“’Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
Romans 10:13 – 15 (NIV)
“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
‘Your God reigns!’”
Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)
I’ve come across some comments from mother tongue translators who have completed the MAST training and translated Scripture into their own languages. And they got me to thinking . . .
Mother tongue translator, Serge, commented at the end of a MAST workshop, “I will be able to preach the Good News. . . today I have many verses memorized.”
Mother tongue translator Alimatou’s husband had passed away just three months before her MAST workshop. Though her grief was heavy and consuming, she dug into the Scripture. The words pierced her soul. Alimatou’s sorrow gave way to joy. “I am recharged, and I found the joy of living,” she said. “I recognize that there is power in the words of God!
A new believer in the Middle East commented that “when I came to John 3:16, it said, ‘God so loved the world,’ I thought, I am part of this world so God loves me! I cried out to God, crying with joy. It was like something very deep coming out of my heart—this root of selfishness, pride, and hatred.”
They speak of the power of the almighty God! They talk of God reaching down to mankind—with love! They are empowered to preach the Good News—when their world is full of hatred and killing.
Each of these translators worked hard and helped translate the written Scripture—printed and taken home to their church family, their community, their loved ones—to read and to hear.
Nearly half of the remaining language communities around the world that have no Bible translation—no Scripture—are unwritten languages.
One dear old ‘grandfather’ in Papua New Guinea had heard Bible stories when he was a young lad. Over the years he has yearned to know—to hear the whole story of God’s love and the salvation provided through His son Jesus Christ. He still yearns to hear the Word of God in his language—an unwritten language. He yearns for the Scripture in their mother tongue so the youth of his community will hear of God’s love and salvation.
Wycliffe Associates uses the MAST method, to empower nationals to translate Scripture into oral—unwritten—languages! Your gifts and prayers provide training and computer tablets with recording software—everything needed for mother tongue translators to record translated Scripture into their own unwritten heart language.
Let’s pray together for Wycliffe Associates regional directors, program managers, and others reaching out to language groups without God’s Word. Please ask the Lord to give them favor when meeting and sharing about Bible translation with church and community leaders. Pray that the church leaders in oral language communities will be encouraged that they can now translate and record God’s Word spoken into their own languages.
Please pray for the MAST teams of leaders, facilitators, and IT assistants all leading, teaching, mentoring, helping, and praying for the national translation teams. Let's pray too for these bi-lingual national translators as they grapple with listening to the Scripture verses in a gateway language of wider communication, translating the verses into their own language in their mind, and then speaking the translated Scripture into the recording devices.
Oh, by the way, we call these electronic tools BTRKs (Bible Translation Recording Kits). The kits include a computer tablet, software, and recording equipment. And the national translators are trained to record during MAST workshops. The Bible translation recordings are uploaded to secure online storage for safe keeping and downloaded to mobile storage to take back to their churches and community leaders.
During community and church gatherings the recordings are played, heard by all, and may be revised or re-recorded if necessary.
What a project for a people with no written alphabet or written words! What joy fills the hearts and souls of those listening to God’s Word in their own precious languages. So pray with me for oral language communities using BTRK equipment to record God’s Word. Many, many people whom Jesus loves will finally hear His voice in their language and may have the opportunity to receive His salvation.