Seven years ago, I took a picture of a smiling Bible Translator holding a precious copy of the Matthew Bible, a first edition of William Tyndale’s translation of the Bible into English from 1537. The Matthew Bible was the precursor to the King James Version of the English Bible, the first of more than 900 versions of the Bible in English.
Dave and his wife Stacey are both graduates of The Master’s College, and they have spent much of the last 20 years preparing for today–college, seminary, grad school, phonemes, morphemes, rhetoric, sick children, broken down cars, losing parents, learning French, developing an alphabet, loving a factious people.
Today, they began training their team of national translators to start the Kwakum Bible translation. I logged onto Zoom for a few minutes this morning to pray with them and with their team–that they would believe in Jesus and have life full and everlasting.
I was overwhelmed. Yes, overwhelmed by the goodness of God to let me know Dave and Stacey and to see His hand at work in their lives, to rejoice in their courage and joy. But also overwhelmed by the knowledge of the work that it took to get to this point and what is still to come before there is a Kwakum Bible. And heartbroken by the many languages still yet untouched.
Would you pray with us? Dave and Stacey write clearly about their experience, a unique combination of daily life in Cameroon along with the technical experiences of working on an unwritten language. You can find their blog here: https://haretranslation.com/ Their post from 2/23/20 will give you a great idea about how to pray for them and their translation team (and any other translators you might know!).
Here is a portion from that post:
“We know that apart from the Spirit of God and his blessing, our work will be in vain. Please join us on Tuesday, February 25th by praying the following with us:
- that the Lord would bless this country with political stability so that we can see this project through to the end.
- that God will save those on our translation team who are not yet believers.
- that God will help our translation team to have a crystal clear understanding of the Gospel.
- that God will give Dave and me grace to teach technical concepts clearly in both French and Kwakum.
- that this work that we are all doing will be an outpouring of an expression of love for God, done for his glory.
- Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31b
- that we would work hard for the Lord and not for men.
- Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Col 3:23-24
- that our team would be motivated and characterized by love.
- If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:1-7
- that our team would be characterized by a quickness to hear, a slowness to speak, and a slowness to anger in our interactions with one another.
- Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19
- That the Lord would save the members of our team and that we would have a unity in the Gospel that surpasses language and culture.
- Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:11
- that God would give us abundant wisdom in all domains relating to translation: wisdom in the writing system, in translation decisions, in promoting the translation to the community, in leading our translation team.
- If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
- that God would abundantly bless the work of our hands. That we will produce an excellent translation that is clear, faithful to the original text, not unnecessarily offensive to the community (outside of the message itself), and is in natural, easy-to-understand Kwakum.
- Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17
- that the Lord would cause all that we do, whether that be evangelism, discipleship, literacy, translation, storying, or whatever to be successful. That he would bless our work like he blessed the work of Joseph.
- His master saw that the Lord was with [Joseph] and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. Gen 39:3
- that as we and our team translate the Word, that we would apply it to our lives and be changed by it.
- But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
- that as we and our team translate the Word, we would constantly be putting to death in us that which does not honor the Lord.
- Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Col 3:5-11
- that the Word of Christ would dwell in the hearts of the Kwakum.
- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Col 3:16
- that there would continue to be a spirit of excitement among the Kwakum about learning to read and write so that they would be able to read the Bible as it comes out.
- that the Kwakum would worship Jesus in Spirit and in truth and not naively accept every wind of doctrine that blows their way. That they would be a people who are biblically literate and discerning.
- that the Kwakum would worship and praise God forever.”
I can’t wait to stand with Kwakum people around the throne of Jesus and rejoice in His work of redemption for each of us!