Have you ever waited for something for a very long time? Something you genuinely desired, truly needed? Has delivery been delayed over and over again, leading you to wonder if you were ever going to get it?
How about waiting for 50 years?
On March 8, the Gola New Testament will be dedicated in Monrovia, Liberia. The project started back in the 1970s. Over the next three and half decades, illness and civil war disrupted the translation process. Despite all the setbacks, the desire for God’s Word remained strong. The project took on new life in 2014, with Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT) missionary Becky Grossmann serving as translation advisor to a new Gola translation team.
Gola speaker Mrs. B. first heard about Jesus as a child but didn’t understand what it meant to have Him as her personal Lord and Savior. She felt lost, knowing there was a God but not how to be in relationship with Him. As she got older, she began going to church. “What helped me most was those little tracts from the Bible that were translated into Gola back in the 70s. As I heard John 3:16 in my language it touched my heart and soul,” she said. “From that moment I became a Christian.” Mrs. B. went on to become a Sunday school teacher and a reviewer for the Gola translation project.
Fifty years to completion? Yes. But God was working throughout that time. Even in the worst of circumstances those early Scripture portions—translated and printed by the first missionaries—were reaching Gola speakers like Mrs. B. and bringing change to their lives. How much greater the impact as the New Testament is read and studied in homes and churches!
Liberia is still in the process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the war. Said one Gola man, “Life can be difficult due to the prevailing economic, political and social situations of our time. These situations are sometimes beyond our understanding, they require the understanding of God’s Word to enable us to survive them.” It’s a timely reminder for all of us to turn to Scripture for answers.
Be sure to visit LBT’s Facebook page over the coming week to learn more about the Gola dedication.