Tag Archives: Bible Translation Stories

The Impact of Bible Translation

22 Apr

Erit wasn’t initially interested in Bible translation. “I was a school teacher,” she explained. “I wanted to further my education and get my master’s degree, so I could be a school ad-ministrator.” Erit had already wholeheartedly embraced this thrilling vision when one of the translators of the Bolinao Bible approached her to ask whether she would be willing to do some consultation work on the translation. Erit agreed, and it wasn’t long before the part-time calling became a life-consuming passion. Fluent in both English and Tagalog (a major Philippine language), Erit had read the Bible in both languages and placed her faith in Christ, but reading the text in her own language was illuminating!

It was for others, as well. Erit asked Viola, another Bolinao speaker, to review Revelation. “Viola had always seen it as a scary book, but when she read it in her own language, she saw some-thing different.” Instead of an account of destruction and disaster, Viola now saw Revelation as full of hope: a story of God’s faithfulness to his people even in the midst of great upheavals. It was masam’it nin reng’en (sweet to hear).

To read this article, visit: http://www.wycliffe.net/stories/tabid/67/Default.aspx?id=3708&pg=1

Today, people throughout the world are experiencing the sweetness of God’s Word for them-selves. But this wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated support of people like yourselves!
As of today, I am still a few hundred dollars short of the financial partnership necessary for me to take up my position as a writer with JAARS – composing articles like the one you just read. I currently have until May 1st to develop the remaining partnership or risk losing this opportunity to serve Bible translation with the gifts God has given me.  Please prayerfully consider whether God would have you play a part, then express your interest at: http://www.wycliffe.org/Partnership.aspx?mid=2C51C7

A Writer’s Impact on Bible Translation

15 Apr

“Translator Lee Bramlett was confident that God had left His mark on the Hdi culture somewhere, but though he searched, he could not find it. Where was the footprint of God in the history or daily life of these Cameroonian people?  What clue had He planted to let the Hdi know Who He was and how He wanted to relate to them?

Then one night in a dream, God prompted Lee to look again at the Hdi word for love. Lee and his wife, Tammi, had learned that verbs in Hdi consistently end in one of three vowels. For almost every verb, they could find forms ending in i, a, and u. But when it came to the word for love, they could only find i and a. Why no u?

Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the community, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”  “Yes,” they said. That would mean that the wife had been loved but the love was gone.

“Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” “Yes,” they said. That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well.

“Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?”  Everyone laughed. “Of course not!  If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”

Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”

There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded. “Do you know what this would mean?  This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

One simple vowel and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you, based on Who I am. I love you because of Me and NOT because of you.”

 

Powerful stories like the one you just read impact lives with a passion for the Gospel.  Each day, they inspire a new generation of believers to dedicate themselves wholly to the vital task of Bible translation. Yet many of these stories would never be told if not for the writers who record the experiences of Wycliffe’s overseas workers.

While serving Bible translation as a writer (especially stateside) is not what one typically envisions as “missions work”, the services of skilled professionals like myself are necessary if Wycliffe is to acquire both the manpower and the financial support necessary to accomplish the vision of ensuring that by 2025, a translation is in progress for every language in need.

No member of the body is less important than the others when it comes to accomplishing this goal!  Romans 10:14 asks, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”  (NASB)  This week, as you pray, please consider whether God would have you (or someone you know) play a role in this task by partnering with me through prayer and financial support.

If God calls you to play this vital role, you can express your intentions at: http://www.wycliffe.org/Partnership.aspx?mid=2C51C7

 

 

One Little Vowel

9 Sep

Note: The following account is offered courtesy of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Translator Lee Bramlett was confident that God had left His mark on the Hdi culture somewhere, but though he searched, he could not find it. Where was the footprint of God in the history or daily life of these Cameroonian people?  What clue had He planted to let the Hdi know Who He was and how He wanted to relate to them?

Then one night in a dream, God prompted Lee to look again at the Hdi word for love. Lee and his wife, Tammi, had learned that verbs in Hdi consistently end in one of three vowels. For almost every verb, they could find forms ending in i, a, and u. But when it came to the word for love, they could only find i and a. Why no u?

Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the community, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”  “Yes,” they said. That would mean that the wife had been loved but the love was gone.

“Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” “Yes,” they said. That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well.

“Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?”  Everyone laughed. “Of course not!  If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”

Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”

There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded. “Do you know what this would mean?  This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

One simple vowel and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you, based on Who I am. I love you because of Me and NOT because of you.”

God had encoded the story of His unconditional love right into their language. For centuries, the little word was there—unused but available, grammatically correct and quite understandable. When the word was finally spoken, it called into question their entire belief system. If God was like that, and not a mean and scary spirit, did they need the spirits of the ancestors to intercede for them? Did they need sorcery to relate to the spirits? Many decided the answer was no, and the number of Christ-followers quickly grew from a few hundred to several thousand.

The New Testament in Hdi is ready to be printed now, and 29,000 speakers will soon be able to feel the impact of passages like Ephesians 5:25:  “Husbands, ‘dvu’ your wives, just as Christ ‘dvu’-d the church…”  I invite you to pray for them as they absorb and seek to model the amazing, unconditional love they have received.

Around the world, community by community, as God’s Word is translated, people are gaining access to this great love story about how God ‘dvu’-d us enough to sacrifice his unique Son for us, so that our relationship with Him can be ordered and oriented correctly. The cross changes everything!  Someday, the last word of the last bit of Scripture for the last community will be done, and everyone will be able to understand the story of God’s unconditional love.

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