A Miracle to Be Savored
All of us who are at work in prayer and action to further worldwide Bible translation—bringing Scripture to life where it has never existed before—need to take a moment and celebrate.
The need for Bible translation isn’t going away. Not while millions of people are still unreached and millions of believers are living and dying without ever having seen God’s Word in their own language . . .
But we can take just a few minutes to praise our gracious, faithful Lord whose words are finally being read for the very first time in a community in South Asia by the young and old, devout Christians, and also by those who are just learning they have a Savior.
Because it is a miracle to be savored when a people group endures years of sacrifice and hardship to see a translation project through and finally have the chance to hold a New Testament in their hands.
BIBLE TRANSLATION CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT
As those who provide translation tools and training, financial support and daily prayers, we are all partners in the challenges that Bible translation teams face each day.
Some of our partners are persecuted by authorities, their communities, and even family members. Others risk their lives if they are known to follow Christ. Extreme poverty and natural disasters threaten many of our partners, often in addition to persecution!
Every faithful friend who supports the work of Wycliffe Associates knows we provide the tools, training, and encouragement to equip local churches and their translation teams to bring Scripture to life in a new language . . . and that sometimes we rush in with humanitarian aid or provide a safe haven for translators whose lives are in danger.
Our commitment to our brothers and sisters in Christ runs deep: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV).
WHEN NEWLY TRANSLATED SCRIPTURE COMES TO LIFE
There are small celebrations every day as a team translates favorite verses into their own language for the very first time. Same with the Psalms, the parables, and the promises of God, which have been passed down over the decades, committed to memory out of necessity because the village had no Bible to consult.
And when a team has endured terrifying persecution, faced drought or famine, suffered the pain of hunger or thirst, endured a pandemic and countless other challenges so they can hold a hot-off-the-press New Testament or Bible, then it’s time for an even larger celebration.
AN IMPORTANT INVITATION TO A DEDICATION CELEBRATION
The translation support team at Wycliffe Associates made a trip to South Asia just weeks ago. It was a quiet trip, under the radar of hostile authorities who will stop at nothing to halt the advance of the Gospel. Under the radar to protect our translation partners and to avoid being detained, questioned, searched, or worse.
A language group had just completed the New Testament, thanks to the prayers and financial support of many friends and donors of Wycliffe Associates.
Our celebratory gift to these overjoyed believers was to print the first 100 of their newly translated Scriptures and to be there when they were distributed.
It was an unforgettable experience. As westerners, we enjoy religious freedom and have nearly limitless access to Scripture through our Bibles and devotionals, phones and computers, our churches, and the internet . . . but life is very different in this part of South Asia.
The dedication ceremony was held in a crowded room filled with local Christians of all ages. Prayers were offered, thanks extended, and then the New Testaments were handed out. The reverence with which the testaments were received was very moving, as was the silence that fell as every believer immediately opened and began to read Scripture in their own language for the very first time in history.
In the words of one of Wycliffe Associates’ staff who was there that day:
The most touching scenes for me—seeing the young people poring over their new Scriptures and talking about what it means, sharing testimony of what they are understanding! Wow! Never before have they had the opportunity to do this. To watch them and know this is a watershed moment for them, and for their culture, was just breathtaking! I felt honored, humbled, and a little undone.
During the celebration, we dedicated three teams from different languages who will be starting their translations in March. The pastors and leaders from the team that was celebrating their completion came forward and prayed over the new teams. This was a beautiful picture of God’s body working together, of Church Owned Bible translation multiplying.
A CONVERSATION WITH ONE OF THE TRANSLATION PARTNERS
We asked the translators to share about their lives and the impact of the Bible translation project. Meena shared that she and her brother were raised to follow Christ in a country where believers are scarce. Their father was dean at a seminary, which put a target on his back and on those of the children as well. Her brother, Thomas, was bullied at school because he was the only Christian in a class filled with Muslims and had an overt Christian name.
“We were the only Christians in the whole school. I have a Bible name, and I’ve always been thankful that it marks me as his child. It gives me opportunities to testify to my Savior,” Meena says. “But I have never suffered for my name like Thomas did. I ached for his persecution.”
Meena decided not to follow her father in ministry because it would put a target on her back, and she didn’t want to have to live with the threats that she had seen her father and brother endure over the years. So she went to school and earned her master’s degree in pharmaceuticals.
But during a Wycliffe Associates training event, Meena helped with translation and enjoyed it so much that she continued to help. Slowly, God used the experience of translating Scripture to change her heart. “I don’t even care about pharmaceuticals now,” she says. “I only want to help with Bible translation.”
When I asked her if she was still scared of persecution, Meena said,
“No. I have assurance of salvation. Once you work with God, you know, there is nothing better you can do. It’s still scary to be a Christian in my country. But I know if I can live for Christ, I can also die for him.”
LET US MAKE SCRIPTURE AVAILABLE TO MORE LANGUAGE GROUPS NOW!
Wycliffe Associates is committed to making the miracle we witnessed in South Asia at the dedication ceremony happen again and again. Because friends like you have given generously, translation projects will be completed in 50 languages—10 or more in South Asian countries where anti-Christian persecution is severe.
Please partner with us to help more language groups experience this same joy and transformation. Make a gift to help empower this same miracle for 50 more people groups who have never seen God’s Word in their own heart language.
To help provide Scripture in 50 languages—including areas in South Asia—will take a total of $75,000.
Thank you for giving generously so each one of these language groups can celebrate having God’s Word in their language—and have a dedication ceremony as profound and unforgettable as the one we attended just weeks ago!