There are millions of people today who know virtually nothing about Jesus Christ, many because Scripture is not accessible to them in a language they understand. Even those brought up as Christians.
Pastor L—a Maan speaker in Liberia—attended church with his family as a child. At that time, there were no Bible materials in his language. Scripture readings were shared in English or another unfamiliar language. As a result: “I didn’t know Christ very well; I just heard about Him. I just went through the motions, doing things I thought Christians were supposed to do.” Then Pastor L learned that Scripture was being translated into his language. It was the beginning of a transformation. “I committed to living for God.”
For generations the Maan people believed there was a supreme god but had no way to reach him. Now, the Maan translation team is working to translate the Old Testament and revise the Maan New Testament so that the Maan people—believers and non-believers alike—will truly understand that God is present and accessible to them. Though COVID-19 restrictions have affected progress, the team is committed to meeting quarterly translation goals. New strategies have allowed translators, reviewers, and consultants to meet, keeping the project on schedule.
As far as Pastor L is concerned, “Being a Christian is about doing work for His people. It’s about sharing His Word with my own community through Bible translation. He has given me fulfillment and purpose and joy!”
You see, we all have that in common. Christians, no matter who or where, are to share the Gospel so that all people know that Jesus is the living and eternal Son of God. And I know that LBT missionaries and translation partners take joy in every verse of translated Scripture, every time someone learns to read God’s Word, in each language community that grows in faith as people worship in their own language. You may remember the story about Oboletswe Matlhaope, a pastor in Botswana. When he heard the beginning of the Gospel of Luke in Shekgalagari, tears welled up in his eyes. Or consider the expressions on the faces in this photo of a Bokyi literacy teacher and his students in Nigeria. These are not isolated cases. People are moved, encouraged, grateful, thrilled to hear Scripture in their language.
Thank you for your participation in Bible translation. May God grant you fulfillment, purpose, and joy!