The Bariai of PNG, the Saber, and a Question

A Bariai man using a <a href="/topic/saber">Saber</a>
A Bariai man using a Saber


Saber assembly in Prospect
Bariai children listening to a Saber
Graham and Ray assembling Sabers

The Bariai People of PNG

The Bariai people of West New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea provide a great illustration of how GRN's Saber players are used in the field.

In July 2012 the Bariai dedicated their newly translated scriptures with a grand celebration. The translation was the result of many years of work by Wycliffe Bible Translators.

In addition to the written portions, Wycliffe has made audio recordings of Genesis, several NT books, and the songs sung at the Scripture dedication. They have distributed about 120 GRN Saber players with this content throughout the Bariai people (population approx 1400 speakers), selling them at heavily subsidised prices.

The Saber

There is a very strong interest in purchasing and using the players by the people. In one village they said that listening to these players is like hearing the apostle Paul preaching directly to them. A large village sold out of the Sabers in one day and are asking for more. Other villages have also sold out. At the request of the people, Wycliffe plans to continue producing and adding audio content to the Sabers until all the Bariai scriptures are available.

It gives GRN great joy and a sense of satisfaction to hear of the Sabers being so well received and used to bring the Good News to a small language group in their heart language.

And A Question

GRN has an important question to answer. The printed circuit board of the current Saber is now out of production. Once we use our existing stock of parts we can make no more of the current model. But demand for the Saber has been falling as additional and different players have entered the market. The Saber has a niche in the market but our question is - is it big enough to justify designing and producing a new model?

There are so many audio players available today. Many are very cheap. Some are solar powered. Mobile phones are also increasingly popular and can often double as an audio player. Mains power is also increasingly available. These factors have led to a diminishing demand for Saber players.

The Saber has some unique attritbutes. It works very well in places where there is no reliable mains power, where the people cannot afford batteries, and where they like to listen in groups. The hand wind generator can power the Saber at any time and the loud clear speaker means that a large group can listen together.

It gives us great joy and a sense of satisfaction to hear of the Sabers being so well received and used to bring the Good News to a small language group in their heart language.

The Saber's other advantage is that it is a rugged and durable machine which should give many years of reliable service. This is especially important in more remote locations where it is not so easy to go out and buy a new player when the old one breaks. The quality of the Saber is also a disadvantage. It retails for $99 compared to $10 for a cheap player bought at the local market.

Re-designing and producing a new Saber model will be expensive and time consuming. Do enough people want them for it to be worthwhile making them?

Please pray with us as we make this important, strategic and expensive decision.

Please Pray With us

  • Pray for great wisdom as we seek God's leading regarding a new Saber model. Pray that we would know God's will in this matter.
  • Give thanks for the many thousands of Sabers which have been distributed around the world. Pray they would be well used to bring the Good News to many and result in God's kingdom growing.
  • Give thanks that the Bariai people of PNG have the scriptures in their own language. Pray that they would grow and mature in Christ as they listen to God's word.


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