It Has More Meaning

By Rachel Greco

After months of delays due to COVID-19 restrictions, visa issues, and scheduling difficulties, Lauren Runia was finally able to host the advanced media training for the Scripture Media Ministry team based in the islands of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

This team dubs Scripture-based films in people’s languages and also records audio Scripture. Then it distributes the films and audio recordings via SD cards and MegaVoices—portable, solar-powered devices that play recorded Scripture.

A boy listens Scripture on his new audio Scripture player

The team came together at the SIL Center in Kavieng, PNG, for spiritual encouragement and to learn how to prepare video scripts using a new software, update the recording and editing software programs and learn their new features, plan for upcoming video dubbing and New Testament recording projects, record the Gospel of John video, dub a section of the Genesis video in the Mandara language, and more!

“By God’s gracious enabling, we were able to accomplish our ambitious list of goals,” said Lauren, the instructor and a staff member of International Media Services*.

The team upgraded its audio interfaces to new devices using funds that people like you gave to JAARS Media Solutions. Thank you! The new devices convert the microphone signal to a digital signal that the computer uses to digitally record the sound. The devices have features that the older ones didn’t, making them superior. “The team found [these devices] to work great!” Lauren said.

Another focus of the trip was distribution. While Lauren instructed, his coworker, Norm Gardner, compiled all the Mandara audio files that were to go on the MegaVoices.

There are approximately 7,000 Mandara speakers spread around the three islands in the Tabar Islands group. The Mandara translation team finished translating the New Testament in 2009 and has started translating the Old Testament. Having completed the book of Genesis, they were eager to begin dubbing sections of the Genesis video. They decided to start with the story of Joseph.

So, after a week of training at the SIL Center in Kavieng, the Scripture Media Ministry team traveled to Tabar Island to dub the Joseph section of the Genesis video. The trip involved a three-hour drive to the place where they loaded all their gear into a small boat and proceeded across the ocean on a two-and-a-half-hour trip.

The Scripture Media Ministry team in the midst of recording the Genesis film.

The recording went smoothly, benefitting from expressive readers who were well-prepared. Lauren and Norm observed and mentored the team, particularly as they were getting used to the new equipment.

During the team’s first Sunday in the village, the local church held a special dedication for the Gospel of John video that had been previously dubbed and the MegaVoices and SD cards that the team had brought with them. These devices were loaded with the Mandara audio New Testament, children’s songs, hymns, and the audio version of the Gospel of John. Almost all of the MegaVoices and SD cards were distributed; some would be distributed in the neighboring villages.

On the team’s last night in the village, they showed the draft copy of the Joseph section of the Genesis film. This was the first time the people had watched the full Gospel of John video and the Joseph section in the Mandara language. The children gathered in front of the screen, and the adults found places to sit under trees and roofs in anticipation of the evening rains. “It was exciting to see the crowd’s excitement and full attention as they watched and listened to the Scripture through these videos,” Lauren recalled.

Village residents watching the John video in their language

The team also made the 20-minute boat ride to Simberi Island and showed the Seven Days of Creation and Gospel of John videos there.

During the scene in the Gospel of John video in which Jesus heals the blind man, a young man leaned over to Lauren and said, “I know that story, but now when I see Jesus healing the man and hear him speaking in my language, it is very clear and has more meaning.”

According to Lauren, “This trip would not have happened without [the] contribution [of JAARS]. We appreciate so much the funding and prayer support that JAARS has given to this work.”

God’s Word is impacting lives in the islands region of PNG as a result of your gifts! Thank you!

Consider giving to Media Solutions so that more people can see and hear God’s truth in their own language.

*A division under SIL, a JAARS partner