Fisherman Johann Benugu remembers the moment five years earlier when he realized his need for Jesus Christ, “I was 50 years-old and realized Hinduism was leading my spirit to hell with all those around me.”
Johann and the people in his community grow up in a low caste with little expectation of receiving an education—or even learning to read—but that does not mean they are unintelligent. The fisherman says, “I was constantly aware this life is not permanent. Maybe I’ll see sixty, seventy, or even eighty years, but my Hindu background did not satisfy my question of what happens next. I needed to know where would we go.”
After receiving Jesus Christ as his Savior, Johannes shared the good news with his wife, who was at first reluctant. As she saw the change in her husband she soon followed him in faith and they both shared the good news with their four adult sons and two daughters, who all decided to follow Jesus Christ. After the family was baptized in the Bay of Bengal they were immediately ostracized by their extended family. Even his parents rebuked him and refused to come to their grandchildren’s weddings.
In that difficult time Johann received a Talking Bible, and he says it seldom left his pocket. Speaking to us after a day of fishing, and holding his Talking Bible, he remembers, “I had already heard of Jesus Christ and understood salvation, but we needed peace to be strong in the trial and hardship our family was going through. This Talking Bible allowed us to know how to behave in that hard time.”
Watching other boats full of the day’s catch come in through the waves near his village, Johann says the more he listened to his Talking Bible, the more he knew the power of Jesus and the more he understood the words he heard in 2 Timothy, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
Since that time of struggling the illiterate fisherman has been through the New Testament several times. He particularly likes hearing the miracles of Jesus because it shows His power over all things. The raising of Lazarus, the feeding of the 5,000 and the healing of the centurion’s servant are among his favorites. Possibly because he spends so much time fishing on the Bay of Bengal, Johann says, “I play the story, and consider the time Jesus spoke to command the sea to be calm. It shows me His power.”
Johann explains that during the long hours spent fishing, he plays his Talking Bible not only for himself, but also as an outreach to his fellow fishermen. He laughs lightly as he says, “Though they are Hindu, they like to hear about Jesus Christ. They learn we are not dangerous as some have taught.”
Several of the fishermen have become followers of Jesus Christ through listening to the Talking Bible with him, but Johann says there is still great need. He watches as loads of fish are offloaded from the just returned boats, and remarks, “I know fishing and support my family by fishing, but I am now also a fisher of men.”
Will you pray about supporting the placement of Talking Bibles throughout the world with poor, non-readers like Johann’s fishing community? Every Talking Bible could be one that God uses to make pastors out of fishermen.