By Gary Phillips, February 2008
Recently I had an opportunity through the ministry where I am currently employed (Legacy Ministries International) to go on a missions trip with a Highschool group to France and England. When a missionary from GRN found out he immediately asked if I would be willing to take some language recordings along with me. I had been told over and over to pack light and don't bring anything extra as I would be carrying everything with me most of the time during this trip.
I debated the request many times over before finally saying O.K. I explained that I would have limited space for extra items and the missionary assured me that what I would be carrying would not take much space. Because I was already bringing a laptop he was able to limit me to a small portable hard drive and a few CD-Rs.
This small hard drive held the Gospel Message recorded in over 4000 languages. Each of the languages were coded and a guide to understanding the codes was also on the hard drive. Wherever I went if a Pastor or Missionary had use for any of the recordings I could share them by burning them a CD of the language or languages they had need of. It all sounded pretty simple, this should be a breeze.
The first place we went in France was a Baptist Church in Paris. Our team was to minister to the church through some minor remodeling projects and by participating in a church service the following Sunday. When I told the Pastor about the recordings he immediately seemed interested. He said that he would get with me later in the week and see what I had. The days went quick and he had not mentioned the recordings again.
Sunday came and it was our last day in Paris, I thought that he had forgotten and I was debating if I should bother him. He was very busy as 2 people who had attended the morning service had accepted Christ that morning and he was busy praying and talking with them. As soon as he was finished with the new converts he came up to me and handed me a flash drive and said he wanted to see what recordings I had. It turns out that one of the people who had accepted Christ that morning was from Africa and he wanted to see if their language was on the hard drive.
I was not surprised that the exact language he was looking for was on the hard drive - Bulu from Cameroon. God knew that this person was getting saved that day and that I would be bringing with me tools to help them in their Christian walk. I was able to give the Pastor several different recordings of Algerian Arabic and Albanian Tosk. There were however some languages that he wanted that were not on the hard drive as only 4,000 of 5,500 languages are in a digital form. Hopefully they will get them all ready soon!
It was great experience to see God use this little portable hard drive. I was also able to give some of the recordings to the church members in London as well. They were planning a trip to Kosovo and I was able to give them some recordings in the Kosovo languages that they were looking for. I am glad that I didn't turn down the offer to bring the hard drive because I was afraid of carrying one more item in my luggage.
Navigating the hard drive proved to be cumbersome at times but with a little tweaking I think this could be a simple process that almost anyone could do with a few minutes of explanation. It was an honor to be able to carry this small package which proved to be so valuable. It still needs some work to be more user friendly, but hopefully many outreach teams will be able to use this tool.