Called According to His Purpose
The JESUS film for the Lihir people was almost finished. However, one crucial part was incomplete—Jesus’ voice! Lauren Runia, the media consultant who was helping with the project, realized that the sound in some of the sections where Jesus spoke were unclear. The recording equipment had malfunctioned, so the team needed to re-record the parts where Jesus speaks with better equipment. And as one could imagine, these made up a significant portion of the film!
Thus, Stanley Gereo, a recording technician with a JAARS-supported organization, Papua New Guinea Islands’ Scripture Media Ministry, had to locate the man who had originally provided Jesus’ voice—Sam Orim, a member of the Lihir people group.
Another problem arose, however, in the effort to re-record Jesus’ voice: Sam couldn’t travel from his village on Lihir Island to the regional center in Kokopo on the island of New Britain to redo the recording because of an illness. Stanley considered going to Sam’s village, Samo, to record him, but the COVID-19 lockdown prevented that.
As soon as the lockdown was lifted, Stanley traveled to Samo to check on him. The three-day trip took Stanley from Lambom island to Kokopo and then to the island of New Ireland. When he arrived at the village, he was amazed to see Sam coming to greet him. Sam was healed! He had been able to leave the hospital that day.
After giving Sam a day to recover and settle back in, Stanley helped him record the necessary clips of Jesus’ voice. Sam was honored to be able to speak the words of Jesus aloud once again, and he told Stanley his story.
Sam had been a primary school teacher for years and had recently retired. He had wanted to do something meaningful during his retirement; the chance to record Jesus’ voice provided him with a sense of purpose.
Sam was deeply moved to hear the words of Jesus in his own language. After he first recorded the words of Jesus in his language, he realized while lying in a hospital bed that he could die from the infection in his legs. He wanted more than anything to keep living and contribute to God’s global purpose. He made a commitment to God: If the Lord healed him of his illness, he would continue to further the work of Bible translation in any way possible. He reflected on how he had been moved by hearing the words of Jesus in his own language and decided that he wanted other people to be able to experience that as well.
Though the recording had been delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown, Stanley realized from Sam’s testimony that God had a greater plan in store. If Sam hadn’t spent time in the hospital, he probably wouldn’t have committed his life to Bible translation in such a profound way. The time in the hospital allowed Sam to reflect on his life and decide that he wanted to give his all to the Lord. Sam’s testimony showcases the truth of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”