Recording HIS-tory

Moments of laughter and joy during a recording trip
Moments of laughter and joy during a recording trip

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Recordists work with local language helpers
Improvised recording studios, lots of hours and loads of concentration.

Edited by Wendy Bytheway

This year GRN celebrates a 76-year legacy of recording Bible messages and stories. However, like an iceberg where only 10% of it is evident above the surface, a GRN recording represents a much bigger picture than initially realised.

Recordists are the GRN frontline in a spiritual war to make the Gospel available to people in their heart languages. These languages may not have a written form or the people may be oral communicators. The recording process involves dangerous situations, tedium and discomfort. (Compare this process however with the translation of a New Testament which takes anywhere from 5 to 20 years and the strategic value of audio recordings becomes clear.)

GRN recordings in over 6,000 languages testify to the diligence and passion of recordists to follow Christ's call to the ends of the earth. In sensitive countries they work unnamed for fear of reprisal or threat to their ongoing work.

Recordists travel long distances for many hours in order to find language groups that have no materials in their language. Accidents are commonplace on dangerous roads and vehicles often require maintenance mid-journey. Jonah, the Nigerian team driver, often fixes their van in very dangerous and uncomfortable places. Their recently replaced van had 268,000 miles on the clock when the odometer broke 10 years ago. A Congolese recordist writes, "Where I am based, to reach these rural areas . . . it is not easy! There is no taxi for transport we just pay the lorry and climb like a mountain. [sic]"

Away from conveniences of home and in harsh climates one recordist shares about the vulnerability to illness, "the nature and conditions under which we travel all the time either come with malaria from time to time or back pains." Another recordist referred to a state of "physical brokenness" felt when on recording trips.

To ensure authentic recordings, native speakers are recruited as language helpers. Working so closely together, recordists often develop good relationships with language helpers who may not be believers. On one occasion, the recording team in Thailand attended a wedding where the wife in one family said she wanted to receive Jesus. The team encouraged the whole family to consider following Jesus.

Following recording is the long and often tedious task of editing. This entails many hours of listening, re-listening, and checking the recording against the script most often in a language that they do not know. Many would echo this sentiment from one recordist's report, "I still feel like there is an overwhelming amount of editing to do."

Why do GRN recordists go to such great lengths to capture these recordings? A Filipino recordist speaks of the lessons he gained, "The greatest lesson I learned during the trip is that when you are in the midst of many trials, accusation, disappointment, and delayed functions, God's grace through our Lord Jesus Christ must be in all of my actions, decisions, words and approach to all people I work with, for God's glory!"

As in physical warfare, there is a high attrition rate. Please pray regularly for our recordists working in the field.

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