Finger puppets point people to the Gospel

By December 9, 2015

Guatemala (RBD/MNN) — If you have a toddler, you probably have heard endless Finger Family songs…over and over and over.

While they might drive parents crazy, there’s one thing you CAN say about the songs: they teach.

Reach Beyond creatives are capitalizing on the trend, and the ministry recently featured their work:

A children’s video series featuring fingers as Old Testament characters will be dubbed into three Middle Eastern languages that will air across the region via the satellite television network, SAT-7, according to the series’ dramatic director, John Gowan.

(Photo courtesy Reach Beyond)

(Photo courtesy Reach Beyond)

Deditos (Little Fingers) has been produced in Guatemala since 2004. The series director, José Abel de la Cruz, is also the executive director of Asociación Viña. “He and others at Viña saw the need for children’s programming that could be used by churches with programs in Cakchiquel—one of more than 21 Mayan languages,” said Gowan who serves with his wife, Sharon, at Reach Beyond.“The first episode of Deditos, ‘David and Goliath,’ was actually in Cakchiquel—not Spanish,” Gowan explained, adding that the Viña staff and board had long envisioned quality content for children in local churches.

“The overwhelming positive response to that first pilot episode led to the realization that the series shouldn’t be limited to Cakchiquel speakers only,” Gowan continued. “So the production switched to Spanish so the series could be more easily dubbed into other Mayan languages and even be considered for local cable TV.”

This change—made prior to Gowan’s involvement (in 2009)—has proven fortuitous for his work on the project. He had grown up speaking Spanish in Ecuador, the son of Reach Beyond retirees Travis and Margaret Gowan.

Gowan initially advised de la Cruz’s staff on improvements to lighting, production and dramatic aspects of shows already produced. Then, after staff considerations, his continued guidance saw the video series rewritten, reshot and edited.

While his Spanish facilitated the training of staff members to meet video industry standards, more recently it helped him and the Viña staff to translate the script to make an English-language version of episode 7, “God and His People in the Wilderness.” It dramatizes God’s miracles among the children of Israel as they wandered and eventually entered the land that He had promised to them.

In turn, this and other episodes of Deditos are to be put into the languages of Farsi, Turkish and Arabic for international broadcasts by SAT-7, a ministry based in the Middle East. Farsi is a leading language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. SAT-7 anticipates translating all 15 programs in the series for use on the satellite network.

(There’s more to this story at Reach Beyond. Click here to read the rest.)


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