In Our Lifetime!
We can see the final Bible translation not only started but finished our lifetime! That was the theme of the Wycliffe Associate’s banquets that we had the honor of being a part of three weeks ago. We were so blessed to be so strongly reminded of the greater purpose that we are striving for and that is to accelerate Bible translation and get God’s word into the hands of people who are hungry for it as soon as possible.
The guest speaker was a Bible translator named Greg Jones who is currently working on a translation with the Zabana people of the Solomon Islands. It was really exciting and encouraging to hear his stories of God’s faithfulness and work in that people group. He told the story of when he, along with mother-tongue translators Isaac and Ian, had spent the previous few days making final revisions to the Gospel of Luke and the books of 1 and 2 Timothy for the Zabana people of the Solomon Islands. Now the village testing would commence—a read-through for the villagers to ensure the translation could be clearly understood.
As Greg’s team read the Scriptures aloud, it quickly became apparent that the words were not only translated well, but they also were having a profound impact on the people. “Their excitement grew since they could understand it clearly,” Greg said. “They kept making sounds and statements meaning, ‘Oh wow!’ or ‘That’s right!’ When touched by a verse, they would point to their chest and say, ‘This is shooting me in the heart.'”
Toward the end of the day, as they were working their way through 1 Timothy, Greg suggested they call it a day and resume the next morning. But he was met with protests by villagers eager to hear more. “You need to understand that this is like food to us,” they said. “We don’t want to wait to find out what Paul is going to say next.”
Greg was more than happy to comply. And today, 17 years after joining Wycliffe Bible Translators, he continues serving the Zabana people. Using his background in biblical exegesis and linguistics, Greg has trained over 40 Zabana men and women to help with the translation, and about 35 percent of the New Testament is now complete. This year, the translation of three more books will be completed: Acts, Philippians, and Colossians.
It is so exciting to hear the stories of these people’s lives being transformed and we didn’t get tired of hearing them six times!
The host of the events was a man named Mike Williams who was originally introduced to Wycliffe by Greg when Greg and his wife were first joining Wycliffe. Mike is now working his heart out to share the need for Bible translation and raise support for the many projects at hand. We attended six of the banquets (over eight days), but he goes on to host around 25 of these banquets in 31 days. We really appreciated his hard work and support.
At these banquets we had the opportunity to meet with people over dinner and share our stories with them and at most banquets were were able to briefly share our story to the whole audience. We made a lot of great connections in the process and even met some partners who are joining our team! Thank you to all of you that we connected with at the banquets – it was such a pleasure to meet you all. Thank you also to all of you who prayed for us during this busy time and helped by caring for Hunter. We are so blessed by you all!
Here is a video that was presented at the banquet and tells of more lives transformed by Bible translation.