During our almost 20 years in North Africa, we experienced what Christian ministry and Bible translation look like in a difficult context. Last week we got another glimpse of the harsh realities in which many of our Christian brothers and sisters live.
We were visiting one of OneBook’s partner organization in Southeast Asia. We discussed the Shatikha*
project with them at length. The Shatikha people group numbers about 15,000, including maybe 50 Christian believers. The project is led by Paul, a local pastor-evangelist. Ten years ago, his own people imprisoned Paul for a month under threat of his life because he openly shared his faith. The threat continues – if he steps over the line, he could be jailed again, or worse, killed.
And yet, he continues to minister. He continues to share the gospel. He pastors his small Shatikha church. He has started a small farm to employ poor church goers. Together with his wife, he runs a boarding home from the church for children, many of them orphaned. And he translates the Bible. With all the responsibilities God has given him, the translation work has progressed slowly. With so few believers and so much opposition, not many others are available and willing to help. Publications have to be low profile so that they do not endanger the project. Mostly it is the 50+ Christians and the orphanage who quietly receive trial copies. Paul also uses the pre-publication copies of Matthew and older versions of Mark, Acts or Romans for evangelism and preaching in village meetings.
And the Word of God does have an impact! Women especially have responded to the Good News. Among the Shatikha people, women are second class citizens and treated as such. Many are beaten by their husbands and girls often end up as slaves to rich (non-Shatikha) owners to pay down family debts. Paul and his wife hold village meetings in which women respond, even though the local religious leaders protest and try to prohibit them. In this difficult context, Shatikha women hear the Shatikha Scriptures and respond to a Jesus who cares for women.
Please pray with us for Paul’s protection, the ministries God has given him,
and the translation project.
Currently the Shatikha translation project has no dedicated funder. Please pray also that more funding will become available again. Click here to find out more about the Shatikha project.
*Shatikha is a pseudonym for the people group’s actual name. This is done to protect them.
Pictures in this blog post are not from Paul’s home country for sensitivity reasons.