Not long ago, in a remote village in a corner of South Asia, a lady with glossy black hair and an eager face was hard at work.
Susan* had just set up a circle of plastic chairs, placed a microphone and a recorder in the middle, and was counting out a dozen printed pieces of paper. Soon the “readers” would arrive, and she wanted to be ready!
In the community where Susan lived, were some translators. They had worked painstakingly for months to tell a certain Bible story in the clearest way possible. They had translated it carefully from the national language into the local language—one of more than 120 in their country.
Now it was time to share this story with whoever would listen, by making an audio recording.
You see, the local people do not skim news headlines, browse the internet, or even read bedtime stories to their kids. Theirs is an oral society. For them, story-telling is the meat-and-potatoes of communication. It keeps the past alive and makes sense of the present.
The readers began trickling in, greeting Susan and one another, and slowly finding their places. Some had trekked from a distant village, over steep mountains and rocky forest paths, to take part in this important day. All had been chosen because they could read. But this story was new to them, so they began to study their lines. Each was keen to do his very best in this performance of a lifetime.
Little did they know they were about to encounter a story that would shake their world.
It was the Good Friday story—the story of Jesus’ crucifixion.
Later, Susan recalled, “It was very difficult to record that day, because all the readers were sobbing as they read.”
Before that day, Good Friday had meant nothing to them; they had never heard of it before. But when they did, they recognized the truth of the Story. And their hearts were broken with the shocking love that met them there.
And so they wept.