A Good Place to Hear about Jesus
Somebody once said that now the biggest screen in the world is the phone. Nearly everyone today—young and old—has a cellphone, and with that device comes more opportunities to hear the gospel and watch gospel-centered videos.
Christians are taking advantage of this easy means of sharing information to flood various channels with Scripture content. “We have to create content so that when they’re looking at their phone, they will also see [that content],” Elvis Tangko, the Language Media Service manager at SIL Cameroon,* said.
A Job That’s also a Passion
Elvis took an audio course subsidized by JAARS Media Solutions in fall 2022 in Cameroon, which was conducted by Andreas Ernst, the director of training and equipping at International Media Services with SIL.
After the course, Elvis started working with Christians in a local church to produce audio dramas. These dramas require good audio, but when editing the audio, they almost always had to deal with background noise such as birds, cars, or conversations. “And if you don’t know how to use the software to take out all these sounds or to clean it, it’s a big issue,” Elvis explained.
In this audio course, Elvis learned to develop radio dramas using an oral participatory process that builds on local testimonies. Also, the course taught him how to clean up the noise. “Our audio now sounds much better than what we used before,” he said.
Elvis also learned about the best kind of equipment for producing quality sound and how easy it was to go down the road and interview people about spiritual matters and turn these interviews into highly engaging documentaries. Before, he had wondered, “How can I share the Word of God to people in an interactive [way] so they can [later] hear it on the radio, WhatsApp, or Facebook?” Thanks to this course, Elvis is confident that he can take a Zoom recorder with him down the road and ask people about difficult things such as COVID-19 and how God might be working through those things.
Elvis can also now partner with churches to produce radio dramas. He first asks what is happening in their community that they want to address; then they talk about what the Bible says about that situation.
They decided to focus the radio drama on marriage and turned it into a film, which one of the pastors shared with more than 1,000 people.
Elvis made the radio drama into a film with the help of a video course that is also run by Andreas and subsidized by people like you giving to Media Solutions. Thank you!
Elvis had wanted to make films for a long time but didn’t know how to go about it. “But through this video course, I was confident enough that I can take the camera and go down the road and make a video.”
Most of the videos he has created have been of gospel music, and they’ve been uploaded onto YouTube along with five episodes of the marriage-themed film, Let Me Marry. One episode deals with the problem that results if a man pays a bride price for his wife but doesn’t return to marry her: The woman is stuck, unable to move on. The team hopes to shed light on what Jesus teaches about marriage through this video and the others in the series.
Elvis loves his job: “It’s wonderful and a blessing to have a job that is your passion.”
Learning Through Mistakes
Joséphine Porimaté who is from Benin, Africa, works in the department of Scripture promotion. She attended video and audio workshops like the ones Elvis attended. When she returned to her community after the first course, she began making videos, commercials, and dramas in French and also in her Waama language. She had no reliable equipment so she recorded them on her phone and then processed them on Audacity.
She posted them on social networks for feedback. “The listeners called me to express appreciation and encourage me, and others called to give me feedback.”
After the second year of training, Joséphine used her parents’ phones to train three of her nieces to take pictures and create a film based on techniques she had learned. After a week of learning, her nieces served as videographers as she made a 10-minute film. Then she edited it according to what she had been taught in the workshops. “It was not perfect, but I do not regret having tried it, because I learned through my mistakes.”
Now, with Andreas’ help, Joséphine leads some of the audio and video workshops. “Leading a course is one of those occasions when the Lord transforms us,” she recalled. While leading her first workshop, Joséphine learned to accept the mistakes of others and to be gentle and rigorous at the same time.
Joséphine looks forward to how the Lord will continue to teach her as she teaches others.
Both Elvis and Joséphine remind us of the importance of investing in people who are passionate about media so they can pass on the skills they acquire, multiplying the efforts of local churches and ministry partners as they share the gospel in Africa.
How are you serving the Lord with your gifts and passions? See if God is calling you to use them at JAARS here.
*A partner of JAARS