Halloween is just a few weeks away. Children—and adults—will dress up, trick or treat, attend parties, and tell ghost stories. In fact, throughout the year, zombies, vampires and other such creatures that go bump in the night make for popular books, TV shows and movies. And it’s done in the name of fun and entertainment.
But for many people today, the spirit world is very real. Belief in the supernatural is a part of everyday life, and fear of what the supernatural can do is ever present.
Animism—the religious belief that objects and creatures possess a spiritual essence, potentially malevolent and intent on harm—is practiced throughout the world. For generations the Maan people of Liberia have been captive to this belief. Many practice witchcraft. Although the Maan believe there is a supreme god they also believe there is no way to reach him.
But Maan speaker Mrs. G. knows differently. “I believe that nothing—absolutely nothing—but faith and total trust in the atonement in Christ’s death and redeeming blood gives us right standing with God,” she says. “I heard the Gospel message. I understood that it was through Jesus’ death that my sins were forgiven, annulled. The price of sin was paid ‘once for all’.” God became loving, approachable, a real presence in her life.
As an adult, Mrs. G attended literacy class, learning to read and write her mother tongue. Today she is a reviewer with the Maan translation team. “I am proud to be doing such a noble task for my people and my Church!”
God’s Word is powerful, breaking through barriers created by generations of superstition and fear. But people cannot come to faith unless they have access to God’s Word in a language they understand. For the Maan, an Old Testament translation and revised New Testament will attest to God’s accessibility to His people. The Maan are supportive of the translation project and increasingly interested in learning to read and write their language.
Superstition is meant to provide safety and a means to control the world around us. As Christians, we learn to look to God to protect and care for us. Mrs. G’s life has been transformed by her faith in Jesus Christ. “I am thankful for the literacy education and the translation team that is helping us to read God’s Word in our own language,” she says.