Woman in Area Where Tablets Are Needed for Bible Translation

I have tried before to write this post, but it’s hard.

When a brother in Christ stands before you, with tears in his eyes, and asks, “Why doesn’t anyone care about us?” his tears become your own.

How can I share this story?

My wife and I were in Indonesia, deep in the jungle, visiting the Sawi, a tribe of people who have been working feverishly on Bible translation.

Their passion was phenomenal.

Generations ago, they were cannibals. Missionaries brought the gospel. God’s love took hold. The Sawi turned to Jesus, and became a peaceful people.

Praise the Lord, the New Testament was translated in their heart language decades go, but they still don’t have the complete Bible in their own heart language.

I remember almost laughing when I heard about our team’s first contact with the Sawi. We needed to know: “How many translators can you recruit?” 

500 translators!” they replied.

We urged them to start with a more manageable 150 translators. But by the third day of our Bible translation workshop, 211 people had gathered, eager to be involved.

To our knowledge, it was the biggest Bible translation event in the history of the world.

By the time I arrived to the event, they were celebrating the translation work they had completed, and their teams were continuing to dive further into work on the Old Testament.

But that’s not where the story ends. Before I had been at the work site very long, a pastor named Nehemiah approached me. He was not of the Sawi tribe. He was a member of the neighboring Kayagar tribe. Missionaries had preached the gospel to the Kayagar as well, long ago.

But the Kayagar never had the Scriptures in their own heart language. Pastor Nehemiah’s eyes welled up.

“Why doesn’t anyone care about us?” he asked.

Their missionaries had eventually moved on. And Nehemiah had lived his entire life yearning for God’s Word in his own heart language.

“WE need the Bible in Kayagar,” Nehemiah went on. “We are ready to do the work. Will you help US?”

It’s a question I hear almost daily. Again and again, as language groups learn about the seemingly miraculous possibility of translating the Scriptures for themselves, they turn to us asking for the technology and the tools—the tablets and the training—to get started.

My broken heart longs to say yes.

For pastors like Nehemiah, computer tablets make national Bible translation possible. Even if the Kayagar attempt to translate the Bible by hand, their paper-and-pencil work will be at terrible risk. Nehemiah’s people live in such a harsh jungle environment that a monsoon or a wildfire can destroy written work in an instant. Others who contact us are living under the threat of persecution for their faith—and they wonder how they can protect Bible translation work from hostile authorities. 

They need tablets.

  • It’s one of the only ways they can store and protect their translation work in the cloud.
  • It’s one of the only ways they can access the Bible translation software they need.
  • It’s one of the only ways we can get them a vast library of essential translation resources.
  • It’s one of the only ways they can work simultaneously with other national Bible translators, with maximum efficiency, checking each other’s work for accuracy as they go.

All it takes is $300 to give a computer tablet to a national Bible translator, and empower them to CHANGE THE FUTURE for their entire language group.

After generations of waiting, longing, hoping, weeping, praying to experience God’s Word in their own heart language, a tablet finally helps make it happen.

But Nehemiah’s story is just one example. Looking forward to 2020, we have the opportunity to start hundreds of Bible translations.

In fact, in the first two months of 2020, we expect translators will need at least 470 tablets.

At $300 per tablet, the immediate need is $141,000. But as I’ve prayed about this, and shared my heart, a number of generous friends have put together a beautiful $70,000 challenge fund to help meet the need.

So today, any gift given toward tablets for national translators can be combined with this challenge to send even more computer tablets to the field.

I hope you can help. Christmas is coming. This could be the most meaningful, most world-impacting gift you’ll give this year. Any gift, large or small, will make a difference—especially combined with the challenge fund.

Think about it. Pray about it. Ask God to guide you by His Spirit. And then get back to me.

I know this has been a long post. But thank you for reading. Thank you for praying. Thank you for giving. Thank you for changing the world, by the power of God’s Word, through the unique potential of a simple computer tablet.

God bless you for it.


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