Yet, in many areas of the world people increasingly turn to the Internet for information, including God’s Word. Such vastly different needs present unique challenges to our Bible translation partners—and to JAARS as we seek solutions to make God’s Word accessible to all.
Experience shows our partners that God’s Word can be most powerful for an oral people group if they hear it or see it. Providing Scripture in audio or visual form—a form most engaging and and clearly understandable to the people—ensures that they’re much more likely to study, understand, and share it. Videos and solar-powered audio players can make all the difference.
The expanding use of computers, netbooks, or mobile devices to access the Internet poses a very different challenge. Worldwide, for the 3.5 billion people who have Internet access, websites and mobile phone apps are critical features for encouraging the use of Scripture. Developing these media advances takes studios, training, equipment, and plenty of innovation.
“That was God’s Word … and I listened!”
– Iaina, a North Tanna speaker in Vanuatu, who wiped away tears as she held an audio player and listened to Scriptures in her language for the first time
We partner with a media team that works in the eastern islands region of Papua New Guinea and in the nearby Solomon Islands. They have trained several local men to make audio recordings of Scriptures that have been translated into regional languages. Their recordings are then uploaded to solar-powered audio Scripture players—like the Audibible and MegaVoice—provided by JAARS for distribution to local communities. Scriptures recorded as MP3 files can be transferred to rugged Secure Digital (SD) cards and distributed for use with mobile phones.
For years we have teamed with a media organization that works worldwide with local people teaching them to create Scripture-centered websites and mobile apps in their local languages. On these specialized websites, people can find, read, listen to, and watch God’s Word—all in their own language. Currently, more than 578 websites and 1,007 apps are live, representing languages in 56 countries.
A regional recording studio in Asia—designed, built, and equipped by JAARS—serves a number of translation projects in the area. With our ongoing support, a trained staff teaches workshops for local translation teams. These teams use the studio to record Scripture, worship songs, and more, all in multiple languages. To date the recording studio has impacted 23 language communities through these recordings and audio and video products.
We provided the equipment and software our media specialist partners used to train five local recordists from Papua New Guinea’s eastern islands region. They are now able to create Bible apps for mobile phones, dub the JESUS film in local languages, and record and duplicate Scripture videos.
Children and adults alike love to listen to recorded Bible stories. Whole communities will be able to gather to see the JESUS film in their own language. Small groups will be able to meet and listen to and discuss recorded Scripture passages. Pastors of local churches make their worship services more meaningful when they use worship songs created and recorded in the language of their congregations.
For people living in countries where having a Bible is prohibited and risky, access to websites and apps featuring Scripture in their heart language is a godsend.
We invite you to come alongside us—in prayer, with advocacy, and as “gospel patrons” who can help fund this eternal work. Help us ensure that people groups who don’t read have God’s Word close at hand, ready to bring transformation and hope to their lives.