Real-Life Struggles Dramatized

By Rachel Greco

Andreas Ernst, the director of training and equipping at International Media Services with SIL*, grew up in a family of mission workers in rural Cameroon. Exposed to Bible translation and literacy from an early age, he saw that although developing people’s ability to read was an important aspect of community development, it was nothing compared with the local community’s interest in audio-visual products in their language.

“The more I reflected on the impact of [certain audio-visual projects],” Andreas explained, “the more I realized that audio-visual media not only spoke to a much larger percentage of the community, but also had the power to significantly raise their interest in written materials.”

Andreas also learned that Scripture engagement is all about dialogue and interacting with other people. One of the best ways to do this is by creating radio dramas, in which local people can act out real-life topics that their community struggles with.

To this end, Andreas and his team hold workshops in Africa for radio personnel, people working with local Bible translation organizations or ministries, and workers in other ministries. Workshop participants learn how to design and produce locally relevant Christian media products such as Scripture dramas, radio dramas, local films, and music videos to share the truth of Scripture in a tangible way.

At the end of the course, each student received a certificate of completion.

A recent two-week workshop in Kara, Togo, taught the 20 participants how to record and produce local video content in local languages. They also learned about videos’ various uses: education, entertainment, and boosting participation in local Bible translation projects.

A challenge for the trainers was the large size of the class. Giving feedback took a lot of time, and maintaining the attention of the participants during hot or less-interactive sessions was difficult. But thankfully, most of the course consisted of completing hands-on video projects. The participants worked together to create a variety of videos including image-based Bible-story videos and a short educational film about the tension between the use of local languages and instruments in worship versus the use of foreign languages and modern instruments. They also created a music video and an advocacy video based on interviews.

“The hands-on video projects were welcomed by the students with excitement, including much collaboration in teams—as they worked together,” Andreas said.

Recording part of a video

Thanks to people like you giving to JAARS Media Solutions, we were able to help subsidize some of the video equipment. Thank you!

The participants who completed the workshop are planning to make good use of their new skills. Timothée, the director of a media-training school in Togo, hopes to offer the same course at his institute. Franck runs a ministry for people affected by albinism and wants to make informational videos and films.

One participant is studying oral Bible translation, and his school sent him to take the course because of its strong connection between drama and media. Many other participants work in specific languages, in which they hope to create content for Scripture engagement.

Praise the Lord that these 20 people now have the tools they need to share the gospel via media!

Your gifts to JAARS Media Solutions give people more opportunities to interact with God’s Word. Hear more testimonies about the importance of radio drama by clicking here.

*A JAARS partner