Afghanistan and the 'Talking Cards'

The <a href="/topic/cardtalk">CardTalk</a>: an ingenious pencil powered talking record player!
The CardTalk: an ingenious pencil powered talking record player!


The writer and team members delivering the 'talking cards' in Afghanistan in the late 1970s

Using the latest technology to spread the gospel is one of the things we strive to do. Yet we always enjoy hearing how God used the low tech CardTalk so powerfully in the early days. Enjoy this quote from a friend of the ministry who trekked in Afghanistan in 1978.

Our project had quietly been underway for years to prepare materials for distribution to the Afghan people. The materials included using ingenious pencil-powered talking records. These humble little records contained five different gospel messages that were prepared in each of the seven dialects. Each story had been prepared with loving dedication and quietly brought into the country with great care. Some folks may call what happened next a coincidence, but we couldn't.

Some friends had applied to the government yearly for several years for permission to take a vacation trek into Nooristan, only to be refused. This year, just as the materials arrived in Kabul, the friends received their permission for the trip. They were looking for one or two more trekkers to help carry materials. Yes, it was one of those coincidences that happen when God's people pray! The project's time had come, and we were to take part. . .

The plan called for backpacking several days distance into the remote valley beyond. We would have to conceal all our materials while carrying them on our backs. We had many pounds of Bibles and those 'talking cards.' We were to try making contacts with local people, making friends, and distributing our materials. . . . .

Someone would sit beside the trail, taking a leisurely break, and befriending a local. Soon, with eyes scanning to make certain that they were alone, they would reach into a coat pocket and out came a talking card. They would entertain their new found friend by pushing the little record around on its holder, trying to adjust to the right speed. The new friend would sit and watch indifferently. Our man would then put that card away and try one in a different dialect. Suddenly, the new friend's expression would light up! Why, this thing was talking to him in his own language! He could hardly believe it! He would then urge our man to let him push the pencil, and make the card talk. Next he began insisting that we give him the card to keep!!!

And so it is today. The media may have changed but the results are the same - the Word of God becomes light and life to those in darkness. And who knows whether or not any of those humble records, or cassettes that were distributed later, are still being used in some remote mountain village of this war-torn nation.


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The "CardTalk" cardboard record player - The simple but ingenious CardTalk cardboard player was developed to play phonograph records without electricity.