“The devil doesn’t want people to read because God wrote a book.” TULSA – You may never have heard of Literacy & Evangelism International, but the calling and vision the Lord gave to Dr. Robert F. Rice over 50 years ago are still prospering today.
During several years of service ministering in South Korea, Bob Rice and his wife began to realize the importance of adult literacy and the potential for teaching literacy as a means of evangelism. Two years after returning to Oklahoma in 1965, Dr. Rice launched Literacy & Evangelism International. He had experienced first-hand that it was possible to introduce people to Jesus, but it was nearly impossible to help them grow in the faith because they were unable to read the Bible.
The task of discipleship among the illiterate proved to be much more difficult than sharing the Good News. But, Jesus Himself commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples. Clearly, something needed to be done to address the literacy problem in order to help those new believers to grow.
The core staff at Literacy & Evangelism International understood that part of the problem was to help people become fully literate. A person is fully literate “when he can read and understand anything that he would have understood if it had been spoken to him and who can write anything he can say, so it can be read.”
Hundreds of churches, missionary groups, and FBOs have partnered with Literacy & Evangelism International over the past 52 years for assistance in translation and training. Among those are Africa Inland Mission, the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, the United Bible Societies, World Vision, Trans World Radio, and Gospel for Asia.
The good news is that it is estimated that today:
- 90 percent of the world has the entire Bible in their own language
- 95 percent has the entire New Testament in their own language
- 98 percent has some Scripture in their own language
But the challenge remains. It is also estimated that 45-55 percent of the world is unable to read their own spoken language.
It is unfortunate that only about half the world is unable to read the Bible. It is, therefore, difficult for them to grow spiritually in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord.
The other side of that coin of misfortune is the question of how many people have a Bible that they can read, but they don’t.
Amy Carmichael once said,
In every land, in every language, it is the same; where the Bible is read . . . the life is changed . . . people are transformed.
That includes the USA. The Bible must be read in order for lives to be changed and for people to be transformed. While it is imperative that we pray for ministries like Literacy & Evangelism International, we must dedicate ourselves to spend time in the Word on a daily basis.
Millions are illiterate and can’t read the Word. It will be difficult for them to become faithful disciples whose transformed lives can be used by Christ to reach and train others.
Millions are literate and don’t read the Word. It will be difficult for them to become faithful disciples whose transformed lives can be used by Christ to reach and train others.
If you were able to read this article, you are not among the first group and you should not be among the second.
To learn more about Gospel for Asia’s literacy program in South Asia read this.
To read more news on the literacy problem on Missions Box, go here.
- Literacy & Evangelism International, Official Website
- Gospel for Asia, Women’s Literacy Program
- Forum of Bible Agencies International, Literacy & Evangelism International
- Slide Player, The History of Literacy & Evangelism International
- Gospel for Asia, Photo of the Day