Our First Time

By Karissa Uhlig

The Mamusi people watched and listened in awe as the JESUS film appeared on the screen. For the first time ever, they were hearing the words of Jesus in their own language. The Mamusi JESUS film project, completed in November 2020, was not without its challenges, however. 

The Mamusi translation team in training

Stanley Gereo, a recording technician with the Papua New Guinea Islands’ Scripture Media Ministry, had to travel from his home on the remote island, Lambom, to Sivauna village, where the Mamusi people live, to record the Mamusi translation of the JESUS film script. His trip was an arduous one. 

Mamusi JESUS Film recording

The easiest way for Stanley to make this journey would have been by dinghy to Kokopo and then by ship from Rabaul to the Rano port in the Mamusi language group. The COVID-19 restrictions prevented him from doing that, so after he arrived in Kokopo, he had to travel on a small aircraft to an airstrip on Jackquino Bay on East New Britain. He faced a big disadvantage, however, because he couldn’t take his small generator and fuel on the aircraft. Since Sivauna doesn’t have electricity, he needed the generator to supply power to his recording equipment. What was Stanley supposed to do without the generator and fuel? 

And getting to his next stop, Sivauna village, brought a further challenge. The village was on top of a mountain, accessible only by a four-wheel drive vehicle. Then Aaron Wade, the translator for the Mamusi people, saved the day with his four-wheel drive vehicle! After he found someone in the village who had a generator Stanley could use, he drove all the way from Sivauna to Jackquino Bay where Stanley was waiting for him along with some fuel he had purchased for the generator.  

Aaron picked Stanley up and took him and his fuel supply to the top of the mountain. After a long four-hour trip over rough roads, Stanley finally made it to Sivauna! 

The Mamusi people were overjoyed to see Stanley; they had been eagerly waiting for him to arrive. They had been practicing their lines for the recording in preparation for his arrival. 

The translation checking team

Thanks to Stanley’s dedicated efforts, the dubbing only took two weeks. Stanley was excitedly preparing to show the draft version of the Mamusi JESUS film to the Mamusi people when a sad event occurred. Right before the showing, an elderly man, the father of Bonifas, who had been helping Stanley, died. The Mamusi people felt it wouldn’t be appropriate to show the film on a big screen for everyone in the wake of this sad occasion. 

Instead, Stanley and his team decided to show the film to a small group of people in the translation house so they could review the quality. As Bonifas and several Mamusi people watched the JESUS film, their mourning turned to outright joy: they saw and heard Jesus speak to them in their language for the first time! Some of the people had tears of joy streaming down their faces. As they watched the film, some said to Stanley, “This is our first time hearing and seeing God’s Word!” 

The final approved version of the Mamusi JESUS film has now arrived in Papua New Guinea, and the Mamusi language communities are preparing to celebrate its arrival. 

Without the hard work of people like Stanley, Aaron, the rest of the translation team, and people like you giving to Media Solutions, it would not have been possible for the Mamusi people to hear and see God’s Word for the first time. What a wonderful blessing that Stanley and Aaron were able to surmount numerous obstacles to share the gospel with the Mamusi people!   

Your gifts to Media Solutions enable people like the Mamusi to experience the joy of hearing the gospel for the first time.