Gospel Recordings: From the Diary of a Recordist
Day 1 -- Arrive in Bukavu, Zaire at 1:45 pm...I can't believe it-- Nothing has changed since my last visit five years ago! The customs officials are no longer salaried so their only "income" is what they can rip off the tourists coming in! Oh! oh...every time I come in I hassle with them on all my equipment and 35 reels of recording tapes! They literally go through everything. I close up my suitcase, now we "talk"!!
Oh! oh...no one looks like they are meeting me! It's about a 50 km walk into town...better find a ride quickly! "H-E-L-P"!! Thank you Lord...the MAF people have not left yet, so maybe they will find room for me in their vehicle!
Day 2--Message--"Sorry...your flight has been cancelled until the next day!" Lord...you know I can't afford to lose even one work day. Make the most of it...get out your writing pad and answer those letters!
Day 3 -- Be ready by 5:30 am. -- it takes three hours to get to the airstrip and load the plane...off we go... airborne at last! Oh! oh, I forgot to take my dramamine pill...out comes the "black plastic bag!" Lord, you never gave me the stomach for flying in these small planes!
From above, the great Ituri Forest looks like a huge soft green carpet! Lord...if we happen to crash there is no way we will find our way out! We arrive on a dirt airstrip...perfect landing...great pilot! Immediately we are swarmed by villagers--who is this "stranger"...what "tribe" is she from? Lord, this place must be close to hell...it's so hot and humid! I can feel my body burning up... it's like being in a giant sauna! Lord...where is the cold Coke? -- sorry...we are in the middle of the Ituri Forest--no cokes, no hamburgers or french fries? There is plenty of meat, snake, wild pig, chimpanzee and monkey...and when that is all gone there are giant bats! Lord please deaden my taste buds!
Day 4 -- I'm all ready for recording...let's get going, I only have two weeks here! Oh!...I can feel it in my bones, the recordings are not going to go smoothly! It's preparation time--meet with the missionaries, pump them for information so that we can make the recordings more culturally relevant...meet the language helpers and explain to them what takes place. Oh! no!! it's going to pour "cats and dogs" --Lord, my quarters are made of mud walls with leaves for the roof...it's not going to leak is it?? Midnight...plop! plop! mud
and rain...where?? Yep, right over my bed!! What on earth is that thing crawling over my face-- WOW! 3" cockroaches are all over !! Hey, where's my shoe...SMASH! SQUISH! (end of cockroaches...only 100 more to go)
Day 5 -- More research and more questions...Lord, please help us make these recordings communicate what YOU want!
Day 6 -- Someone in the village has died! All work comes to a halt, as funerals are very much a part of African culture. I feel feverish... Lord, I can't afford to come down with malaria just now.
Day 7 -- Now down to serious recording work! By mid-afternoon the helpers' heads begin to nod...it's hot and they aren't used to working full days! Come on folks, we can do a bit more... and more! (out comes my bag of candies for energy.)
...Thank you Lord for a good day's work...my back is killing me from sitting on these chairs! I need to walk...everywhere I go kids follow me. Lord, I need some privacy! The only place is the "choo" (toilet)-- unfortunately, you can't "sit"...only a hole..Lord, help me if one of these logs break!...don't laugh, it's happened before..not pleasant!!
Day 8...9...10 etc. Lord, thank you ...we are making progress!! I can feel your presence and help...people are praying! The language helpers are tired, not used to sitting for hours...concentrating heavily. I am encouraged when the people say... "Hey, this is EXACTLY what our people need to hear!!" when we speak on witchcraft, stealing, bribery, adultery, etc. etc.
At other times, I pray...Lord how do we tell these people that they don't have to fear the "spirits" of the forest? These "spirits" have power and often deep chills go up my spine when we talk about the demon possessed man. One very calm day while recording...suddenly the tree outside started shaking! I look, thinking there is a monkey up there...no...nothing visible to the human eye! "We struggle not against flesh and blood but against...the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Day "last" -- Lord, even though I've been sweaty, impatient, complained and longed for my departure...I feel "sad"...I have come to appreciate these people and the daily struggles and fears they have...I will miss them! Thank you, Jesus, that I've been able to be part of a "team" to bring these people your message! Please help them to come to the Cross, to know the joy and peace only you can give. Help them to know that there is a greater power than their "spirits."
Valerie Deguchi has served as a field recordist for many years with LRI Kenya, a member of the Global Recordings Network.
Scriptures on Tape
There are a number of ministries that are working to produce the Scriptures on tape in many languages. Here are a couple of them.
Audio Scriptures International
Audio Scriptures International seeks to provide the Scriptures on cassette in languages that will help others reach the unreached peoples both near and far. They have a special interest in helping to reach those peoples God has brought to the US. They now have 100 New Testaments on cassette as well as 250 individual Gospels and special taped messages. A catalog of their resources is available upon request.
This ministry is centered around getting Christians to listen through the New Testament. They estimate that 80% of believers today do not read the Word of God. But Hosanna believes that they will listen to it on tape. They have encouraged over 28,000 churches to enlist their members in listening through the New Testament on cassette. This is accomplished with a regimen of 26 minutes a day for 40 days.
New Testaments on tape are currently available in over 100 languages with 200 languages in the process of production.
Hosanna Ministries 2421 Aztec Rd. N.E. Albuquerque, NM 87107 Ph: 505-881-3321, Fax: 505-881-1681 e-mail: [email protected]