app (noun) an application, a small specialized program downloaded onto mobile phones
Stephen Gilmore (ChristChurch Belfast) recently wrote this article for the May edition of Wycliffe News about how his church is involved in an interesting volunteer project for Wycliffe Bible Translators – and how your church in N. Ireland can do the same!
“Mission projects involve either money, travelling overseas, or both!” But not this one! Being part of this project gives the opportunity to serve in overseas mission without even crossing your doorstep. The contribution is time, not money.
Jackie: I loved working on this project because I love the concept of folks in Mali hearing the Bible in their heart language and learning to read at the same time.
The simple concept is that an app is provided for a language group so that people can read and hear Scripture in their heart language. Smartphones are very quickly becoming the “must have” accessory in even the most remote parts of the world. So imagine being in the bush in West Africa with your new smart phone and discovering an app that speaks your language. And it just happens to be the Bible!
Before the app can be prepared, the Scripture needs to have been translated and a recording made. The most impressive feature of the app is that as each chapter is read the text is highlighted on the screen – as shown below. This is a tool for those with limited literacy.
Trish: I prayed as I did my work that people who I will never meet would be impacted by what they hear.
Our task was to provide the tagging that keeps the text and voice in synch. ChristChurch Belfast pulled together a team of around a dozen people to work on the project for the Minyanka language of SE Mali. After initial training, sets of 5 or 6 chapters were allocated to team members. We chose to start with the shorter epistles to give folk the satisfaction of completing a full book. Of course with any such project, a few found that the project wasn’t right for them, others completed their initial allocation whist others came back for more and more finding the process verging on the addictive.
There are 260 chapters in the New Testament each of which needs tagging. We found a learning curve of around 5 chapters before getting “up to speed,” after which an average chapter could be completed in 45 minutes. It took 4 months to completely tag the NT and as the first church to take on such a project we were able to report issues so that now the process should be much easier as the app builder has now been fully developed.
Joyce: When I saw the app working it was great to see how it will make God’s Word more accessible for people from Mali. It was a real blessing to be involved.
Anyone with a PC or Mac and basic computer skills should be able to participate. In the middle of the mundane but intense process of listening carefully to a foreign language – going back and checking to within a few milliseconds that each tag is in the right place – comes the thought that, in just a few months, someone in Mali will be impacted by listening to the Word of God in their heart language for the very first time.
There are 799 languages in the world ready to receive an App. There used to be 800! Could your church take on a project to reduce that to 798? Get in touch with us in the Belfast office at email@example.com