More Than a Teacher

By Rachel Greco

In the early morning of March 6, Steven Posai, a recording technician, left his village on Simberi Island, Papua New Guinea, to begin his trip to Lihir Island to record the JESUS film in the Lihir language.

He first stopped on Tatau Island to pick up the other recording technician, John Langagle. The next leg of their journey took them by dinghy on the open sea for five hours to Samo village on Lihir Island.

Approaching Samo village on Lihir Island

Once their boat touched the sand, villagers welcomed the technicians by stringing flower leis around their necks and singing hymns. The language team had recently finished translating the Gospel of Luke into the Lihir language, though it has yet to be printed and dedicated due to Covid-19. In the meantime, people were eager to record and watch the Gospel of Luke in film version.

Lihir women choir welcoming recording technicians

Steven and John set up their equipment—which JAARS helped provide through people like you—in two recording stations in two different houses. Their readers were people appointed beforehand by Lihir church leaders. Sherm Emil, a retired school teacher from the village, had been selected to read the part of Jesus.

When the church leadership and Thomas Andar, the Lihir translator, asked Sherm to consider reading the part of Jesus, he was hesitant at first.

He had never read any books in the Lihir language until the translation team finished Luke. Thomas encouraged Sherm, and after praying about it, he decided to take on the important role of Jesus.

While Sherm practiced and recorded the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke—reading them in his own language—God’s word touched his heart powerfully. He decided to work alongside Thomas to translate the remaining books of the New Testament.

Like Jesus, who was more than a teacher, Sherm became more than a retired teacher. He became someone able to hand out the Words of Life to friends and family in the words of their own language, words that went straight to their hearts.

After the technicians completed the recording for the JESUS film, they recorded the entire Gospel of Luke.

Celebration and excitement flooded the villages like a rainstorm as they gathered in the evening to watch the JESUS film. Many were moved by the film’s message of light and hope, and it was evident God was working on people’s hearts.

On the technicians’ last day on Lihir Island, the people prepared a big farewell meal and thanked them for coming to their remote island to help them have the JESUS film made into their own language.

Thank you too for making it possible for the Lihir people to learn about the God who loves them! To ensure other people in remote locations can hear God’s Word, consider giving to our Media Solutions.