Solar Event - Questions and Answers

Solar Mission:Send the Light

Q: Why is the material in the Solar Player only in the English, Spanish, Amharic, Portuguese or Creole language? 

ANS: In Phase One the solar players were sent to three English speaking nations in Africa.  For Phase Two most of the players were in English, with those going to Ethiopia in Amharic. Phase Three is sending solar players with the Bible and courses in Spanish. In 2019 and 2020, solar players are being delivered in Portuguese and Creole. Currently, translation is being conducted in Telegu (India), French, Chinese and other world languages.

Q: Surely there are non-English, non-Spanish, non-Portuguese speakers even in the English, Spanish or Portuguese-speaking nations.  How will villagers who speak only their tribal dialects benefit from the solar player teaching?

ANS: The solar players will be distributed to qualified leaders who speak the official language of the country.  However, the solar player has a pause/play button which will allow a preacher or teaching using the device to play a phrase, push the pause button and then translate that phrase into another language, when that is necessary in certain areas.

Q: Why is $500 the per-unit cost of this project, when the technology is much less expensive?

ANS: This is a comprehensive mission project and involves much more than the solar device which serves as an important tool in the project. The hardware is the least expensive part of the project. The rest of the cost is the expense of providing almost $3,000 worth of course materials (if one should purchase the CD versions from our bookstore), transforming all of that content into a format compatible with the unit, considerable staff and contract labor cost in preparing, formatting, loading and handling, recording a verbal menu for each course and each lesson in each course, and testing each player prior to distribution.  We also pay for the translation of the material into the different languages needed. There is also a cost in informing, involving and later reporting results to our brotherhood.  

Above all that, the greatest part of the cost is delivery and training.  We don’t mail these units.  They would never get to the right people in the remote villages.  We have distribution/teaching teams who hand carry the units to predetermined geographic areas of the target nations.  Key brethren are invited to seminars conducted by both visiting teachers and local leaders, who will demonstrate the units, how to use them effectively for evangelism, church planting, leadership training, Sunday preaching, public school Bible courses.  The content and care of the unit and materials is explained and then the recipients are sent back to the villages to use the material provided in the solar-powered unit.  Remember, counting the complete Bible, WBS courses, the complete SIBI curriculum, 2 hours of singing, a one hour study on how to become a Christian…the completed English units will contain over 320 hours of Bible and Bible teaching  Non-english solar players languages have comparable amounts of material and sometimes more.  

While similar electronic devices are available for public use, we are unaware of anything out there which approaches the quality and volume of biblical material of this project.  We are also unaware of any other resource providing the same personal care in delivery and education. The economics of this project are simple.  For $500 one-time cost, a teaching tool equivalent to an entire preaching school curriculum and more, providing as much as 8-10 years of Biblical teaching, with no need for external electrical power sources, can be put into the hands of a preacher, church leader or remote village. That is a fraction of what it would cost to send a missionary or even native preacher, even if 2,000 such preachers could be found to meet the need.  This does not supplant current mission efforts, but rather helps to multiply their efforts.

It takes a major fund raising effort to get enough resources to provide thousands of solar players to a country or countries.  Part of the $500 is for what it costs to raise that kind of funding since it is a nation-wide fund raising effort.  This concept is part of the total concept of the cost as opposed to just the piece of hardware.

Q: May we buy a solar player for our congregation?

ANS: Yes. However, all of the SIBI Bible teaching material loaded on the solar players is available for purchase from our bookstore in just about any format.

Q: Since there is no visual read out on the device, how can a user find a given course or lesson?

ANS: Packed into the box with each player will be a printed menu of the exhaustive contents of the SD card in the solar player.  Each course and section is identified with a number.  If the user is searching for a course that is listed with a certain number on the menu, he would press the double arrow sufficient times to get to the right course.  He could go either forward or backward, depending on where he begins.  The menu lists how many lessons in each course.  To find a certain lesson in that course the user would press the single arrow the right amount of times.  When the user toggles to the Bible, which is loaded on the hard drive, the same procedure would be used to advance or reverse to a specific Bible book or a specific chapter in that book.  During the training seminars, users will be taught how to find all of the material on the solar player and how to use the material to the greatest advantage.

Q: Why doesn’t the “Papyrus” seem as “cutting edge” as some of the “smart” technology out there with touch screens, slim design and internet capability?

ANS: The “Papyrus” is designed for simplicity, durability and often remote village life in sometimes harsh tropical weather.  It is a sealed unit with a long-life rechargeable battery, designed to last 10 years under normal charging conditions.  It has a water and dust resistant speaker designed to be loud enough to be heard in a hut or outdoor group of up to 50 people. And, of course, it is solar powered for use in the thousands of villages in Africa, Asia and Latin America which have no electricity.  While it may not be “cutting edge smart technology” in America, it is both innovative and effective in the remote village setting for which it is designed. The “Papyrus” will be complete with the Bible (Old and New Testaments), an audio introduction to the player, a one hour lesson on “How to Become a Christian,” five WBS Courses, over 40 (probably 43-44) SIBI Bible/leadership training courses (each course either 6 or 12 hours in length) and two hours of vocal gospel hymns.  More than 320 hours of Bible and Bible teaching is included.

Q: What will happen when and if a solar player fails?

ANS: While the solar players have proven to be durable, it is possible for any electronic instrument to fail.  There is a reset button which solves most failures, but we are planning for replacement devices to be available in each region in the rare case that a defective solar player must be replaced.

Q: If we give to this project, may we choose the nations and specific people who receive solar players?

ANS: Each Phase makes a commitment to a specific set of countries.  Within those countries, we distribute solar players to a number of specific preachers, missionaries, congregations, schools, orphanages and others who are sponsored by those who are giving to the project.  We are glad to respond to donor suggestions for specific recipients within our target nations, because we want the solar players to get to the right people who will use them most fruitfully. Once we reach our first goal for each Phase we can begin to respond to a limited number of special requests from donors who have an interest in nations we are targeting for subsequent phases, using those to test the effectiveness of the players for future projects.

We hope this information is sufficient to speak to the uniqueness and value of the Solar Mission. If you have other questions or need more materials, please let us know.  You can contact us at Sunset International Bible Institute. (806-788-3241) or

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Reaching the Rural World with the Word of God