A recent LBT blog suggested that the spirit of the Reformation remains strong as people continue to come to an understanding of God for the first time through translated Scripture. As a Bible translation organization, we can provide numerous examples to illustrate our point. But there are a few projects LBT doesn’t talk about publicly. I’d like to highlight one to demonstrate how reformation spirit is impacting lives through literacy and Scripture engagement.
Although Christianity is not banned in country X, there is risk to those who openly practice and share their faith. Cultural and religious expectations cause friction among families and communities if one professes to be a Christian rather than follow the majority religion. Despite this, the number of believers has grown in the past few decades. LBT is serving with one such language group where the number of believers is increasing but very few people have received substantial Christian training. Bible translation for this language is being done by another organization while LBT assists with literacy and Scripture engagement so that people with minimal training will have appropriate resources for use in teaching God’s Word. The goal is to help people find ways to share and apply Scripture to the approximately 200 locations where the faithful worship.
Sunday School materials have proven to be one effective way to share Scripture. Over the past several years various curricula—drawn from both the Old and New Testaments—have been developed and distributed, usually in printed format. Now, amid unpredictable COVID restrictions, materials are being distributed in video format. The lessons are on USB sticks that are plugged into a TV and include an interactive Bible study, audio Scripture, songs, and literacy lessons. This is especially effective for those who cannot read.
There is great enthusiasm for God’s Word among this language community. In one instance a training session meant only for Sunday School teachers became overcrowded when interested church members filled up the building. Not wanting to turn anyone away, the pastor let everyone remain. People had so much to share the lesson went on all morning!
Believers and non-believes alike are being reached. An increasing number of children from non-Christian homes are attending Sunday School. One man, now a pastor, related how he was very much against Christianity as a youth. Hearing Scripture, learning he was beloved by God, turned his life around.
Despite all the challenges, the light of Christ is shining in this language community. It’s not Reformation with a capital R, but lives are certainly being changed. Thank you for your prayers and support on behalf of those whose faith burns brightly even in the face of adversity.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11