Tech Twitter feed and a few people retweeted and added comments like, "can you eat them," or "priority over medical supplies or food?" I must admit, my gut reaction was similar: "This cannot be high on the priority list for Haitians at the moment."

So, I decided to pick up the phone and call Faith Comes By Hearing. I had an interesting conversation with John Wilke, their ministry spokesperson.

Article continues after sponsorship

Wilke told me that his organization partners with faith-based groups working in Haiti and there were 150 of these Bibles already on the ground.

Proclaimer in pre-earthquake Haiti.
photo of a Proclaimer in pre-earthquake Haiti, courtesy of Faith Comes By Hearing

Faith Comes By Hearing is sending a shipment of 600 hundred more Proclaimers, next week. Wilke stressed that the shipments were going with medical supplies and food that aid groups are bringing to Haiti.

"Other groups are already doing disaster relief," Wilke said. "We're a Bible organization, these are going to go to pastors of churches, medical teams, to very strategic places where people can gather together and listen. We're not mass distrubuting them to everyone on the street."

I asked Wilke to respond to my gut reaction of high-tech Bibles not being as high on the priority list for Haiti as food and water.

"Some people think that we're not providing a service," he told me,"but the people of Haiti have to deal with severe loss. Food and water can get them through the reconstruction phase, but in the long term, Haitians will continue to live with the memory of what happened and the word of God can help them through that."

Food for thought.