Mark and Richard are working in Tanzania with a group of languages. After they reported to local pastors on the progress of writing down two of the languages in preparation for Bible translation, the conversation soon turned to numbers:
‘How many Pimbwe [people] are there?’ asked one of the more senior leaders.
Richard answered that there are only about 20,000 Pimbwe according to our estimates, but that we still believe there is value in translating the Bible because of the impact that local language Scriptures can have in the life of the community, even if the language is only spoken in a few villages.
We looked up, expecting the pastor to be sceptical, or to advise that our resources could be better used elsewhere. But no… instead he encouraged us.
‘I want to encourage you that this is a work from God,’ he said. ‘When Jesus healed the man with the evil spirits, he ended up sending them into a large herd of pigs who then charged off the hill and drowned. This herd of pigs was the project of the whole village, and they depended on the business the pigs generated. But Jesus cared more about the life of one person than he did about the business project of the entire village.’
He continued, ‘He probably should have been arrested right there, for destroying their business! But the point was that Jesus valued the life of this one man more than the wealth of the entire village. So I want to tell you not to become discouraged because there are few speakers, but rather be joyful that God cares even for a small group like the Pimbwe, and that this is a work of God!’
This report of encourgement comes from Mark Woodward’s blog.
Translating God’s word is a way of showing Jesus’s love to even the smallest communities. Nearly 2,000 language groups are still without a single verse of Scripture or a project started to translate it. Give God’s Story.