What does faith accomplish? The Bible tells us inspiring stories of people who had great faith and how God used them to do great things for Him. In the concluding episode of our two-part interview with Morgan Jackson, senior vice president of Faith Comes By Hearing ministry, we continue the story of Jackson’s great faith and trust in God that allowed them to continue their mission to bring the word of God to the people of the world in their own language.
In this episode, Morgan explains the arduous process that goes into the production, translation, recording and dramatization of the scripture in thousands of the world’s languages and the distribution of these materials to people groups. He tells stories of how people receive and react to the recordings and lays down the obstacles and challenges they’re facing in accomplishing their goals. Click now and find out how hard they are working to reach their goal of translating, recording, and providing the word of God in every language that needs it by 2033.
Key Points From This Episode:
“We're living in a generation that will see the Earth covered with the Word of God as the waters cover the sea and we will see scripture in every single language of the world. Now, not without malice, not without death, many will die in this process. Many will suffer but we're on that journey.”
“What better way to propagate the gospel than just God's word, dramatized, word-for-word in the mother tongue with one device that they can use to disciple, share, and evangelize.”
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
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About Morgan Jackson
Morgan Jackson is passionate about God’s Word and getting it to people across the world in a way they understand. He serves as Senior Vice President of Faith Comes By Hearing, where he’s worked for decades with partners to record Audio Bibles in the languages of the world.
Morgan is the son of Faith Comes By Hearing founders Jerry and Anet Jackson, and he learned from an early age the importance of uniting the Body of Christ and overcoming obstacles to share the Word of God. He has traveled to more than 80 countries so far to make that happen.
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The Kingdom Investor Podcast showcases business leaders who have moved from success to significance, sharing how they use worldly wealth for kingdom impact. Discover how they grew in generosity, impacted more lives, and built godly legacies. You'll find motivation, inspiration, and practical steps to grow as a Kingdom Investor.
Daniel White (DW): Hello, and welcome to The Kingdom Investor Podcast. I'm your host Daniel White. Today we bring you an incredible story from Morgan Jackson. Morgan is the Senior Vice President at Faith Comes By Hearing. Morgan shares stories from his unique childhood, his early years in starting businesses, and ultimately how God used his family's faithfulness over 50 years to impact hundreds of millions of people around the world through audio Bibles.
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Without further ado, let's jump into part two of this two-part episode.
DW: Give us a little bit of perspective about what the ministry is doing kind of high level.
Morgan Jackson (MJ): Yeah, we have production stuff that we're doing. So, our first thing that we do is whenever a translator finishes a language, we have 50 teams in the field, national teams that will go into the jungle, go into the desert, convert them out hot, bring generators, solar panels, equipment, find 25 voices with the translator. Translators may have been there 30 years, 40 years. And then we will do a full drama recording in the next six weeks to three months in that community. Once that's done, it's sent back to our offices here in Albuquerque. We have music and sound effects. So we've done that 1700 I think and 17 times. So, almost every two days we finish a new language. It takes six months to do from start to finish the recording.
So, right now we're kind of caught up. So, whenever a translator gets done, they raise their hand and our teams go. We do about 160 languages, new languages a year. So, the languages go from 50 people that speak the language to Mandarin Chinese, 1.4 billion people speak the language. So currently, the languages we have recorded represent a little over 86% of the world's speakers. We have it in their mother tongue, and over 95%, we have it either in their first or second language. So, that's 1700 languages. That's the first thing we do.
Second thing we do right now is oral Bible translation. So, illuminations which you know, you talked about Alan Barnhart. Alan Barnhart, the Green family and others, got together with the top 11 Bible translation agencies about 10 years ago and said, when can we get the job done? And Wycliffe had looked at it a few years before and said it's going to take 150 years. So, business people gathered around him and said, no. What needs to be done, and how to work it? And so they worked with him for like eight years to get them working together, get all of the data together, processes being shared. And then they started asking the question five years ago to say, when can the job be done? I love business people, you know, the translators and stuff are telling us when we could start it. And they're saying, we don't know when to know when you start. We want to know when we can move in and when is it done.
And so a date was set at 2033, which is 2000 years after the death of Christ. So we got that about four years ago, they gave it to us, send it to us and we said, okay, you're talking about Bible translation. But you know, half the world's illiterate and they go, yes, Morgan, you're working with all 11 of these guys. We're looking to you, can you do it? So we spent months looking at it, praying over it, running the numbers, and came back and said, yes, we will record scripture in every language that you translate. And we will put a gospel film which is a full-length film of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, at least one gospel film, word for one film in every language. The Green family helped fund the LUMO films, which are these full-length films of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
So, we, as we joined them in that, one of the things that the translators had been asking us is they said the last 2000 languages are oral, no orthography, no literacy. If we do a translation, we're only going to do it so that you can record it. Why can't we skip the five years to learn the language, create an orthography? Why can't we just go oral to oral? These people all speak two, three, four languages, a portion of them, not all of them because of trade, because of interaction, because of education. So you have these 1500 plus languages, why can't we create a software. So, we found a foundation that funded us putting together a software we call Render which is all touch and image-based.
So, illiterate people who have never read, can't read, can touch. And within a day, learn how and operate this system. I mean, my granddaughter is five years old, can't read, but she moves to my wife's iPad, like. So, it's the same kind of concept. And so, what they do in oral Bible translation is you have a team of people who listen to a set of scripture in one of three languages, the business language, the educational language, or trade language, or language they're married into, can have four languages, then they talk about how they would translate that into their own language, then what they do is they internalize it. Internalize it means that they will act it out. On the whiteboard, so they'll draw it, they may put rocks and color the rocks. So, you have the 12 disciples, you have Jesus, yeah.
So, they put rocks, and then they act it out, talk it out. And then they'll find the person that can do the best, who will then record it, and they'll use that white paper with the stories of all the images to record it, then they listen back to it, then they'll listen back to the other language like Swahili or Spanish and they go, oh, we used to borrow word here, they change and they'll do this 15 times. And in the background, our staff is taking care of these thousands of files to present them back to them easily. When they're done, then it transfers to another team. Now they're in a place where there's no electricity. So they're up on a mountaintop, in a jungle somewhere, back in the desert somewhere, no electricity. So, these devices are there. So, once the other team listens, they will then say no, you made some mistakes, and they'll audibly record the corrections that team will hear it again, and make those corrections. Then, it goes out into the village or the community for what we call a community check.
And this is what I love. Because in nine months, a whole Gospel of Luke will be done in this people group. So, not 25 years, not 35 years, nine months. And during that nine months, the primary village is hearing chapter by chapter. People argue over who's going to roast the peanuts, who's going to grind the coffee, it's completely dark, and they take it out in the village, the only light will be the little computer device. And they push play. And people hear scripture in their own language for the first time. They laugh, they weep. They talk for days, they listen over and over again. And what we want to make sure is that the meaning is correct. So, like one of the communities they were listening to the story of John and how he came, John the Baptist, came neither eating or drinking.
MJ: And they went and you asked the questions. Okay, what do you understand? Oh, John was a powerful warlock. And they were, whoa, what do you mean warlock? Well, in our culture, you know, we have warlocks and if they hate somebody, or somebody pays them enough money, they'll release their spirit at night and they'll go and they'll eat, if they're powerful enough, they can eat that person's soul. And if they eat their soul, then that person will die in the next week. But when they wake up, they're not hungry, because they've been eating a soul. Well, John came not eating or drinking anything. So he must have been eating so many souls, he must have been so powerful. It's like ahhh, translation is accurate word for word.
So, that goes back to the consultant, they pull the phone up to the top of the tree, take that recording, it hits a signal, goes down 300 miles to a city in the lowlands, the consultant hears it, back translates it, says okay, sends a message back up, they pull the phone up to the top of the tree, get the message change that to John the Baptist came fasting. They changed it and we're good. So, we're now we have 110 projects that are in process where we're doing oral Bible translation. And we're doing this in partnership with Wycliffe USA with Pioneer Bible Translators, Word for the World, American Bible Society, Biblica, all of the Bible translation agencies, and it's what we believe will allow us to complete a Bible translation every time.
So, this is really important. Because you know, in Matthew 24, it talks about end times, wars, famines, pestilence, COVID-19, Ukraine, Russia. And but then he says you said, but the end is not yet. Because Matthew 24:14, it says the gospel of the kingdom must be preached to the whole world and to every nation, then the end will come. That's the only place that tells us when the end will come.
Now the word nation there is "ethnos" which is language, tribe and people. So there's 7140 languages in the world. So have you ever wondered why has Christ not returned yet. Well, because about 4000 of those languages, 2000 of them which translators are working in right now. 2000, which have nothing, have not been reached yet. But what we're talking about is right now because of technology, because of oral Bible translation, we could see the Great Commission fulfilled in our lifetime by 2033. And we're saying that Christ is going to return in 2033. But what we are saying is, then the end will come. It will be the first time in the history of the world where we can say, Lord, come quickly.
And because of this, every one of those languages goes on the app. We put it on Bible lists, but then we create individual apps, we have a website that we've created an open API where all of our partners can have access, and they can use it for radio broadcasts. Because of this, in my office right here, I can access every one of the 1700 languages, all 1200 videos, instantly. This room is covered with the Word of God as the waters cover the sea. So by 2033, when you see all of the satellites, everything going on in cell phones, the earth, any place you go on the earth, you will be able to access God's Word in any single language of the world. And so the earth and that's what I love about the scripture says the earth will be covered with the knowledge of Jehovah and the glory of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea. Not might, not could, not should, said, it will. And so, we're living in a generation that will see the Earth covered with the Word of God as the waters cover the sea. And we will see scripture in every single language of the world. Now, not without malice, not without death. Many will die in this process. Many will suffer. But we're on that journey.
DW: Morgan, I don't know what to say, that is incredible. And I'm so excited to be a part of accelerating the Great Commission so that it can be completed in this generation. And it just really speaks to my heart that you guys are doing that and such a big part of that. So what would you say are some of the areas that we need to be aware of that, you know, maybe we can get on board and maybe some of the obstacles that we can help overcome, some of the challenges? What are some of the top ones that come to mind?
MJ: Well, one, I would like to see everybody download Bible.is, that's our app. YouVersion uses all our audios as well, but our app is the easiest to share. One out of four people in the United States speak a language other than English at home. You take an Uber, try this. Have the Bible.is, ask them what country they're from. Look at Bible.is, it gives you by country language, pull up the country, ask them what their mother tongue is. We will 95% of the time have that language. Touch it. They don't know what you're doing. Push play on Mark, just go to Mark 1. Push play, and then hold it over the backseat and watch their eyes go nuts. As they start looking at you like where did you come from? How are you playing Kisi, my mother tongue for Moray. I've had them tell me this is the best Uber ride I've given in my whole life. And then I just share it down at the bottom. Dots, I touch it, it's a share. I get their cell phone number and then I can talk to them later. So, what are you hearing? What do you like? What don't you like?
So start to share the Word of God. God has sent people to us. Quit getting mad about all the immigrants. God has placed, I mean, yes, our laws need to change whatever, but, that's not your issue. Your issue is down in front of you, you're supposed to show up. God put them here so that they might find God. Let them hear the Word of God in their own language. So one do that.
The next thing we're struggling with, I'm struggling with is these Proclaimers are the tool that we use to bring the Word of God. Runs on a solar panel that recharges batteries, batteries recharged 3,000 times. This one is loud enough that a thousand people can hear it. The cost is $157 for the unit to get it into the country to do the training, and on average four listening groups who will be set up and 90 people will be reached. So my biggest issue right now is we're going to start, I think almost 150,000 programs this year. So we're gonna see, when, when you talk about that you're gonna, we're gonna see somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 million people gathering new communities listening, 5 million of those being new believers.
But my problem is my team is saying they need 300,000. So you got the coalition of the willing, which is a church-planting organization with all the major Bible translation groups, not translation, but church planting groups. The Southern Baptists, Campus Crusade, YWAM, the Timothy Initiative, and they are all coming together to try to plant a church in every village and community by the year 2033.
So the translators are translating the Scriptures. And so what we're having is these church planters are saying, all these communities are illiterate, Morgan, we need an audio Bible. This is a smaller one. So this is the one they love in Vietnam and (indiscernible) because they like to take it out in the fields, the listening groups are small. I just want to reach up to 300 people, carries four languages. So what they're doing is they're saying, we need them. I talked to a prison the other day, and they they're saying, Morgan, we've got three Proclaimers, but we got 13 wards, each ward has 300. And so we've got only three of them. And so we're we're having to take them away from the one ward and give them to the next one. He said the morning that these guys were literate, and they're just so frustrated, they cry and weep when we take it because they know they're not going to get it back for six to eight weeks to a month. And so they're just saying, can't we have one for each ward? And I think we should be able to do that.
And so part of our issue is that every time we finish 160 languages, the number of Proclaimers that we need. So, this is one of my biggest issues and prayer needs is, we need desperately to find resources to be able to put one of these. I just can't imagine why a church planter can't have a Bible. The only Bible people understand is an audio Bible, how can we send them out to plant a church without a Bible? And so it's just like, it's $157, and they will start four groups. And you'll see 90 plus people come to faith in Christ in the first year. And I've been out in two areas where 10 years later, they're still using this and still planting churches.
So that would be for me, one of the greatest prayer requests is I don't want to just record the languages. I want to see them in those villages. And so, although we can put it on phone 30% of the areas we're going to are not electrified, and so they can't charge the phone, even if they have one. They charge it in the market village. And so they, if they use it for an hour, it's gone. The Proclaimer will play 12 hours. And what I love about the Proclaimers among the Fulani people, they say, the Muslim people, they're saying, you know, you can't kill it, it never gets tired, you know, it just will play the same thing over and over and over again. Faithfully repeats it, just the Word of God. And the Africans like it because they say it drinks the sun. So that's going to be probably my greatest prayer request right now is, is helping, we're in that mode, where we're saying, Lord, help us to provide enough so that every church, every school, every prison, every village, can have your word. Just one per church, one per family, just one per church where people can gather to hear the Word of God.
DW: And you're projecting that there's 300,000 that are needed right now?
MJ: Just for this year alone, there's over 5 million that are needed total. So by 2033, we need over 5 million. Because there's existing 3 million churches, we've already reached 1.5 million of churches. But in Africa, you can put one in every school because the schools have a British school system in most areas. And so they provide an hour for religious education. I was just talking to Nigeria, and they're just every one of the schools is asking for a Proclaimer.
19:39 So we can't pray in our school but in Nigeria, every week they gather for an hour to hear the Word of God in their classrooms and the kids talk about Scripture. And every school in Nigeria, I can put it in, Muslim, Christian, doesn't matter. They all want it. And so I'm like, how do I, why do I say no to that? But you know, there are 20,000 schools in Uganda alone. We've reached about a thousand. But every schoolmaster is telling me, when are we next? I'm like, ahhh.
So, if you have business people that want to propagate the gospel, what better thing than just God's word, dramatized, word for word, in the mother tongue, one device that will last 10 plus years that they can use to be discipled, shared, evangelized?
DW: And you said that Proclaimers is approximately $150?
MJ: $157 is the average cost to produce it, ship it, do the training because we don't just distribute. We have workers in the field that train them on how to do the listening group, and then how to use it. With video with the Jesus film and with printed bibles to do a process we call end-to-end. So they go in the village, start a listening group, then they bring the Jesus film, show the film, people then see, because you know, when you're in a village, you don't know what a temple looks like, you've never seen a crucifixion. So you hear that word, but you don't know what it means. So you can see it, calls you to Christ. And then later, people want the printed Bible. They may have a 12-year-old that has gone to school. And so if they have the printed Bible, they can sit under the tree and their 12-year-old can learn to read it by following along.
And so then we can't provide an audio Bible per household. But now that printed Bible is in the hut or in the home and so in the morning, the 12-year-old can read the Psalms, and most of the time, this will be just the New Testament. Because we've recorded the full Bible in about 60 languages, but we have 1700. And so if the full Bible, will have the whole Bible, then that child can then read, they can hear the whole New Testament, but they can read the full Bible or learn to read it back. So, we provide that training, we don't want to do just distribution, we don't do distribution. So the $157 includes training and follow-up to make sure they're actually using it. And telling them how to evangelize, how to disciple, how to use it in schools, all those things.
DW: Just dollar-wise, it looks like, just for this year would be $50 million, and then for the 5 million total needed would be like, $785 million? Think that's right?
MJ: Yeah, not quite that. The $157 is what our normal costs are but as we do more, it's the scale reduces the costs. So the cost actually begins to fall down. And so, as we get larger gifts, we're actually seeing some of those costs fall down to where, at the end of it, it may be about half that cost.
DW: Oh, wow, that's great.
MJ: The total cost will be about half that, you know, Business guys, you know, once, it's a $157 until that cost covers all my fixed costs and all of this stuff. So once we get about past $25 million, and our budget this year is $28 million, then those costs start falling. So I sat it's a $157 because that's our established current costs. But in many cases now the $157 is actually reaching two, providing two. But the $157 is still the base. But yes, yes, you have. So right now we're 28 million next year, we need to raise an additional eight, you know, we need to raise between 8 and 16 additional million dollars if we were to provide the 300,000 that are requested.
We need about $36 million total. So we need to save about $16 million more. But the nice thing is every dollar provides, every $157 provides a village a community with the Word of God in their language, no batteries, no costs. It can't play anything else other than the Bible, can carry four languages. So many of them have two, three languages. They play their language. They'll play the English in the school then they play another language to go evangelize the nearby language groups. So it's becomes their discipleship, evangelism, and educational tool.
DW: So, in the business world, we call that leverage. That's incredible.
MJ: And we do everything in partnership. So we have 700 major partners. So when I say we do something, what I mean is through the Bible Society, through Wycliffe, we don't have offices in those countries. We work through a national partner. We provide the training, we provide The Proclaimers and when they give it as a gift, they give it as a gift from Campus Crusade, from the Assembly of God Church, from the First Baptists, from Wycliffe Bible Translators, so nobody knows about our ministry. When you go to Ghana, nobody will know about Faith Comes By Hearing USA. They'll say, oh, the Bible Society trained us and gave us that audio Bible. In Kenya, they may say, oh, Promise Child gave us this. We have a great partnership with Prison Fellowship International where we're working with them to reach 2 million prisoners. So they have offices in 116 countries.
So when they come in, they come in with the film, they come in with the audio. Nobody knows anything about us. Biblica and Bible League provide printed Bibles. Jesus Film provides the video, Faith Comes By Hearing provides the audio, but they're gonna say Prison Fellowship International is the greatest organization in the world because they did this and they gave us this. And, absolutely right. All of us are happy that they get that credit. So, it's done by nationals in the field. Almost all the work is done through nationals. So we don't have any of our missionaries, people going out. The 50 recording teams, our national teams. One of them's a Wycliffe team, one of them's a Youth With A Mission Team, YWAM team and others, Transworld Radio has an office and they're doing recordings with us and they provide the staff. Theovision in Ghana. So it's always a national partner.
DW: It's incredible what can happen when no one cares who gets the credit.
MJ: No, no. God's Word gets the credit, right? He's the one that's healing and delivering. He's the one that's, it's his word that pierces to the dividing line, soul and spirit. My words don't mean anything. I love the guy that was invited to Lausanne, Bill Hahn, business guy in in New York, and he said, why wouldn't, you know, he's a billionaire. He said, why would I go and speak for 30 minutes travel for two days? Be there for five days? Are you kidding me? No, my time is not worth, now, if you'll let me bring Jesus and introduce Jesus, or my father, and let him talk for 30 minutes, I'll come fly the two days spend those days, fly back. And so they said yes. So he came spent five minutes and then spend 30 minutes, just push the button and let all of the Lausanne delegates hear the I think the Gospel of John for 30 minutes for each one of the days he was at. But he never talked. Which one of us would be humble enough to say I would travel all the way there to introduce my father Jesus and let him, let him talk. No, we'd say up on speed. I want you to hear me. But he said no, I'll come all the way. For me. No, I won't do it. It's not worth my time. But if you'll let Jesus talk yeah, I'll bring him.
DW: Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing this. It's been very incredible. I do want to ask a couple of questions as we close out in the mentor minute. Who is the most influential person that you know, and how have they impacted you?
MJ: Well, I have to say, my father and mother and I have just given them even because both of them have had different but even impacts. And as I said, my mom and my dad teaching my mom, primarily teaching that God is faithful. And he can, he can provide milk, he can take care of our needs. And my father teaching me listening prayer, how to both listen and obey. Because I think as scripture says over again, all I wanted you to do is hear my voice and obey. It's all I wanted to do is for you to hear my voice and obey. So it'd be my father and mom.
DW: And then what is the greatest lesson that you've learned about leadership?
MJ: Faithfulness, the value of staying and standing when you're afraid, knowing what God's called you to do. And just not letting anybody know you're afraid. And just trusting the Lord and just standing. That faithfulness, in the long term, sometimes it's years and years, is one of the most important things in leadership is being faithful. You can be smart and be charismatic with this you can be that you can be loving, but most people do that for a year, two years, three years, four years, five years and then they're gone. Being faithful, you can accomplish a huge amount with nothing. Our family in a school bus, 50 years later, 1700 languages have audio, 87% or 86% of the world can hear God's word in their own language. You know, one day and 500,000 listening programs in churches around the world. From nothing, you just every day wake up and you just be faithful.
DW: Thank you so much for that wisdom and thank you for your obedience to the call and your faithfulness. This is, this is really incredible what God has done through your obedience and faithfulness. Is there anything that we can be praying for you and your family?
MJ: Yeah, I mean, you know, it's, there are times of transition, and we're raising up young leadership, we have a lot of good younger leaders in our team. And I think one of the prayers is how do we give them the space while at the same time being obedient to the Lord unto death? Meaning that, how do I give them the space? How do we give them the space? And yet if the Lord is telling you to still be here, how do you be there and and give them leadership and give them the authority that they want? And, and for me, another prayer request is just, you know, you travel, I traveled so much before COVID, my wife now is saying, I now know what it's like to have a real husband. So she doesn't really. But when I look around, the needs of the nations are so great. The opportunities are so many that I have a hard time saying no. And I think that's part of it is how I mean, our family's well balanced, my relationship is balanced. As you get older, she doesn't like to be to travel as much. And she doesn't want to be as alone as much and then say, Lord, how do you balance those things? So for me, prayer is how do you what's the balance? And hearing God's voice and not just saying yes, because that's who I am or what I do but to hear from God. What can be done by Zoom, what can be done, and who can do it when I shouldn't do it?
DW: All right, well, let's pray now, as we close out this episode.
MJ: Thank you, Daniel.
DW: God, I thank you and praise you for Morgan and his family and just their faithfulness in obeying you and obeying the call to ministry and to persevere over these 40 or 50 years. God, I thank you for them, I thank you for all the work that you're accomplishing through them. And I just pray that you would be with them, especially in these transitions, as they develop new leaders, as they hand off the reins of leadership. And I also pray that, that you would continue to help us unify the church, and, and help us to work together to complete the Great Commission in this generation. And I pray that you would bring all the resources necessary to accomplish that all the people necessary. And you'd help us to stay focused on accomplishing your mission, the Great Commission, that we praise You and glorify you for all that you've done in our lives, and we were so thankful. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
MJ: Amen. Amen. Daniel, thank you for your prayers. And thank you for this time. It's been a great blessing.
DW: Thank you for coming on. And thank you guys for listening to this episode. And we'll see you next time for another episode of The Kingdom Investor Podcast.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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