Technology in PNG

the following is courtesy Adam Boyd's Blog.

(Adam is a fellow co-laborer in PNG and we have worked together and talked about technology and the use of audio in PNG)

When we launch the book of Mark and Abraham Story in Enga the week of October 12, our primary focus will be distribution through solar-powered audio players called Audibibles. Most Engans (and Papua New Guineans for that matter) have never learned how to read in their own language, and often they are not interested in learning because reading is not a strong part of the culture. So if you hand an Engan a printed Bible in their own language, they will likely never read it. If you hand them an Audibible, however, they will listen to it over and over, as will most everybody else who lives in their village. In the oral cultures of Papua New Guinea, audio recordings are the best way to share God's Word. And when the battery runs out, they can just put the Audibible out in the sunlight to charge!

Enga Bible App

In addition to the Audibible, Enga will also be one of the first languages in Papua New Guinea and the world to have a smart phone app. The smart phone app highlights the text of the Scripture sentence-by-sentence as the audio recording plays. We have found that the same people who would never read a printed Bible will immediatley engage with the Enga Bible App and try to read along with the recording. (Engans love technology!) And those who have learned to read in English or Tok Pisin can fairly easily transfer those skills over to Enga with a little practice. So the Enga Bible app not only gives people the Word of God in their own language, but it also teaches them how to read.

Some of you may be thinking, "What good is a smart phone app for people who have no electricity?" Good question! The reality, however, is that even people who live in remote villages without electricity often have cell phones, and they find all sorts of creative ways to charge them. Smart phones are just now reaching the price range ($35) where the average Papua New Guinean can purchase them. We have gone to villages in Enga where there was no electricity only to be shocked to find the villagers taking video of us with their smart phones! While the Audibible is still going to be the most popular way of accessing Scriptures right now, the Enga Bible App is sure to take off in the near future, especially among Engans who live in town. The best part is that the app is free and can be transmitted for free from one person to another. It would not be at all surprising to share the Enga Bible App with one person and come back a week later and find that all of his friends and family now also had the app. Papua New Guineans are good at sharing media on their phones! Click here to see a video of how the Enga Bible App works.

We will also have printed versions of the book of Mark and the Abraham Story available in Enga printed side-by-side with the Contemporary English Version (by permission of course). So those Engans who do want to read the printed Word will also have access.

Please keep the upcoming launch of Mark and the Abraham Story in your prayers. We are hoping to distribute in four different locations from October 12 to October 16. Pray that many Engans will come and receive God's Word in their own language. Pray also for the team from Newbreak Church near San Diego that is coming to participate in the distribution. We look forward to sharing with you next month about how it all goes!