“I’m so excited about this project that I am tempted to jump up and down and shout ‘Hallelujah!’ The only thing holding me back is that I just can’t jump anymore.”
|Picture of C. W. Callaway preaching at a service celebrating the publication of Mien Bible. This was at a Mien Family Camp held at Lassen Pines Bible Conference Center, Viola, CA, in August 2008|
That is the way C. W. Callaway began his report on how they are about to start to record the whole Mien Bible for the hundreds of thousands of Mien who can’t read (as well as for those who can!)
I’m eager to share this exciting development with you all, but first let me say a brief word about Mr. Callaway and the Mien people.
C. W. Callaway and his wife were career missionaries in the Far East. After having to leave Burma and then China, they arrived in Thailand in 1949 and began missionary work among the Mien people there in 1950. They began residing in the U.S. in 1985 to assist Mien refugees from Laos here in the states.
The Mien people were first relocated in many states but now probably 99% of those in U.S. are in four West Coast states including Alaska and California has more than any other state. Since some of the best leaders were living in the Bay Area the Callaway’s located there.
|A Mien class taught by Mark Hoekstra|
I may never have met Mr. Callaway personally, but know that during that time frame we both were participating in some of the same mission conferences and “Partner” churches in the Bay area of California. This is likely how he first became acquainted with Audio Scriptures (now Talking Bibles).
In any event, he arranged with Audio Scriptures for the first recording of the New Testament in Mien. It was done in Presbyterian Church in Walnut Creek, CA, where he, along with the Mien, did that recording. Kao Meng Saetern, one of their Mien broadcasters, and also Mey Siow and Saechao Saephan, who are on their present recording committee, were both readers for that recording. We made many cassette albums of that Mien New Testament for distribution among the Mien people.
|Mien recording the Bible in their language|
Mr. Callaway, in a recent note to me said, “I have appreciated learning from your website and communications of your former ministry in Africa and of the work of Audio Scriptures / Talking Bibles. Your ministry is vital and far-reaching and I pray for God’s continued blessing upon you and all involved for His glory.”
With that brief background, let me share with you this exciting news from Mr. Callaway about the Mien Bible Recording Project. Let me quote what he reported to us via email attachment:
Mien Bible Recording Project – But What if they Can’t Read?
“…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom.10:17 NKJV
A report from C.W. Callaway – Nov. 4, 2010
“Almost two years ago we had great celebrations upon the completion and printing of the whole Mien Bible. It is proving to be such a blessing to have it both in print and also easily available on the web site – especially for those who can read it!”
The Desperate Need for God’s Word In Audio
“But of the estimated 1½ million Mien in the world it is likely that fewer than 1% can read their own language. There are others who can read (somewhat at least) the language of the particular country in which they live. But still there is a great need for God’s Word to be in spoken form to benefit those hundreds of thousands of Mien who cannot read any language. For this reason Mien Christian Mission Fellowship (MCMF) in America appointed a committee earlier this year to oversee the recording of the whole Bible in the Mien language. I am serving as advisor to this committee and have been meeting regularly with them.”
Plans for Professional Quality Recording Of Entire Mien Bible
|Another Mien recording session|
“About 15 years ago we did record the Mien New Testament and it is available now on the web. But the readers at that time were not so fluent so the recording quality is not as good as it should be. Also the New Testament text has now been revised. Our goal this time is to do a professional quality recording of the entire Mien Bible. Then when complete we aim to publicize and distribute and use it in every way feasible. That is we expect to put it on the worldwide web and to copy it onto cassettes, MP3’s, DVD’s, CD’S, iPod, iPhone, mobile phones, Talking Bibles, and any other means available. The recorded scriptures can also be used on our Mien radio programs to good advantage.”
Training Program and New Recording Equipment
“Earlier this year we had a 2-day training program primarily for the Mien technicians who will be operating the equipment. That training was led by Mark Hoekstra, president of Talking Bibles International and an expert in this field. Since then we have researched and purchased better recording equipment for our studios in Richmond, CA and Seattle, WA.”
Prospective Readers Being Evaluated
“We have sought out a number of prospective readers of sterling Christian character and commitment and have asked them to submit sample recordings of some specific passages of scripture. We then listened to and judged the quality of each recording on the basis of a number of attributes. So far we have 3 technicians, 4 readers, and 3 to listen during the recordings so that any mistakes can be corrected immediately. The next step is a training program for the readers and listeners that is to be held in Seattle on November 13th. There the main emphasis will be upon the importance of reading accurately, passionately, and effectively so that Mien in all 8 countries will want to listen and will declare, ‘we hear them speaking in our own tongue(s) the wonderful works of God.’ Acts. 2:11 NKJV.
“Those involved in this project are doing this voluntarily as a service to the Lord and for the salvation and spiritual growth of their fellow Mien. Since they will be working in their spare time the project will of necessity take several years to complete.”
Mr. Callaway then made a request for the Mien project, saying, “Please put this whole endeavor toward the top of your prayer list and plan to pray consistently for: the readers, listeners, checkers, technicians, equipment that all may be kept well and will faithfully produce this valuable means of propagating the precious Word of God.”
I’m thrilled to share this exciting plan they have to record the entire Mien Bible and make it available in audio with every means available for non-literate Mien people world-wide. In our own Talking Bibles International global ministry, we are challenging mission and church leaders to do whatever is necessary to have every authentic translation of Scripture made available in audio for all who do not read and for the visually impaired. We are calling on churches everywhere to observe an annual Talking Bible Sunday to become better informed and to partner with ministries like Talking Bibles to give non-readers, especially Christians, who are oral culture people the Word of God in their languages in audio.