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Dan and Kay Finley work with Lutheran Bible Translators in Guatemala. Here they tell of their ministry, in partnership with Global Recordings Network and Wycliffe Bible Translators, to develop audio/video media to bring the good news to those who don't read.
Throughout the world millions of people still have not heard the message of salvation from God's Word. Over 2000 language groups have no portion of God's Word in a language they understand well. In those language groups where a New Testament has been completed, many of the people are not applying those translated Scriptures to their daily lives.
Often the problem is one of literacy. However, not knowing how to read should not limit one's opportunity to learn about God. Vernacular media addresses this need by developing materials with an emphasis on audio and video rather than printed words. Non-readers are becoming interested in recorded Bible stories, flip charts, and filmstrips that illustrate Bible stories. Tapes of local hymns and scripture verses are also popular since people in oral societies tend to memorize quickly. The result is a renewed interest in hearing God's Word and applying it to their lives.
The Finleys are working with the translation, literacy, and scripture use teams in Guatemala, employing these new techniques to stimulate interest within the indigenous churches in Guatemala and encouraging them to use their mother tongue Scriptures.
Garífuna Scripture Use
The Garífuna language is used in the coastal areas of Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize along the Bay of Honduras. Fellow Lutheran Bible Translators missionaries Allen and Sheri Larsen, Scripture Use team assigned to this language group, asked for assistance in producing multimedia presentations for use in their ministry. This has enabled Dan and Kay to travel to the Puerto Barrios and Livingston areas of Guatemala and the La Ceiba area of Honduras for audio recording. They recorded the native Garífuna speakers who read Scripture portions and sang songs to be used in the production of various media presentations. In addition to the audio recordings Dan used images developed by Global Recordings Network to make a basic video presentation the Garífuna language community can use now and for years to come.
In 2006, Finleys and Larsens worked together to produce a VHS tape of the crucifixion story and an SVCD (video CD) of a variety of New Testament stories from 1 Peter and Mark. In addition to the images from GRN, digital photos were taken of drawings made by school children depicting the various Bible stories.
Buhutu Translation and Scripture Use
The Buhutu language is used along the southern coast of Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.
In early 2005 Dan received a newsletter from a Wycliffe Bible Translators missionary which told how the Global Recordings Network "Good News" story had been translated and recorded in the Buhutu language. Since Dan and Kay had just finished recording the same story in the Uspanteco language, they were very familiar with the story and Dan volunteered to use the Buhutu recording to make a menu driven DVD of the "Good News".
In February 2006 the Wycliffe missionary took the completed DVD and a portable DVD player with him to Ipoili village where he has been working on the New Testament translation for nearly 20 years. The DVD was shown to several churches and schools in the Sagarai Valley area where the majority of the Buhutu speakers live. The DVD was enjoyed by all audiences, especially the Buhutu song and picture portions as many of the viewers were also in the photos.
The following is a quote from the missionary, "One of the Sunday School teachers put it this way: 'The children are all very interested when they see the stories on the screen -- Much more so than when I just hold up the picture in a book!" And that I think sums it up. A multimedia presentation is intrinsically more interesting than print media for kids.