TTB's Home Listening Groups in South Asia
by TTB International Director, Gregg Harris
We arrived at the listener rally on a warm, humid day. Already, we had flown halfway around the world just to reach this country of more than 1 billion souls, many of whom worship 300 million gods. The trip from the U.S. involved more than 24 hours of travel time, then a flight of two hours, and another two-hour drive from our hotel. But it was more than worth it, because we were meeting TTB listeners in person!
Perhaps you’ve guessed our location: India. We were in the western part of the country, in the state of Gujarat to attend a meeting of TTB-Bhili listeners. As is often the case in India, we were greeted by loud and joyful music as men, women, and children streamed into the meeting. The women were dressed in beautiful, brightly-colored saris and many wore head coverings to express their reverence for God.
In addition to the lively worship singing, a group of young women performed a cultural dance that expressed their praise to God. Our Bhili producer, Mr. Ramesh Bhabhor, addressed the crowd, and it was evident how much they appreciated the teaching that he delivers to them every day through the TTB program. We then heard testimonies from those whose lives are being transformed by the Word of God. Afterwards, I was deeply touched to see young men passing offering bags to help support the local ministry. One of the fruits of solid Bible teaching is that people learn the blessedness of giving, no matter how poor they are.
It is always a tremendous privilege to attend a TTB listener rally, but this one had a particularly exciting dimension: Our Bhili program is being distributed for listening in a large number of home groups! While radio remains the primary means for us to deliver Dr. McGee’s teaching around the world, we utilize this grassroots method when it is deemed strategic and cost-effective.
About halfway through the listener rally, we were escorted into a small room behind the stage. There we met with ten of the group leaders and learned more about the way the home group system works. The enthusiasm of these leaders was contagious. It never ceases to amaze me to see how God is calling people around the world who are deeply committed to sharing Dr. McGee’s teaching with their countrymen.
The leaders explained that they distribute TTB-Bhili in a variety of media formats. Some have CDs and use a portable stereo system. Others use digital memory chips that plug into speaker boxes. What was most exciting to hear is that most of these leaders have multiple groups that meet on different days of the week. A few leaders said they have groups meeting every single day of the week!
This ministry model brought to mind the old circuit riding itinerant preachers who would hold meetings in different towns. Thus, through digital technology, it is as if Dr. McGee is able to travel to towns throughout India and teach Thru the Bible in the local language!
Bhili is not the only Indian language being distributed via media players. TWR-India has hundreds of active TTB listening groups. Currently there are also groups in the following languages: Banjara, Kutchi, Indian English, and Konkani. The home group listening experience allows people to hear the programs and have in-depth discussion with other listeners.
We receive many encouraging reports about the impact of TTB in the lives of our listeners, like this one about Mr. Mangya, a Banjara listener:
Married to a lady from a different religious background, Mangya encountered various difficulties. He felt that faith and values went together and given her religious background and belief in rituals they couldn’t seem to agree on anything. The SD card player with TTB messages given to him was a Godsend. When he first played the messages, Mangya’s wife ignored them. But gradually, the messages touched her heart and she developed faith in the living God. Today the couple plays the program regularly for the people in their village. What a joy it is for them to see the enthusiasm of their community to hear God’s Word. They were introduced to the living God and it made them happy. If for any reason, Mangya is unable to play the program, many from the village enquire about them, revealing their interest.
None of this would be possible without you! Thousands of people across India are experiencing the thrill of hearing God’s Word and seeing its power in their lives because of your prayer and financial support.