Get up a little earlier than usual, sit in a plane for an hour, spend an easy two hours in airport transit, another four hours in a comfortable plane, and land in a South Asian city surrounded by tall mountains, ready to meet with church leaders from the Wambra* people group…
Meanwhile, their schedule has been quite different from mine. Last Sunday they hiked out of their villages over rough terrain for three hours, followed by bumpy 10-hour bus ride. After a short night, they met at 6am for devotions, then worked together through a long day until late in the evening.
By the time I joined them on Thursday morning,they had been doing this non-stop for three days. And they had accomplished much. They had carefully reviewed the Wambra draft translation of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John, as well as the two epistles to the Thessalonians. These are now ready for further processing and then will be reviewed again by a Bible translation specialist.
I join them for the closing celebration of their time together. Worship, Bible teaching, and prayer make this a rich time. They also dedicate a couple of publications to the Lord: A booklet with the recently published Easter story in the Wambra language and a few posters with Bible verses will go back with them to the Wambra people. There these publications will join the Wambra worship songs that were recorded last summer. The pastors have already distributed these on small micro-chips which are now playing on cellphones in these villages beyond the ends of the earth. Soon the Gospel of Luke will also be recorded.
Before their time together comes to an end, I observe some lively discussions. “What are they talking about?” I find out that the pastors are concerned about only distributing Christian materials in their Wambra language. The non-Christian Wambra majority do not like this but would welcome it if the team also created and distributed some other materials, such as traditional stories, calendars, or reading booklets. The pastors are also discussing the New Testament dedication that is still some years in the future. “If we want to slaughter a goat or a pig for a really festive meal, we need to start bringing up a piglet or a kid goat now so it will be ready by then.”
Finally, they renew their promise to pray for the Wambra translation project, to give their time and energy to it, to contribute financially, to distribute the Wambra Christian materials and to use them in their ministries.
And then they set off on another bumpy 10-hour bus ride and 3-hour hike back home to their families, friends, and ministries.
Let’s join them in their praises and prayers!
*pseudonym, OneBook has been supporting the Wambra project since 2013