Jean,* an SIL worker in Asia, was traveling in an area where a certain minority language was spoken. She was part of the team translating the Scriptures for this people group, and she longed to see some evidence that God was working in their hearts.
She was invited to a family’s home for lunch. After the meal, the host began to ask her a lot of questions about her faith. “Do you have a Bible in my language?” he asked her. “I want to read it.” Continue reading
By guest blogger Steve Pence, Translation Administrator in Mbeya, Tanzania
As we began our trip through the high country of Mbeya Region in southwestern Tanzania, my motorcycle taxi driver looked at me skeptically with the face of a mischievous teenager. In my meager Swahili I told him that I was an old man and very afraid. He laughed and accelerated as I gripped the frame behind my back, willing myself to stay on. I soon realized he was a very skilled driver, fast but surprisingly smooth over the increasingly rough road. At mud holes, he put his boots on the ground and steadied the bike, walking it through. On especially rough downhill stretches we danced along, almost in slow motion.
In 2014, the Ilchamus people of Kenya brought an urgent request to Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL), the Wycliffe organization in Kenya and a partner organization of Wycliffe USA. “The evil one is taking over,” they said. “We need God’s Word. Will you help us?”
A few years earlier, BTL had helped the Ilchamus begin a translation project. Drafts of seven New Testament books were produced, but due to alphabet problems and disunity, the project was discontinued. Now they were ready to start again. Continue reading
Photo: Maria Festen
Ann Kapteyn, an SIL translation consultant, was in a bit of a hurry as she reviewed a translation of Galatians in the Mpyemo language. This was her last morning in the Central African Republic before she returned to Michigan. She was trying to go over the entire book with Constantin, one of the translators, and make notes of places that might need improvement. Once she was home, she would write up her comments and suggestions and send them back to the team.
She and Constantin were speeding through verse after verse when he suddenly stopped paying attention. Continue reading
The Mpyemo Bible translators were worried. They were far from home, checking their work with a translation consultant in the capital of their nation, the Central African Republic. Their country had been in turmoil for years, and now they were hearing rumors that armed men had entered their home village again.
They tried to call family members but found that cell phone connections weren’t working. What was going on? Had the armed men cut the connections on purpose? The rumors intensified. They heard of fighting in their village, of deaths, and of people fleeing into the rainforest. One translator said, “Why does this have to happen again? Why can’t we just have peace?” Continue reading
The Good News reached Mr. Lee’s village in Southeast Asia 33 years ago. Mr. Lee, who spoke the Uka language, was intrigued. He became even more intrigued when he learned that followers of Christ didn’t need to make sacrifices. His own animistic religion demanded frequent sacrifices, and he was tired of the expensive and time-consuming rituals.
Mr. Lee’s oldest son holding the Uka New Testament
Though he didn’t understand everything he heard, Mr. Lee decided to follow Christ. After a while, a handful of other villagers became believers as well. The new believers began a Sunday school in the village, but they soon ran into a roadblock. There was no Bible in Uka — a language spoken by 15,000 people in four countries — and no one had figured out how to express key biblical terms like “faith” in their language. Without those terms, Mr. Lee and the others were not able to fully explain their faith.
Translators from people groups scattered across dozens of islands come and go from a bustling little building in Kupang, West Timor. The building houses the Language and Culture Unit of the Evangelical Protestant Church of Timor (GMIT).
Quiet enthusiasm runs high as the translators share stories of how God’s Word is impacting lives. In long conversations, they exchange ideas about how to translate accurately, how to encourage people to use the Scriptures, and how to handle logistics and other challenges in their various locations. They discuss their Scripture drafts with advisors and consultants, record audio Scriptures, and pick up boxes of newly printed Scriptures to distribute back in their villages. In the center of the whirlwind, Wycliffe player-coaches Chuck and Barbara Grimes give leadership, advice, mentoring and training. Continue reading