Communities Receive Healing Through Media Training

By mike_dickerman

Media specialists in training strive to make sure that the dubbed voices match the actors’ movements in the video, “O Papa God.” Local languages help the videos to be understood and promote community health through God’s Word.
Media specialists in training strive to make sure that the dubbed voices match the actors’ movements in the video, “O Papa God.” Local languages help the videos to be understood and promote community health through God’s Word.

“This is powerful! We need this in our language! Our people need to see this!”

What evoked such a response from the Kamano-Kafe* translation team? It was the DVD produced by a church in Papua New Guinea several years ago depicting the devastation of AIDS. The story focuses on one family in which the parents contract the disease through the husband’s unfaithfulness. The story goes on to show the tragic effects on the wife and children.

After obtaining permission to reproduce the 80-minute film in minority languages, media specialist Lauren Runia utilized new technology to pull the video from a DVD and prepare it for recording. Then he and his wife, Connie, spent a month in PNG training five highly capable men to record the voices, dub the sound onto the film, and create the DVDs.

As part of the men’s training, they recorded and produced the film in the Kamano-Kafe language, completing it by the end of the training. It was sold on SD cards and on DVDs just in time for Christmas!

In the future, these trainees will work closely with the PNG churches to make this powerful tool available to local communities in their heart languages. In fact, it is already having an impact on the people who helped produce it. One of the church elders who served as a voice on the recording was very excited as he told the team, “There are many places I want to show this video!” A woman who played the voice of the mother on the film was so touched by the plight of the children in the story that she was genuinely crying as she read her lines.

The first case of AIDS in PNG appeared in 1987 and since then it has been spreading rapidly. The film is needed to teach the causes and effects of this devastating illness. Zach, one of the film trainees, declared, “Many men and women will change their lives by watching this video.” He explained, “Because it is in their own language, it talks straight to the heart!”

The Great Commission and the second Greatest Commandment work hand in hand. We are constantly reminded of two things: tools, training, and solutions are received well and sustained longer in the context of loving, biblical relationships … and that personal and community benefits in the here and now open hearts and doors for gospel witness.

Media specialists Lauren and Connie Runia received training in recording and production through International Media Services here on the JAARS campus. In 2014, your generous gifts to the Where Needed Most fund provided quick funding for equipment sent to PNG for the Runias to then teach local media specialists how to create oral recordings of Scripture and Bible stories in many of the more than 800 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea. Since then, the Runias have made annual training trips to PNG.

*Kamano-Kafe is spoken by about 63,000 Papuans in the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea.

Reprinted with permission from The PNG Experience December 2016.