The World’s First Solar Audio Bible

The story of the first solar audio Bible begins back in 1989, a decade before MP3 players made their appearance upon the world stage. What is now called the MegaVoice came into being because two men and their supportive wives, had the vision and patience to push through many technical and spiritual barriers to create a rather unique device – the world’s first solar audio Bible.

“Impossible” yields to “With God all things are possible”

MegaVoice Audio Bible Visionary
Tom Treseder was a Bible Society of Australia leader who understood that billions of people, for many reasons including illiteracy and blindness, were unable to read the Bible for themselves.

Together with other Gospel audio pioneers of the day, Tom’s Bible Society team used every tool available to put audio Scriptures on. They frequently packed up the devices and sent them to the mission field. The results from sending audio Scriptures were good – but player equipment failures were record heartbreaking.

It didn’t matter whether it was record players, tape recorders or cassettes tapes – everything failed on the field because of inhospitable climates. Tapes froze in the northern climates and turned to mush in the tropics – blowing desert sand ground big brand name mechanical machines into useless junk. “It was demoralizing,” says Tom, “every machine we sent out was doomed to fail sooner or later. On top of that, using more than a dozen cassettes just for the New Testament proved unmanageable.”

To say that Tom Treseder was frustrated with what he called, “Those unreliable machines with moving parts…” would be putting it mildly. When technical people told him there was no audio player on planet earth that didn’t have “moving parts,” Tom dug in his heels and decided there should be one on earth, and so with other Bible Society leaders he began praying for a machine that talked without those awful gears and cogs.

One day Tom looked in a store window – and there was a doll, and it was talking!┬áIt said a few words and then stopped. Tom was transfixed. Was this the clue they had been praying for? A few days later, he stared in amazement as he heard a Japanese car warning system say, “Put your seat belt on.” This was it! Dolls and cars spoke – why not the Bible?

Sketching a Future Without Gears

MegaVoice First Audio Bible
Tom Treseder excitedly sat down and drew a pencil sketch of a Bible that spoke – without the need for mechanical cogs and gears. And for added measure – he added a solar panel, so whether someone had electricity or not, they could heard God’s word spoken to them.

In 1989, a doll talking for 10 seconds was not even remotely close to the needs of a 70 hour-long Bible, and many a doubting Thomas told Tom so. But then he found his lifelong ministry partner and electronic technology friend, Ken Crowell, and together the two of them saw Tom’s vision come to fruition.

Together these two friends would go on to create the world’s first solar audio Bible – the MegaVoice. Today digital audio players are everywhere – but the MegaVoice has certain features not found in commercially available MP3-style audio players.

Features like the slightly raised navigation buttons for blind and visually impaired people is an early MegaVoice pioneering breakthrough. Even lepers are using the MegaVoice, in spite of their physical disabilities.

The two column MegaVoice navigation system, pioneered in the 1990s by Treseder and Crowell, is now imitated by many other Christian technology groups and we are of course glad for anyone working to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ on audio. Also, on the MegaVoice, audio files are encrypted and so they can’t be tampered with, thus preventing hijacking of the audio Bible content.

And during this coming summer, a whole new generation of the MegaVoice audio Bible is arriving with even more special features. Soon, thanks to all our ministry partners working across the globe, more people will hear God’s word in their own languages for the first time. Thank you Tom Treseder for the vision, and for Ken Crowell who worked so hard on the technical side to give the world the first solar audio Bible.

Thanks, Lord, for Tom and Merriel Treseder and the Treseder family who gave so much of their lives to make the reality of reaching millions of people with the Gospel on audio Bibles possible.

Bless the Lord,

Charles Cibene
CEO, MegaVoice

1Comment
  • Julie Hughes
    Posted at 18:12h, 19 January

    Hi Tom, My name is Julie Hughes, (nee Gibbes) and sister to Clive Gibbes to whom we believe you sold 40 Mega Voice Solar Audio Bibles to take with him and Jenny his wife on their recent trip back to Papua Indonesia?
    It was so exciting to read and as he’d asked me to type it out from them I set to straight away while they were having a much needed rest in Tasmania before returning to Ridgecrest Convention Site near Wellington in NSW where they are managers

    Clive kept a day to day Diary whilst away and gave much background to his inland area where he was for some 13 years. As well as other helpful, background to new readers. It was quite gripping how the Lord enabled them to share these Mega Voice Navigators but in one paragraph expressed in indebtedness to you at Bible Society …….. So I rang Bible Society but they said you didn’t work there now for years and the man had no ready contact details.

    Clive had asked me to type it up for him and asked me if I’d mind typing it up for him to which I readily agreed then found it was some 24 pages (Some 48 half pages or 24 Landscape pages.)
    I was privileged and honoured to do this no matter how great the length as my husband and I had preceded Clive and Jenny to Papua (the Irian Jaya back in 1974-82 though worked in an area some 15 mins flight away amongst another tribal speaking group. We had been blessed by a visit from Gospel Recordings as was called then (Ellen Bay) then later Teddy Tular who helped us and Grip winders we purchased to play the cassettes. I read that Paik Yikwa was first to cross trhanslate these Good News from Indoensian to Dani then we had a team that cross translated it later from Dani to Nggem.
    We alsohave been back for a couple of visits and hope to go again in late April early may where a huge new church it to be opened in our own area which is now a big Govt Centre and they have issued invitations to us all in that Evangelical area to come.

    Si I just wanted to thank you Sir for your great contribution to this trip of Clives of which we also gave a $ contibution for some Navigators. They were used even to passengers on a plane where Gibbes were sitting .

    Helen Gemeren (ex Global Recordings)said she knew you years ago but thought you had retired now and didn’t know your were still connected with these things and had no address but I tracked you don on Google when I typed in the Mega Voice information and have just printed out the amazing history written and your photo.
    Just want to add our praise to God and your perseverance using the skills he gave you for this tremendous aid to speading His word to build up and encourage so many Pastors and church leaders, youth and ladies groups. Look forward to meeting you in heaven.
    In His service Julie and Earl Hughes