So All Can Hear
by Keeley Samson
YWAM Perth Staff
For over a year now, God has spoken about oral Bible translation to us as the everytongue ministry. At the beginning of 2018, God spoke “Bible translation for Nepal”. Staying faithful to that word, we set our first translation workshop for January 2019. The vision for Nepal was to orally translate a visual tract made of 59 Bible verses. The tract would be four parts and thematic in nature.
Many of you might be asking, “Why is oral Bible translation so important, especially if there is a written Bible already available?” There has been a staggering lack of Bible engagement throughout the world. Many languages have access to a Bible, but few are literate enough to read it. That’s where oral Bible translation bridges the gap.
We have seen the effect of people hearing the Bible in their mother tongue: it speaks to their heart and not just their head.
Many have heard scripture simply because it’s the first thing that has ever been recorded for them.
Even after a year of preparation, dedication and perseverance, there was an element of the unknown before us as we stepped out in faith for our first translation. We did not know what to expect, but trusted that God would be with us. This workshop has been an incredible display of God’s faithfulness and the fruit of being obedient to what God calls us to.
We landed in Nepal and jumped right into oral Bible translation. Partnering with other translation organisations, we recorded all four parts of our tract into two different languages. Our team transformed a simple bathroom into a recording studio with just the materials available to us. We stuffed mattresses, pillows and blankets into every crevice until the room blocked out sound. The whole process took roughly an hour, but the benefits will last throughout the ages.
After arriving in our next location, we set out to train the English-Nepali translators in the procedures for oral Bible translation. Literacy, the process for internalisation and exegesis word study guides were all parts of this. We had fewer translators than we had originally planned on. There was a lot of prayer as we shifted our expectations and came up with new itineraries. We were still standing on faith, knowing that God had called us to this work. We relied on Him for inspiration and new strategies to make this work where we didn’t see that it would!
Today, we record the first draft of the first 22 verses from the Bible ever in one of our target languages! This recording will then be checked by the community, and, if all goes well, it could be finalised next week. We’ve completed the keyterm draft for another language and will begin recording tomorrow. We are pressing in to finish 13 more verses for 2 completed parts of the visual tract before our time ends.
At 6:00 this morning, our team, along with translators, piled into our rented 4WDs and began the four-hour drive to villages. We arrived to 28 people ready to listen to the translation work we had done. Their ages ranged from 15 to 70, both Christians and non-Christians. They all waited in anticipation to hear the 33 completed verses, the first in their language to be recorded. At the beginning, there wasn’t much response. Then, as they listened, smiles began to appear. They understood! Then they began repeating what they had just heard, speaking out the gospel message of God’s love. One woman had never heard that God loved her before. Doors were opened to return and have more Bible studies because of their response to Jesus being a servant. Hearing the Bible in their own language caused a softness for more and a willingness for us to continue our work in the future.
This article was published in the
September 2018 edition of Westcoast News.
Read the other articles from this edition: