“Listen as I read aloud from God’s Word.” This is so commonly heard in chapel, classes, at church and in D-groups that most Northwestern students think nothing of it, but there are people all over the world who have never heard the Bible read in their own language.
NW graduate JP Sundararajan is working to change that.
Sundararajan, born and raised in Bangalore, India, works for an organization called Audio Scripture Ministries. This organization focuses on making and distributing audio recordings of the Bible. Sundararajan and his team work primarily in India and other Asian countries. The team has worked specifically with visually impaired, leprous, and orphaned people in India. India has a 60% illiteracy rate. This creates a crucial need for audio Bibles.
“There are over 1600 languages spoken in India,” Sundararajan said. “We are making the first recordings of the Bible in some of these languages. It’s like we get to be the voice of God.”
Although the prominent religion in India is Hinduism, the Gospel is widely accepted by the Indian people.
“Indians are a very spiritual people, whether they are Hindus or Muslims or Christians,” Sundararajan said. “They are always seeking after truth. The motto of India is, ‘Truth Alone Triumphs,’ so when we come telling them about Jesus who claims to be the way, the truth, and the life, they are very intrigued.”
Most recently, Sundararajan and his team worked on a project to get the Gospel to the children of India. The organization has created stuffed animals containing solar-powered digital storytellers which can read Bible stories out loud to the children. Sundararajan was able to be in India as the first of these were distributed in Indian orphanages.
“I was able to look into their eyes,” Sundararajan said. “I was able to be the hands and feet of God. Not only are these gifts the first exposure these children have to the Bible, but also the first stuffed animals these children have ever received. Not only have we given them Bible stories, but we have also given them something to hold to remind them that the God who created them will not abandon them.”
“You know the story in the Bible about the boy with the five loaves and two fish?” Sundararajan asked. “Sometimes I feel like I am that little boy. I have this amazing thing that will nourish the multitudes, but sometimes I wish that we had a few more loaves and a couple more fish. What we have is such a hot commodity. When we go out to distribute Audio Bibles, we always walk away empty-handed, and people are always asking us if we have more to give them. Pray that God would provide for that need. Also pray that more people would be inspired by these stories and would look at their Bibles differently. Do you crave your Bible the way people who don’t have access to it do?”