Scraps of Wastepaper?


Mother Tongue Bible translators work hard. First they study a passage of scripture with commentaries to be sure they translate clearly. Then they read the translated section in their language out loud to others who aren’t yet familiar with the passage to find out if it communicates naturally. A highly qualified student of the Bible, who understands how languages and cross-cultural communication work, checks every word with the translation team to be sure the meaning is true to the original. Sometimes these steps have to be repeated until the whole thing makes sense and is consistent with other translated passages.

A few weeks ago, the Laman* translation team held a consultant check for Galatians and 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Bee*, a woman from the Laman area, came to such a check for the first time. Her role was to listen for how well the passages communicated in her mother tongue. At the end of the check, Nelly*, the facilitator who helped organize the event, found Bee in the meeting room, carefully gathering up all the discarded papers from their checking sessions. And Bee wanted to take this trash home with her!

A week later Bee called Nelly from the village. She wanted to tell Nelly that she had read the scraps with the passages in Laman to her church when she gave her testimony about participating in the translation check. Then Bee handed the phone to her pastor’s wife, who confirmed to Nelly how excited the church was to hear the Scriptures in their own language. The older church members were so pleased that they had finally understood the Bible for the first time! And they were looking forward to more.

For a long time even church attenders among the Laman have suffered from evil spirits and animistic practices.

A few scraps of paper saved by a persistent country woman have awakened new hope in her village. And better yet, the Gospel of Luke in Laman is now being published and distributed. Pray that it will spread to all parts of this remote region and shine true light in the darkness that has reigned there so long.