The Blind See

By Rachel Greco

What pocket-sized device acts as a training workshop, translation office, recording studio, print shop, delivery truck, and bicycle all rolled into one?

A smartphone inserted with the developing Story Producer App (SP App).

When Robin Rempel came to work in the International Media Services (IMS) department at JAARS several years ago, she saw some amazing templates IMS had developed for producing slide-show styled Bible story videos. But the technology to translate and distribute them on the field was intimidating and difficult. So usage of these beautiful Bible-story videos was hindered by their own technology.

Robin with some Kenyan friends

Until now.

“I’ve seen first-hand that smartphones are the electronic device of choice for the people that we’re seeking to reach with the gospel,” Robin explains. “They’re affordable for people to own personally.” That’s why if the complicated process of producing the videos could be transferred to a simple app on a phone, local people would have an efficient tool for generating quality materials in their own languages, in their own contexts, to disciple their own people.

Now that is beginning to happen!

This summer Robin traveled to East Africa to field-test version one of the SP App and train people to use it. “I went expecting to train representatives from three-five language communities in Kenya,” Robin relates. “But the Lord supplied personal invitations and opened doors to Uganda as well.” So in five consecutive weeks, in five different venues, Robin and her Kenyan apprentice team trained people from eight different language communities to use the SP App.

The participants in the training first internalized a complete Bible story in a major language like English from a template in the app. Then, picture by picture, they verbally drafted a translation into their local language and revised the draft.

After the story translators finished a draft, other local community members checked to ensure that the meaning of the translation was natural and clear. Finally, the audio translation was consultant-checked for accuracy, and the consultant then unlocked the production function on the app so the team could proceed with the publication of their story.

Recording under a blanket

Once the team completed their dubbing activities, a few taps enabled the app to produce a video in the local language. This Bible story could then be shared from phone to phone via Bluetooth and internet, making the distribution process better than a delivery truck or bicycle for transporting the completed message.

Working on the SP App

At the end of his three-day training, Pastor James, an SP App user from Uganda reported, “It’s so helpful to have tools with quick results and impact; it really encourages us! For example, Jennifer [another team member] was invited to the SP app training, but she only committed to one day. After the first day when we produced our first video, she was so happy and decided to stay.”

Having fun with the Story Producer App

One local lady said that the app “is helping some people who cannot talk English, who cannot read in our language. And it’s helping those people who cannot see, whose eyes are dead. Thank you; thank you for that.”

Yes, thank you. You are helping the blind see and the dead live when you partner with JAARS. We couldn’t do this important work without you!

Learn how you can become involved in helping others see and live through his Word.