It’s Sunday on a quiet residential street in Newark, New Jersey. Nilson Dimarzio Jr. enjoys a spiritual and passionate sermon delivered by a very good friend of his father’s, the Walnut Street Baptist Church’s lead pastor, Reverend Alcione Santos. Nilson smiles and nods at the young woman seated across the aisle from him. She’s wearing headphones to hear the Portuguese sermon interpreted to English, and she knows that she has Nilson to thank for that.
Nilson Dimarzio Jr. was born and raised in Brazil, as were many of his fellow congregants at his small but mighty community church, the Walnut Street Baptist Church. At only nine years old, Nilson eagerly learned how to run the sound system at the small community church where his father was the pastor. Before immigrating to the United States, Nilson worked in Brazil as an audio/visual professional working for television and radio stations and churches – helping out with the sound.
Today, Nilson works for B&H Photo as quality assurance for their website. On the weekends, he helps many local churches with their sound systems. He is known in his community for his technical skills with sound systems and his willingness to donate his time and energy to help.
Walnut Street Baptist Church is a small congregation with around 300 members. The community is primarily Brazilian-born immigrants that speak Portuguese. The problem is, when their children and grandchildren want to attend services, they don’t always understand what’s being said from the pulpit. As with many immigrant communities in the United States, many US-born and raised descendants don’t speak the same language as their parents.
About five years ago, Nilson installed a radio frequency system for interpreting church services for English-speaking congregants at Walnut Street Baptist Church. The system did not work well and eventually stopped working altogether. That’s when Nilson contacted Listen Technologies.
After receiving the new equipment on a Saturday, churchgoers urgently encouraged Nilson to set up the system for Sunday services. They were very excited to use the equipment the next day to interpret Sunday’s sermon to English. Nilson quickly and easily installed the ListenRF system. He gathered a few people that needed to understand how to use it and gave them simple instructions on how the system worked, and the next day the ListenRF system was used during Sunday services. Five patrons used the iDSP ListenRF receivers by wearing the small and sleek devices around their neck on a lanyard. They plugged headsets into the receivers and listened to the pastor deliver a passionate and inspiring sermon in Portuguese while receiving the English interpretation in their headsets.
Walnut Street parishioners love the new ListenRF 72 MHz system for its crystal clear audio, the small and simple receivers, and the way it’s allowing them to connect with their family and community. The use of the system for interpretation means that grandparents, parents, and children can attend church services together in their community and all hear the same message – without language being a barrier to their connection.