We’ve asked prayer and financial partners of Lutheran Bible Translators why they invest some of their mission giving with LBT. They say it’s because we have a clear and simple vision: “Translate the Bible and put it in the hands of people.” That’s what we’ve done, together with these support partners, for over fifty years and what we plan to keep doing. However, how and by whom continues to change.
Thanks to faithful and generous prayer and giving, we continue to be on the cutting edge of redefining the look of Bible translation ministry into the 21st century. Part of that strategy is investing in local partners and their physical infrastructure. Bible translation ministry happens in a physical location. While it may be romantic to think of teams working in a thatch roof hut to translate the Bible, there are shortcomings to that approach. That approach focuses on a process leading to a product. It does not build an ongoing ability for the churches in the language community to carry out further translation work, literacy, or other engagement with Scripture.
An investment for the future
We believe that it is important to work in ways that are sustainable and responsible. Bible translation, literacy, and Scripture engagement should continue with local motivation and direction. That’s why we believe it is important to help our partners to invest in their infrastructure. They are not just buildings—they are mission outposts that help gain a foothold in areas where the Gospel has yet to take deep root. They are mission outposts from which qualified and trained church leaders, evangelists, teachers, and leaders can be deployed. These local people, prepared for the task, can share God’s Word in their heart languages and help the church and community to immerse more deeply into the Scriptures.
For this purpose, we have created the International Development Fund. In the past two years, gifts to this fund have enabled long time partners at the Liberian Literacy and Translation Organization (LIBTRALO) to build and move into new administrative offices in Liberia. We have also assisted our sister organization, LBT-Canada, with a new soon-to-be-completed Bible center in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon to serve the needs of multiple language communities.
And there’s more! In the next five years, we plan to work with our partners to improve or develop infrastructure in Southeast Asia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. We are asking those interested in Bible translation ministry to prayerfully consider a special gift to the International Development Fund to join in building mission outposts. These gifts strengthen heart language Bible translation and Gospel proclamation in ministry locations still out there that “salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6.