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Significant events along our 70-year journey
By Allan Starling
What's in a Name?
A change of name often signifies an important milestone in the life of a person or organization. A bride will change her name to signify her new relationship. In scripture both God and Jesus changed the names of people who came into new relationships with them. In Hindu and Muslim countries, converts to Christianity often change their names. Our mission has had several name changes over the last 70 years, and each of them has been linked to a significant change.
The Original Vision
When Joy Ridderhof first conceived the idea of using records to reach oral communicators in Honduras, she named her fledgling mission Spanish Gospel Recordings. Putting her vision into practice with no financial backing or technical expertise demanded a huge step of faith. She faced many hurdles like finding speakers and singers, making the recordings, manufacturing the records and getting them into the hands of the Spanish-speaking people in Honduras. It wasn't long before the recordings were finding their way all over Latin America. But even so the vision was limited to one language - Spanish. And this was reflected in the name.
Then one day someone came to Joy with a request that would usher in a huge change in focus.
The Second Language - Navajo
A missionary asked Joy if she could make recordings in the Navajo language. Although the request seemed simple enough, and the missionaries were prepared to travel to Los Angeles bringing a Navajo with them, why did Joy hesitate? If she made records for the Navajo, why not records for other peoples as well? Where would it end?
Larry Allmon former executive director of Gospel Recordings wrote: "Joy Ridderhof's decision to record the second language of Navajo in 1941 was a landmark in the history of world evangelization. This change in focus enabled Gospel Recordings to extend the good news to peoples speaking nearly 6000 languages! This mission has played no small part in the Lord's still-to-be-fulfilled promise that 'this gospel shall be proclaimed...to all peoples.'" And so the name of the mission was shortened to Gospel Recordings.
As Gospel Recordings grew, branches were opened in various countries, with Los Angeles as headquarters. In February 1993 delegates from around the world met in London to form a new umbrella organization with twenty interdependent member countries, each with its own local board and staff, making it a truly international organization. The new relationship gave eventual expression to a new name: Global Recordings Network.
The most important names are those of people from every language, tribe and nation that will be inscribed in the Lamb's Book of Life. Many of them will be there because they listened to a GRN recording in their language.