Monday, June 05, 2006

High-Tech “GodPod”

Radio is a wonderful way of bringing the gospel to people in far-flung areas, but it also has certain limitations. Signals can only be picked up in specific areas, the reception may sometimes be unclear, and broadcast hours are always limited by available funds.

AWR is planning to implement a pilot project in South Sudan and North Africa that will bypass these challenges and make many hours of programs instantly available to listeners. The device that makes this possible is called the MegaVoice Ambassador.

It is a self-contained digital audio player that can hold up to 160 hours of content. Features include a solar panel with rechargeable batteries, a power jack for recharging, a speaker, an earphone port, and controls for volume and pausing.

“We are very excited about this project,” says AWR Europe region director Bert Smit. “The devices can hold the equivalent of a whole year of half-hour programs. In addition, we can load audio Bible lessons, which are invaluable for nurturing new believers where there are no established Adventist churches.”

Listeners may listen to the recordings multiple times as they study the Biblical concepts, which is particularly useful for people who are illiterate. When they are ready for new content, they can bring their devices to a central location, such as an AWR studio or Bible school, where staff will load a fresh set of programs.

“AWR sees great potential in this new technology,” says AWR president Ben Schoun.

“We are starting this pilot project with 500 units, which cost approximately $25 each and are much cheaper than tape recorders or MP3 players. There are many more territories that could benefit from these devices, and sponsorship from churches or individuals could enable AWR to expand this outreach in the near future.”