A $35,000 grant from the Synod’s Office of National Mission to Lutheran Blind Mission (LBM) is being used to purchase and distribute 700 digital audio Bibles.
The Talking Bibles are “very blind-friendly,” according to the Rev. Dave Andrus, LBM executive director, and are initially being made available to blind and low-vision people through LBM’s 68 “outreach centers for the blind” nationwide.
Some 1,500 people visit the centers each month, according to Andrus, and “75 percent of these people cannot read braille or large-type materials,” he said. “Audio is the only way to serve them.”
LBM, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization based in St. Louis, also provides braille, large-type and audio materials from its free-by-mail lending library to some 4,000 people “who do not own Bibles,” Andrus said. So, “the need for these Bibles is great among the people that LBM serves.”
Andrus, who has been blind since age 11, has used a Talking Bible for about a year. It’s “very, very useful,” he said, with a “good quality” recording.
“The buttons are very simple and easy to use” by both blind people and those who have difficulty using their fingers, he said, and users “can move about books and chapters very easily without having to see a screen or display.”
Andrus said he expects that the audio Bible “will be used primarily by Christians — although many will be new Christians — and that it will strengthen their faith and love for the Lord and His Word.”
LBM is producing a 24-month audio Bible study that can be used in conjunction with the audio Bible.
“We’re using Concordia Publishing House’s Today’s Light as the foundation — but then we’re going through and modifying it,” Andrus said, keeping readings to just one section per day and changing examples to “whatever is relevant to people who are blind.”
When completed, the audio Bible study will be available free on CD.
The Talking Bible, valued at more than $60, will be available for “a nominal charge” to cover shipping, Andrus said. But, he added, people who want the Bible will be able to get it, regardless of whether or not they can pay.
The $35,000 grant to LBM came from Fan into Flame — the campaign to support the Synod’s Ablaze! mission-outreach initiative — and were earmarked for “Faith Comes by Hearing” projects, according to ONM Executive Director Rev. Bart Day.
“As that program is coming to an end, we used the remaining dollars to continue to share the Word of God with those who need the Bible in audio form,” Day told Reporter.
Lutheran Blind Mission, he added, “is proclaiming the Gospel to people who are too often hidden and forgotten. This is a wonderful opportunity for LBM to expand its work of sharing the Gospel.
“Since many of the blind do not read braille,” Day added, “the audio Bible will open the Word to people who might otherwise never hear.”
Posted March 1, 2012/Updated March 6, 2012