During my 2011 visit here to India, I recorded four sermons to be broadcast on an Indian religious television station.
This past Friday night, one of them aired nationally. A group of about 200 of us watched it together on a large outdoor screen at the Orissa Follow Up ministry site.
The twist was this: while my face was on screen and I was in fact delivering the sermon, no English was coming out of my mouth.
It was instead dubbed into Oriya, the common language in the state of Odisha. The production editing crew spent a great deal of time in the last year getting the translation right and finding the right voice to dub (thankfully, he had a deep bass).
The effect to those of us (meaning me, James-Michael Smith, and Chris Thayer)was a bit like the old Japanese Godzilla movies dubbed into English . . . a bit more hilarity than spirituality.
Those who watched it with us, however, seemed to get something out of hearing a gospel message in their native tongue.
And no doubt had some inside smiles at a white American man "speaking" fluent Oriya.
In any event, it was broadcast to every state in this country of one billion plus people.
Our team is now at a place called Gopalpur On Sea where we will encourage and equip another group of 80 or so pastors. These particular co-laborers in the gospel serve in the Kandmahl District, a region where violence against Christians broke out in 2008 and continues in sporadic form to this day.