GBM works in close partnership with OneHundredFold, helping to support Keith Charlton in his ministry and distributing some OneHundredFold resources through our Radio team. Ben Griffin, Director of Communications (UK) for OneHundredFold, tells us how the work has been growing and bearing fruit.
Let me take you back to 2003, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The sun has set. The day’s heat has subsided to a more dignified level of discomfort, and there is a power cut. Total blackness covers the neighbourhood.
In those brief moments of blackout a missionary walks through the streets and notices that those who, seconds before, had been sitting on the side of the road playing Ludo and drinking green tea, now deprived of illumination, are staring at the gentle glow of their mobile phones. Everyone has a mobile phone. The technological revolution has arrived in one of the poorest countries in the world.
Inspired by that night in Ouagadougou, the seed which became OneHundredFold was sown: with more people in the world owning a mobile phone than a toothbrush or a toilet, surely we must be able to harness this technology for the gospel!
If you are like me and the word ‘technology’ brings you out in a rash; if you have never so much as heard of micro SD cards or Raspberry Pi’s, then let me put your mind at ease. To understand OneHundredFold, who use both of these to further God’s kingdom, you don’t need to have heard of either of them.
The Mustard Seed chip
In the UK, with a few swipes of your finger it is possible to view almost anything on a smart phone. This is great from an evangelistic point of view. The Bible, and a myriad of teaching materials, are now at your fingertips. In contrast, in a village in a developing country there may be no internet but still everybody has a phone. How is it possible to get what we have available here to the unbeliever or believer there?
Our team takes what is available online, or given to us by GBM and other organisations, and squeeze it down to fit onto a fingernail-size memory card like one that fits in your phone. These micro SD cards, as they are called, act like the cassette tapes of old. It is possible to save things onto them from the internet, pass them on to another person, who puts them in their phone where they can then see, or listen to, or watch what has been saved. We call these micro SD cards ‘Mustard Seeds.’
One part of our team collects a wide range of good resources in many languages – Bibles, creation-to-Christ teaching, testimonies and sermons. They then seek copyright permissions, save these resources onto a huge database, and make them ready and available to be loaded onto Mustard Seeds chips when the need arises. We call this part of the ministry ‘The Storehouse.’
Planting the Mustard Seeds
One of our most recent projects has been with GBM. Keith Charlton and his team have created a Mustard Seed chip to be sent to Madagascar to teach those converted from sorcery and banditry. They have put together another Mustard Seed chip to be sent to DR Congo to train pastors.
Now seventeen years on from the darkness of that power cut in the dusty streets of Ouagadougou, we at OneHundredFold hear back from those who have been the recipients of the light brought by one of over 350,000 Mustard Seeds that have been sown. Unbelievers have been saved and believers built up, and God’s word has been placed in the hands of many for the very first time.