Spreading the Good News in every language
Global Recordings Network aims to reach every nation with the Word of God
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From gramophones to smartphone apps, Global Recordings (GRN) has been striving to tell the story of Jesus in every language for 75 years.
Canadian executive director David Elliott explains with new technology comes more opportunities for recording and distributing the gospel for smaller language groups that have been overlooked.
GRN’s mobile app receives thousands of downloads every month from around the world. Even in areas where electricity is scarce, cell phones are bringing stories of Jesus on SD cards, and nearly every GRN recording is also available for free download off its website, including resources for evangelism and Bible teaching.
However, steep challenges remain for reaching small language groups.
Elliott says roughly roughly one-third of the Earth’s population doesn’t have access to the gospels due to language or literacy barriers. And while GRN has produced 13 million recordings since 1939, there are still 4,000 languages with no translation of the Bible.
Elliott was recently in Nairobi, and encountered two such language groups, though local missionaries explained the groups are dominantly Muslim and resistant to the gospel.
“That is a challenge,” Elliott says.
But more than anything missionaries are asking for more materials and stories that will connect with these people.
“When you look back at the New Testament, Christ told parables,” Elliott explains, with images and characters taken from everyday life to illustrate His message, stirring hearts with imagination and illustrations. Since its beginning, GRN has followed Christ’s method and used Bible stories to communicate spiritual truths. Many of these groups come from oral cultures accustommed to storytelling.
“Often we find people play the recordings over and over to memorize it,” Elliott says.
One memorable example happened several years ago, says Elliott. A missionary couple from another mission was assigned to go to an unreached tribe in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) in Africa. When they arrived they were amazed to find that this supposedly unreached tribe already knew about Jesus. Fifteen years before, one of the GRN teams had made recordings for this tribe in their language. The people had memorized all the stories on those recordings and had known about the way of salvation for all those years before any missionary arrived.
Today, lives are still captivated and convicted by Bible stories, Elliott says, adding that to be most effective, the stories must be told with a local voice, without the distraction of a foreign accent. This combination of Bible stories, a local voice and the prayers of God's people help the old, old story transform lives the world over.
Another challenge facing GRN is training. With workers in 40 countries, finding people in specialized fields like linguistics or with technical skills to produce the recordings can be difficult. Finding a local translator among an unreached group can also be a challenge.
Through it all, as GRN’s prayer app suggests, prayer is key in this line of work.
“Other times we are surprised how God has raised the right people up who are quite willing to help,” Elliott says.
An international prayer coordinator at GRN helps unite supporters through regular prayer and enable God’s work in His timing.
Currently GRN is looking for those with a burden for unreached language groups to join them in their work, looking for those with audio, computer and software development skills, as well as those who can share the vision for GRN in their region. Financial support is also a real need, Elliott says, in continuing their vital work.
To learn more about GRN or support their vision, go here.
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