Faith Comes by Hearing Celebrates 40th Anniversary

ALBUQUERQUE,N.M.—Originally known as Hosanna, Faith Comes by Hearing began as a small, tape-lending library in the fall of 1972. Before establishing the Albuquerque, N.M.-based ministry, founders Jerry and Annette Jackson had done missionary work across the desert Southwest, traveling with their four children in a 1954 GMC school bus. Always faithful to God’s calling to “bring my church together and make disciples,” the Jacksons have experienced the highs and lows of a ministry that came from humble beginnings and is now the largest producer of foreign language audio Bibles in the world. As it celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, Faith Comes by Hearing has audio Scriptures recorded in 683 heart languages, which combined are spoken by more than 5 billion people.

“We never could have imagined the direction the Lord would take this ministry when we first got started,” states Jerry Jackson, founder and president of Faith Comes by Hearing. “We simply have done our best to allow Him to work through us—even our weakness and imperfection—and He has been faithful.”

This sort of willingness to follow the path God laid out before the ministry is illustrated by the move in the mid-‘80’s to start producing dramatized Bible recordings in what the ministry refer to as “heart languages”— the language a person grew up with, speaks in the home and prays in. This decision has led to God’s Word being freely available to the more than half of the world that is illiterate or living in a predominately oral culture.

The method of distribution has dramatically changed over four decades as well. The ministry originally used cassette tapes as the primary vehicle for providing the audio. The move to CDs provided a better sound quality, but like cassettes, multiple CDs (16) were required to provide the entire New Testament. Next came the Proclaimer, a solar-powered, digital unit capable of being heard by groups as large as several hundred. When MP3 technology arrived, the ministry could fit the New Testament onto one disc. As digital technology advanced and direct downloads across multiple platforms became a reality, Faith Comes by Hearing was able to realize one of its longtime dreams—to easily provide God’s Word free of charge.

During its first 37 years in ministry, Faith Comes by Hearing estimates it reached some 50 million people with audio Scripture. In the last two and half years—through what is now the Digital Bible Platform—the ministry has monitored Bible engagement by more than 93 million people, including connections originating from 92 percent of the countries on the planet.

In addition to these online platforms, the ministry also provides free access through digital playback devices. More than 320,000 Proclaimers are literally proclaiming the Gospel to the world’s poor and illiterate population. Whereas more than 230,000 Military BibleSticks—pocket-sized, digital players—have been distributed through chaplains to troops in every branch of America’s military.

What is in store for the next 40 years?

“We have been willing to walk through every door that God has seen fit to open, and we stand ready to do the same in the future,” Jerry Jackson says. “Living by faith in God’s provision is a lifetime journey.”