“We Bless the Name of the Lord”

By Rachel Greco

The three-week Oral Bible translation (OBT) workshop in western Africa was the most challenging workshop of the three that Dost* has put on for Faith Comes by Hearing—a JAARS partner.

Dost had arranged to be in the country on November 28 and begin the workshop on November 30. Then, for no apparent reason, the airlines canceled his flight. The next available flight was on December 1, two days after the start of training. God provided a solution so that the participants wouldn’t miss two days of training. Dost’s coworker, Alex*, was able to go beforehand and provide those two days of training, for which Dost was thankful: “That gave me less stress during the training, because I could continue as if I was there since the first day. Praise God.”

But Dost’s struggles weren’t over yet. On December 7, he felt ill. But despite suffering at night and not sleeping well, Dost continued the training. “God gave me the strength each day to lead the training during the day.”

With his symptoms looking more and more like those of COVID-19, Dost was sure he had it. But after getting tested, his results came back negative. “I can’t really say how I [was able] to do the training in these conditions, but I know that God was with me as always. The worst could’ve happened, but the Lord did not allow it. We bless the name of the Lord.”

Despite these challenges, Dost was happy to be a part of this training. The K* language group is currently suffering persecution from the community. Most of the participants have fled their communities and now live in the capital city. According to Dost, “These oral Scriptures will be easy [for them] to use to reach their people because according to them, it is difficult to hold a written Bible in their community.”

The K translation team works on translating the Scripture orally on laptops provided by JAARS

Listening to oral Scripture on cell phones and audio devices will be much safer for people in this language group to use, and people like you made it possible by providing the translation teams with much-needed laptops and headsets through JAARS. Thank you!

God also enabled the team to overcome some linguistic difficulties during the training. One of the teams came over to listen to the other’s recording to see if it sounded natural. It did, but they realized that the team hadn’t used the word they agreed on for the key word, ‘prophet.’ When the long discussion that ensued grew too heated, Dost invited the translation consultant to come and lead it. After lunch, the teams continued discussing the use of the word ‘prophet.’ After many phone calls to pastors and people in their community, they made a decision. They decided to use the word that means “sent by God.”

The team then used the edit tool on their Render software to replace the last part of the translation, taking into account the changes made to the word ‘prophet.’ When they finished editing, the recording sounded natural, and no one noticed the changes.

Mattresses can make a great homemade recording studio!

The teams are excited to record more Bible stories and share them with their community. In fact, some already are! One of the translation advisors used the story of Mary and Martha to preach at church the Sunday after the workshop. Instead of having someone read the passage, he told it like a story. “We had good discussions, and at the end, all the members of the church were happy and were asking for more oral Bible stories. I told them that I will tell them more stories [once they’re translated].”

Praise the Lord that despite many challenges, God’s Word is going out to the K people in their own language, and in a form they can listen to. Now they, too, can treasure and bless the name of the Lord!

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*Name changed or removed for security reasons