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 religion of colonialists…”
“…we were sinking day-by-day into that dark world…”
“..there was no one who could lead us.”
With little hope and less guidance, people find themselves lost and alone. Though some even have access to a church, they find themselves wandering on dangerous paths.
“…My friends also were mocking me saying, you are Christian, you are not ours anymore, you are not our community…”
“…Because I did not know about the true God, I followed my parents from childhood and served their god…”
“…I have always struggled to understand scripture in the language of wider communication. We have always found it so challenging to understand God’s word…”
“…I would get drunk every day, then go home…”
But then, the story changes. Someone they trust comes with a few pages of the Bible in their local language–understandable, re-readable, lasting, and clear. Sometimes it’s a draft of a gospel; sometimes, just a few portions of scripture and prayer. People thought they knew about God and the church. They had confused dead things as gods. They thought they knew about Jesus Christ–and maybe they did, but they had not been introduced to Him.
“…Like this my life was going into the darkest world and to death. But one day my father gave me to read a book, but first I did not take it. But the next day again he gave me that same book and I took that from him. And when I opened it, I was surprised, it written in my own language…”
“…One day two brothers came to my village with some papers in their hands. I went to them and asked what they are doing here. They told me they are here for checking their translation. I ask them what kind of translation? They said, we are mother tongue translators, we are translating the Bible in our own language…”
“…I saw some guys come to my village with some paper in their hand. I went to them and asked, ‘who are you guys and what is in your hands?’…”
“…When I read some sentences, I found them totally different from what I had thought before…”
Then, a new understanding begins to form. When God speaks your language, things start to make sense. Little changes accumulate in thoughts and routines. Then, someone asks if you know Jesus, or sometimes, he reveals Himself as you read.
“…Like this day after day my life was changing. And I started go to churches and heard the message of God day by day. And now I changed from my older life. And I totally stopped to worship the dead gods. Now I am serving the living God with my family….”
“…our culture is oral; having Bible in our own mother tongue helps preserve the language and culture too. It is our heart language; we learn to speak from infancy, we think in and dream. Through our Bible, men, women and children think God is speaking to them by their own language. God will not be a foreign god to them; they will love and believe onto Him. And also they will have the thorough understanding on God’s word…”
“…The Love of God for our society is better understood by our people when it is communicated through our heart language…”
“…but now they see Jesus’ love and attitude, and their view of him has changed…”
“…I liked it and I saw something new in it…”
The Word for the World strives to empower people to bring an understandable and interactable revelation of God to their communities. Our God is a living God of transformation–where He is, is light and life.
One closing voice–a testimony echoed by many,
“the translator told my whole family and all the people read and heard and understood very well. You guys printed a book to save our language. Our only language was going to be extinct. Our language will not be extinct anymore, now our people will get to read in their own language, and they will also get to understand; many of our people did not understand much. But through this Bible, I think our whole society will start to understand. I thank God that work started here in our language and in our society.”
*The statements in italics are quotes from translators and community members gathered from interviews and events. They are curated here with permission. No individual or project names have been used to ensure the privacy and security of our people.