dave 2002

There are over 80 different languages spoken by over 100 million people in Ethiopia. Cross cultural missionaries go in to the unreached people groups to preach the good news. But some of these people groups don’t have scripture translated to their own language and even if it has already been translated, they might not be able to access it due to different reasons. Hence, somewhere in Ethiopia a Christian brother/sister doesn’t have scripture at hand. Is there a way to make the holy word of God & other Christian based devices available to anyone from any language group? How can the illiterate access & comprehend the scripture? Here is where media gets into picture.

Mr. David Johnson is a Christian media missionary who has been working in Ethiopia for quite a long time. He has worked with bible translation teams to produce the “Jesus film” in to 12 local Ethiopian languages. The team has also worked a lot to make scripture available in various formats for different language groups.  He is now developing a new website called “ethiopiascripture.org”. Currently there are 86 languages (including Ethiopian sign language) on the website & He’s working to make Scripture and scripture related materials available in the different languages of Ethiopia. Here is a summary of a short interview we had with Mr. David Johnson.

LeChristian: - Welcome, tell us about yourself.

David: - I’m David Johnson. I’ve been here (in Ethiopia) for the past 11 years working with an organization which partners with local Bible translators as a media director. Together with the bible translation teams, we produced the “Jesus film” in to 12 languages. We’ve also made other Christian based videos & audio bibles in different languages. We usually distribute the audio bibles on digital audio players called “mega voice” but nowadays smartphones are widely used so this is becoming more common.

LeChristian: - What motivated you to develop “ethiopiascripture.org”? What inspired you?

David: - Over the years people from different language groups have come to me and ask how they could obtain the scripture, audio & video materials in their own language. So I thought of developing a website that holds all the materials & which is easily accessible to everyone.

LeChristian: - What is the aim of the website?

David: - Its aim is mainly for everyone to access the scripture & other available Christian based materials freely in his/her own language. Moreover, other Christian workers can use the resources to distribute it among different people groups they are working with.

LeChristian: - are you the only one developing the website or is there any team working with you?

David: -The website doesn’t belong to any organization & it’s freely accessible to everyone. Mostly I was the one working voluntarily on the website development & I also have other media technician who helps me when he’s available.

LeChristian: - When did you start working on this website?

David - I had this vision for the website for a long time & I was thinking of finding a website designer to do the work.  But due to lack of funding & other issues, I finally decided tostart it 6 months ago.

LeChristian: - When are you going to finish the website development project?

David: - What I’ve learned about website development is that you’ll never finish! As more bible translations are made and more audio or video files are available, you’re going to update it. You are always developing & maintaining it! My goal is to get some information in all languages on the website in the next two months. But, someone may come and say “we’ve got this video/audio in this language” if it meets the standards of true gospel message, then I’m willing to include it.

LeChristian: -Do you think the translation work will be completed in all the languages you listed?

David: - With God’s help, yes it will be completed!

LeChristian: -How are you going to promote the website?

David: - I’m going to advertise it through Facebook. I will also plan out other mechanisms to make the website known among Ethiopians.

LeChristian: -What is the role of media technology in missions?

David: - In many languages I am working with, the literacy level is very low. This means it will be difficult for people to read and comprehend a scripture though it’s available in their own language. But by having audio bibles or videos in their languages, we can present the gospel in a way people can easily understand it.

Additionally, in a region where Christians are persecuted it’s hard to use the printed word/ hard copy. But it’s relatively safe to listen in to scripture/audio bible. I remember a friend telling me about group of Muslims listening to scripture in a mosque. 

LeChrsitian: - In conclusion anything you want to add?

David: - I’ve started this website project but I need help from others who have more knowledge than I do about the different people groups and how to best reach the Christian community & how to promote the website.  My prayer is for the website to be a blessing for all Ethiopian people & for it to be used widely.

LeChristian: - Amen. We hope God will use it to bless the church and motivate believers to reach the unreached people groups. Thank you. God bless You.

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