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With My Language I Cannot Cross a River

With My Language I Cannot Cross a River

The language our mothers teach us is an integral part of who we are. Countless studies have been documented that prove the strong link between language and identity. You are what you speak. Oral societies who have no access to the joy of reading and writing in their mother tongue are disadvantaged. They often feel inferior to the dominant people groups around them. They cannot communicate using their language outside the borders of their homeland. They cannot cross a river with their language....

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Pray for Light

Pray for Light

All around the world, there are communities using Bible translation as a lamp--the light of the truth of the Bible directed to light their paths--and often, grassroots literacy programs are the wax, oil, and batteries that keep that light shining. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they...

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Why not just teach people English?

Why not just teach people English?

(provided by TWFTW, 2019; revised for online publication, 2022) Some might ask, "Why do you invest so much in developing smaller languages? Why don't you instead teach people to become literate in English or the national language?" They argue that there is already so much literature available in dominant languages, or that education systems are already in place with books and teachers. Additionally, the costs and effort involved in developing orthographies and producing literature for speakers...

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What do translators do?

What do translators do?

What do translators do? This seems an easy question--they translate. It follows that Bible translators translate the Bible--but what is translating? Is it like re-telling a story or literal, word-for-word matching between two languages? Is there any room for interpretation? Many people think not, but then, live translation is called interpreting. What about translating poetry, metaphors, parables, and theological texts that might rely on idioms that do not have the same meaning in two...

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We will serve God with His Word in our hand

We will serve God with His Word in our hand

Today, we join the Khatei in celebration! God united this small community of 2,000 people to produce a beautifully clear and deeply understandable Bible in their own language. Last month, the Khatei released and dedicated their New Testament! "Getting this NT Bible is the biggest history in the history of the Khatei community. Things will be become old, the flowers will decay, but the word of God in the Khatei language will remain forever. I am so happy and blessed ... I give all the glory and...

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Totally different than what I had thought before.

Totally different than what I had thought before.

Please, sit a moment and try to hear these voices* from the farthest corners of the world. Each voice tells a story--true, open, and praising God. The stories often start the same, in confusion and darkness: " ...We were worshipping trees, stones, and mountains, and calling them God..." "...we have different secret groves to pay sacrifices to the earth goddess and other goddesses. We were being bound by the blind beliefs of our forefathers..." "...they think Christianity is the bad, foreign...

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Blurring the lines of evangelism

Blurring the lines of evangelism

Consider the word evangelism--sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others takes on so many different shapes and sizes. Now, consider the phrase, Bible translation. Do you think of a dedicated missionary couple pouring over books in a foreign land? Do you think of desks and dictionaries? Maybe a few people huddled around a computer arguing about semantics? At first thought, these two foundational Christian pursuits might seem to be distant cousins at best. The truth is that evangelism...

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He Speaks My Language

He Speaks My Language

"God speaks my language!" is an expression we hear all the time, but we simply can't get enough of it! The words convey surprise, but the joy, tears, and wonder in their eyes while saying it speaks volumes and sticks with you.There is something profoundly moving in the revelation that God--the Creator of heaven and earth--sees you, knows you, and speaks to you. It can be challenging to grasp the idea of a personal, relational God when everything you experience about Him is so very foreign. An...

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Transformation through Trust

Transformation through Trust

The small meeting hall was starting to burst at its seams as Reuben Kabwe inspired the translators, staff, and colleagues gathering in Lusaka for the yearly training conference for Southern Africa. As one of its native sons, The Word for the World's CDO always draws a crowd in Zambia. This particular morning, Reuben was talking about transformation and leadership to new and returning translators representing twenty Bible-less people groups. Over half a million people living in Zambia,...

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Not only reaching but walking with

Not only reaching but walking with

By itself, Matthew 14:32 might seem like a benign verse, "And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased." (ESV) Many churchgoers will identify the context and story behind this verse instantly. Jesus sends his closest disciples by boat across the Sea of Galilee and catches up with them later--walking on water through a storm. Seeing Jesus, Peter calls to Him and responds to Jesus' command to join Him. Walking out onto the water, Peter sees the wind, has a moment of doubt, and begins to...

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