Thankful for Translation

By Karissa Uhlig

Imagine spending sixty-six days on a boat only to arrive at an unfamiliar, largely uncharted land. You nearly lost your life on that boat. The people are new; the sights and sounds are new. You see birds flying overhead that you’ve never seen before, and people who look nothing like you. You begin to wonder how you are going to survive in this foreign place. 

One hundred and two people were in this very situation when they set sail for the New World in 1620. They sought a new place to live so they could own land and, most importantly, worship freely. They understood that being able to worship God in one’s own way should be an opportunity open to all. We will celebrate Thanksgiving on November 25, 2021, to thank the Lord for our freedom to worship him. Sadly, not everyone around the world has this opportunity today. Many people around the world do not even have access to the Bible in their own language! 


JAARS, Wycliffe, and other partner organizations are seeking to remedy this problem by promoting and facilitating Bible translation. JAARS trains missionary pilots and mechanics, provides four-wheel drive vehicles and motorcycles, and sponsors technological and media projects that support Bible translation around the world.

At JAARS we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season! At our annual Scripture Celebration, we celebrated a number of recently completed New Testament translations. The translations had been completed for language groups on almost every continent; praise the Lord for the work he is doing around the world!

Our partners in South Asia recently dedicated a New Testament for the Tikro people. The people were very grateful to have this gift, as well as the apps our South Asia media partner produced. “We believe that the Word of God in [the Tikro’s] local language will help them accept Jesus, the Savior of mankind, as their personal Savior in their hearts,” James, the CEO of our South Asia media partner, said. 

Some language groups, such as the Bau language in Papua New Guinea, have a Storybook Bible that contains Bible stories in an easy to understand format, similar to a picture book. In a video shown at the Scripture Celebration, smiles abounded on the Bau people’s face as they opened their Storybook Bibles. Language worker Benita LeMahieu said, “A man came to the library and looked at our English-language Storybook Bibles for hours.” This inspired the LeMahieu’s to translate the Storybook Bibles into the Bau language. 

Opportunities for remote language groups to understand the Bible abound throughout the world due to the work of dedicated translators and those who give to the JAARS Solutions. 

This Thanksgiving, let’s not take the fact that we have the Bible in our own language for granted. May our hearts be exceedingly thankful for the gifts of salvation, God’s Word, religious freedom, and the many Bible translations that have been completed and will continue to be completed due to God’s work around the world.

Please pray as JAARS supports translation projects throughout the world.