Press Release: January 28, 2020

The Light of Life

The Mende people burned candles to protect themselves

Were you ever afraid of the dark? Maybe it still makes you nervous when the lights go out, especially if you’re all alone. Of course, it isn’t the dark itself that we fear. It’s the inability to see what might be hidden in the dark that makes us anxious.

The Mende people of Sierra Leone once depended on sacrifice to appease demons and malevolent spirits. Their great fear of these spirits and demons prompted them to burn candles at night for protection, despite the fact that candles were extremely expensive.

Then things began to change. Around 30 years ago a Mende speaker was asked to help review the first draft of 1 Corinthians. “I see ignorance being defeated through the translation work, even as God’s eternal and unchanging Word goes out with divine power. May it be a lamp unto the feet and a light unto the path of all men and women.”

The Mende New Testament became available in 2003. Now Old Testament translation is underway. When asked to assist with the project, one man exclaimed, “Today is my happiest moment in life. I have been yearning to be part of this noble work of bringing light to our people.” The translation team firmly believes that Scripture makes an impact for eternity on both the individual and the world.

If we don’t have Jesus Christ in our lives, we are in a sense living in darkness all the time. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Through translated Scripture the Mende recognize Christ as Lord and Savior, the true light of the world. For millions of others, fear of the dark remains.

Share the light of Christ with those still waiting for God’s Word in their own language. Click here to learn how you can become part of the Bible translation story.

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