Tuesday, December 9, 2014

THE PROCLAIMER: Gad wod ina fiwi langwij

The promotion of the Jamaican language got a boost with the Proclaimer Listening Groups Project being carried out by The Language Development Division of Wycliffe Caribbean in collaboration with Faith Comes By Hearing Ministries.

The Proclaimer
The Proclaimer is a digital player which is preloaded with an Audio Bible recording (usually a New Testament) for the one purpose of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to the nations.
The inspiration for this device came during three days of fasting and prayer by the entire staff of Faith Comes by Hearing, and they consider the Proclaimer to be a gift from God. This tough little digital player is completely dedicated to proclaiming God’s Word in the heart language of its listener. This amazing tool was developed as a playback device for poor and illiterate people lacking the resources to receive God’s Word. With them in mind, it was developed with many features:

  1. The installed microchip will not erase or wear out from frequent playing.
  2. 3.      The battery can be charged through both the built-in solar panel and hand crank, or via an included AC adapter, and will play for 15 hours. It can be recharged enough times to play the entire New Testament more than 1,000 times.
  3. 4.      The solar panel, in addition to charging the battery, will run the Proclaimer even without battery power as long as there is sunlight.
  4. 5.      It contains a specially engineered speaker system that allows groups as large as 300 to hear God’s Word anytime, anywhere.

Jamaican New Testament: Listening Groups

One of the Bible recordings that is available on the Proclaimer is our own Jamaican New Testament and this enables us to listen to the whole New Testament in own Jamaican Creole.

The project started with a training workshop on March 8, 2014 with fifty persons representing thirty seven churches and communities from St. Thomas to Hanover. The training prepared these persons to use the Proclaimer as group leaders, and one proclaimer was given to each church or community based on a commitment to convene a listening group at their church or in their community for the purpose of listening to the whole New Testament in Jamaican Creole.

A listening group usually meets at least once each week to listen to the Scriptures. The participants listen and then take turns talking about what they have heard. Listening to the Scriptures, thinking about what has been written and interacting with others, are helpful activities that encourage spiritual growth and maturity.

Such listening groups have been convened in eight parishes across the island, meeting in various settings: church, school, verandah, barber shop, community centre, in the street, shops, bars, and also in the home. In the churches, the settings are equally diverse – in all aspects of the church, including:
youth fellowship, prayer meeting, Bible study, mens’ meeting, and even Sunday School. The listening aspect of the Proclaimer is an advantage, as it facilitates everyone, whether they are able to read or not.

Feedback from the users of the Proclaimer

General feedback indicates that the people are receptive to the Proclaimer and enjoy listening to it. Comments such as the following have been heard:

“church like that it is easy to understand.” departments.”

“Discussions have been very vibrant and exciting”

“People are eager to share how much they understand.”

“When she is at home, it is attractive to many passers-by and they often stop and listen as they pass.”

“They can relate to it better than the English Bible.”

Below are testimonies from three groups:

Comments from Group Leader

This group is from a rural community in St. Thomas. The group leader is the principal of the school and she is also the Pastor of a local church. The principal has employed the use of the Proclaimer in the morning devotional exercises as well as lunch time activities. Interestingly, the principal notes that at lunch time, the students are free to eat their lunches and play; however as long as the Proclaimer is being played they sit and listen attentively while they eat and if it is not played one day the students will ask fervently about it. The principal also uses the digital player as a medium to develop the students’ listening skills and promote literacy. The teachers on staff are supportive of the use of the Proclaimer and enjoy listening to it as well. They are also quite happy about the impact it is having on the lives of the students. The principal has noted improvement in the quality of behaviour in the students. She notes that more students have started going to church as a result of their constant interaction with the Word. Additionally as a result of the use of the Proclaimer students have become knowledgeable about the Word of God.

General Comments from Group Leader

This group leader uses the Proclaimer at a local barber shop in Yallahs, St. Thomas on Saturday nights of each week. The group consists of the barbers and their customers and can range from ten-thirty people on any given Saturday evening. There are some men who are staples of the group who are there consistently and others who drop in to listen while they cut their hair or are just passing by. Since introducing the Proclaimer in March 2014 I can see where God has been moving through the lives of the men. After the first few weeks of using it the men gained trust in me and even persons who would never have spoken before or have rough personalities started being engaged and even started referring to me as ‘Pastor’. Lively, strong-willed, thought provoking discussions take place each time the Proclaimer is played. Persons have expressed how clear the Word of God is to them now; many things that they had difficulty understanding before have now become quite easy to grasp because of the language the bible is being presented in. The Proclaimer is an asset to this work in getting people to know God and reaffirming the faith of those who already know Him. I would recommend the Proclaimer to other persons who are willing to start a group so that more people can truly understand what the Word is saying

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