More than 2,000 Telugu migrant workers in the Gulf States are now engaging with the Word of God thanks to a special edition of the Sermon on the Mount published by Bible Society in the Gulf States (BSG).
Specially designed for illiterate or semi-illiterate people, this is the first New Reader portion BSG has produced. It is based on chapters 5, 6, and 7 from the Gospel of Matthew and printed in large fonts in conversational Telugu. Together with the Sermon on the Mount book, workers are given an audio version on a phone memory card.
The Bible educates
The aim of the new reader programme is to encourage Telugu speaking migrant workers to read the Bible in their language. There are over a million of these workers in the Gulf. The majority do blue-collar jobs and are either illiterate or school dropouts.
“I discontinued my elementary school and since then I have been working as a labourer. You have created the opportunity for me to improve my reading skills. You have rekindled interest in me to read. Now I am enjoying reading the Bible text in this book.” A worker in the Gulf
Since only 2,000 copies were printed, BSG chose to cooperate with only a few Telugu Churches in the Gulf States. Limited copies were sent to Kuwait and Bahrain so the Telugu Church leaders and Telugu Christian community could sample the Sermon on the Mount book. To date the feedback is positive.
Churches praise new publication
Pastor Somaiah in Kuwait, who is the chairperson for pastors from 50 Telugu congregations said, “I like this book, it has Bible Study notes. This is useful for semi-literates and also to the educated. I want to take this to my church and do an in-depth Bible study on the Sermon on the Mount.
Hope and an anchor
Hyrar Jebejian, General Secretary of BSG said, “We believe this programme will have great impact not only on the workers who received the portion but also on their fellow migrant workers as they encourage them to join the programme and consequently accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
“We believe these migrant workers will be empowered through their faith in Jesus Christ and ability to read the Scriptures on a daily basis to endure the harsh conditions in the Gulf. Hrayr Jebejian
“Most importantly, these workers may be strengthened to keep away from drugs and alcohol and concentrate on working for the sake of their families back home and fellowshipping with their Christian brothers and sisters in the Church,” he said.