Scripture Can Go Everywhere

By Rachel Greco

Because of religious insecurity in western Africa, evangelical churches there have realized that they can no longer succeed in sharing the gospel unless they share the Scripture in the people’s language. People find it much easier to grasp the meaning of Scripture in their own local language than when they read or listen to it in a trade language.

At the national missionary council last year held in a western African country, the president of the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches urged all churches in western Africa to support Scripture translation into local languages. A church leader told the delegates, “Today, with technology, Scripture can go everywhere and talk with everybody, even to our persecutors. The Word of God can go and transform lives where no one dares calling Jesus’ name and remain alive.”

One group that is hard at work translating Scripture is the Oral Bible Translation (OBT) team for the K* language group. With the knowledge and skills that team members received from their Faith Comes by Hearing training, and the headsets and laptops funded by people like you giving to JAARS Technology Solutions, they are translating the New Testament for their community.

A consultant checking the translated Scripture.

Many K people have been scattered by the religious turmoil in their country. But they still have reason to praise God! One translator, Gervais*, said, “We give thanks to the Lord for this project because, [even] as a dispersed community, we are now able to share something together as a community. This project is the link joining us together.”

Even Christians in the K language community whom the OBT team has never met have reached out to the team to offer ideas about certain key terms or to share their willingness to help the project proceed. “The Word of God in audio brought us together as a community,” Gervais said, “because we can share at least something together even if we can’t see each other because of the [insecurity].”

Kaleb*, one of the advisors, burns with passion to see his people hear the word of God. He takes many risks to enter dangerous villages to share the translated and recorded Scripture. “I remain convinced that [this project] was the answer to our prayers,” he stated. “God remembered our community by allowing us to make the Word of God available to our community in their own dialect.”

Some K people listen to recordings of Luke translated by the OBT team.

A childhood friend whom Kaleb had lost contact with heard the recorded Scripture in one of the villages and learned his friend, Kaleb, had worked on the translation. That friend did everything he could to try to see Kaleb, and forty years after they lost contact, the friend came to Kaleb’s house. “It was an immense joy,” Kaleb said. But his joy deepened when he learned his friend had come to see if Kaleb had more recorded Scripture to give him. The friend told Kaleb how happy he was to hear the Word of God in their language.

“During these difficult times that our community is going through, listening to these recordings brings me great peace,” Kaleb said. “I gladly transferred the approved [recordings] to him, and we parted in joy. I bless the Lord to know that my work allows my friend of 40 years to have hope.”

Praise the Lord that he is using Oral Bible Translation teams to impact lives for eternity in this difficult part of the world! Please pray for our brothers’ and sisters’ protection and perseverance as they share the gospel.

*Name changed or removed for security reasons