Imagine: You live in a secluded village on an island in the Pacific. You have only ever known the religion and rituals of your community, but you know in your soul that there must be something more. You yearn for truth and peace. Once, a foreigner brought a book in the local trade language and tried to tell your people about God, but your heart language does not have a written form. Only a few of your family members and friends can read the trade language to a small degree. The book that the foreigner brought contained complex wording that made no sense even to them. You eventually resign yourself to the fact that if there is a God, He doesn't care about you enough to speak His truth in your language.
...Until one day, your neighbor shows you an interesting device. Emitting from it are words you recognize. Your neighbor tells you that at last, because of this device, your community can hear God speak—in your language.
Faith Comes By Hearing strives to ensure that every last person has the chance to hear God's Word, no matter where they live or what language they speak. To carry out this work, we employ a variety of methods in recording and providing Scripture to more people.
For many recording projects, we send international recording teams to where the language is spoken. The two-member team finds a suitable place to record, sets up a booth, finds people who read the target language, and completes the recording. These projects take a lot of work, and teams undergo diverse trials, as exemplified in this testimony:
"Our destination, a mountainous island in the north of the Philippine archipelago, had been hit by a typhoon two weeks ago. We weren't sure if our small plane would be able to land safely. Had the debris been cleaned up?
"Thank God, all was clear! We were able to arrange a recording location and audition readers. A local pastor helped fill the roles we still needed, bringing his three children and Randy,* the man who would fill Jesus' role. Overall, the progress went well until Randy was scheduled to read his lines.
"We learned that his mother had become ill. Since their village was six hours away, Randy sent medicine with some friends, and our team diligently prayed for her healing. To God's glory, she recovered! With encouraged hearts, we continued till the end. Despite unseasonal rains, insect bites, spotty electricity, and a car accident, God was faithful to watch over the project and everyone involved. Very soon, the Galmana* people will hear the truth and hope of the Gospel in their heart language!"
Sometimes, a traditional field recording is not feasible or optimal. Virtual Recording (VR), a flexible, web-based method, is ideal for recordings based in restrictive-access areas. This testimony comes from a recordist working with the Inupiaq community of Alaska:
"Summer on the northernmost point of the U.S. is truly unique: 24 hours of daylight, a flat and treeless landscape, a frozen Arctic Ocean, and a polar bear warning were just a few clear indicators that we had arrived somewhere unlike any place we had ever been.
"We soon learned that the Inupiaq live by subsistence—they have various hunting seasons and the huge celebrations associated with them. This lifestyle impacts how we (and they) approach a recording project. Originally, it was going to be a traditional field recording, but they couldn't find a time to dedicate that kind of intensity to the process. So they decided on Virtual Recording instead, because it accommodated their schedule better.
"The group of ladies participating in the recording project have been faithfully translating the Word of God into Inupiaq for several years, sometimes without any financial or organizational support. There are only about 13,000 Inupiaq, and these ladies and their team are committed to making the Word of God available to them."
Oral Bible Translation
Created for languages that have no written form, Oral Bible Translation (OBT) utilizes an icon- and color-based software called Render which was developed by Faith Comes By Hearing in partnership with translation organizations.
Developing a written form and orthography for an oral language can take years; and even then, many who become literate in their newly written language only achieve a third-grade reading level. Some languages only have a few hundred speakers, several of them older. Thus, by the time a written form is created, the language (and the people) may already be lost to history.
Oral Bible Translation sidesteps these hurdles: Now, a team of mother-tongue translators can be trained to work among their own people to accurately render God's Word in a format they can understand and use.
Since Oral Bible Translation is from one spoken language to another, oral methods must be utilized. For example, the training for the translation teams includes a process called internalization. Techniques such as acting out the text, using hand motions, or associating portions of the passage with physical objects help the translators deeply comprehend God's Word and make it a part of themselves.
After a draft is completed, the recording undergoes extensive peer review and community check to ensure that the translation is accurate and the meaning is clear.
(Find out more about Oral Bible Translation.)
Joint and Partner Recording
Partnership is the foundation of our ministry. Some of our Bible recordings are accomplished by working with a partner ministry. Others are created entirely by our partners and graciously contributed to our library. Several partner organizations share the vision of getting God's Word to the nations and have graciously contributed their own recordings to Faith Comes By Hearing over the years. In fact, about 20% of the recordings we provide were independently recorded. Often, it is these ministries who bring the light of the Bible to the nations around them after years of spiritual darkness. We could not achieve Vision 2033 without our partners!
Which recording method is best? It depends on a few things: Location, sensitivity, availability of readers, and other variables. No matter the situation, our mission is to ensure that all people have a chance to hear God speak their language by 2033. You play a vital part in this mission, too—share God's audible Word with more individuals today.
* Name changed for security.