Portrait of Dr. Harvey Hoekstra and his wife Lavina in their retirement

The History of Talking Bibles

Dr. Harvey Hoekstra and his wife, Lavina, were missionaries for fifty-two years to the “unreached peoples” of the Third World. Most of that time—30 years—they served in Africa. In the Sudan, they translated the New Testament into the Anuak language.

After working on several translations, Harvey realized that the majority of the people among whom he worked were not able to read the translations once they were completed. He began to focus his efforts on recording his translations on cassette tapes and making them available to those who were unable to read. The results were both amazing and gratifying.

Many of those who could not read began to listen to the Gospel message in their own heart language and came to faith in Christ. Soon entire villages were coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Lavina Hoekstra with the Majang people

Harvey’s pioneer work was further developed and expanded by two of his sons, Mark and Paul Hoekstra. Born and brought up on the African mission field, both Mark and Paul experienced firsthand the importance of making audio Scriptures available to people who cannot read.

Paul developed a Bible listening program and ministry called Adopt-A-Village that had great success in Asia. Mark worked with his father, Harvey, heading up Audio Scriptures International and created the Talking Bible using a new technology – digital recording. Combining forces in 2005, they formed Talking Bibles International in order to reach non-readers more effectively and more efficiently.

From "Knotted Strings" to Talking Bibles

Listen to our founder, Dr. Harvey Hoekstra, tell the story of the our organization as he read his book, From “Knotted Strings” to Talking Bibles.

Knotted Strings Book Cover