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The Sydney studio recently received a batch of new recordings that Dalene Joubert made in Mozambique last year. The recordings included scripts from the LLL, GN and TLC picture series in the languages of SENA, PORTUGUESE and NYUNGWE. We have made copy masters of these recordings on cassette to send back to Dalene in South Africa for duplication and distribution. It's exciting to be involved in the work of the Lord even in distant Mozambique.
About Makhuwan belief
Mountains and hills play an important role in the Makhuwa belief system. They believe the Makhuwa originated from the mountain called "Namuli". A certain cave in the mountain is the womb from which they and many animals came. There is reputed to be a female footprint outside the cave - so the mountain is seen as feminine and their mother. This fits the matrilineal family structure of the Makhuwas. They believe that at death, the spirit of the dead person goes back to Mt Namuli. The journey takes three days, so a gift of food must be provided for the journey. The mountain is very sacred and is to be treated with respect.
A missionary writes from Mozambique
"Liz's work with the ladies has been going well. Thank you for praying. Since our last letter she has been using Language Recordings material to present God's story, starting with creation. The ladies love the colourful pictures and there's always plenty of discussion. Pray for God's Spirit to be at work in the hearts and lives of these dear women."
The Makhuwa Xirima
The Makhuwa Xirima people live in the Northwest of Mozambique. There are about half a million of them and literacy is less than 20% (functional). In some areas there are a few churches. Some communities are totally unreached.
During the late 1990s Dalene Joubert established contact with a Reformed Church pastor who works among the Makhuwa. A partnership was formed to develop audio and audio-visual materials to equip the few missions and believers there with vernacular recordings, which will help them reach out to many still bound in animism and superstition. The partnership involved GRN South Africa (GNM), local believers and Dutch Reformed Missionaries. Together the decision was made to record the "Look Listen and Live" (LLL) Bible story series. (An 8 part series covering much of the Old Testament, the Gospels and The Acts of the Apostles. ) MAF played a part by flying Dalene into the area and GRN USA helped out with the travel costs. Others have also played a part. The translation of the commentaries, and pre-checking of the translated content, took about 4 years.
Making the recordings is hard work!
Dalene writes, "... it was not always that much fun... about 50 hours of testing voice levels, sometimes recording even one word at a time (and there were about 100 pages to record), discovering translation errors, debating about the correct words in Xirima, correcting mistakes, re-recording, listening back to double-check, correcting mistakes that we missed before while constantly chasing noisy animals away from the recording room... to get recordings of good quality with faultless content."
They discovered that putting the chickens under big clay pots tricked the chickens into thinking it was night time and they went to sleep! It was the only way to keep them quiet.
The power of story
Dalene also writes, "Halfway through the recordings, it became clear to me again how useful and powerful story-telling really is in this area. Nobody makes up a story around here just for the fun of escaping reality. Every story told, has a deeper meaning and listeners will ponder on stories for days to find out how the lesson behind the story concerns them.... The direct 'confrontational' methods we know in the western world are simply not on!"
Currently Dalene is editing, programming and testing the recordings. Distribution is planned for January/February 2006.
Will you pray?
Pray for Dalene as she finishes the preparation. Pray for those who will distribute and use the recordings. Pray especially for the Makhuwa Xirima people that, when they hear the words of eternal life, they will respond and turn in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ and become part of his family. Hopefully, later in 2006 we will be able to tell something about the impact of these recordings among the Makhuwa Xirima people.