The story goes that, back in 1917, Wycliffe founder Cameron Townsend started out in his missionary career offering Spanish Bibles to locals in Guatemala. A Cakchiquel man, finding material in Spanish incomprehensible, challenged him with, “If your God is so great, why can’t he speak my language?”
This heartbreaking question provoked a dramatic response. Townsend himself went on to translate the New Testament into that man’s language within 10 years. And nearly 100 years later, following Townsend’s footsteps, God has raised up hundreds of individuals and partner organisations with one vision: to see God’s word translated into every remaining living language, so that this question would be forever answered.
In 2014 – 6,918 languages worldwide. Only 513 languages with complete Bibles. 1,576 languages still remain with no known Scripture, representing around 98 million people.
Where translation work is underway, the exclamations abound. People are hearing God speak their language for the first time. Take this recent showing of The JESUS Film in the Mara area of Tanzania:
Our SIL Kabwa and Zanaki translators translated the script for these films and were instrumental in finding the voice actors needed. We are praising God for the tremendous response to the film premiers which took place in April. To illustrate a little what the response was like, let me tell you what our office’s Partnership Officer, himself a Zanaki man, Pastor Willy Futakamba- reported after the Zanaki Jesus Film Premier. 70+ adults (children were at least another 70) came forward in response to the Gospel message given along with the film. The next day 3 men who had been at the film tracked Pastor Futakamba down at his home. “We now can see that this Jesus can speak our language. We want to become Christians. Please tell us where we should go and what we should do.” They were ready to completely leave their previous lives behind and were seeking out a Christian community for which they could join. God has truly blessed these premiers. Pray that He will continue to bless these films as they will be used in evangelism around the Kabwa and Zanaki communities. (source: TheTask.net)
” The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It never needs a furlough, and is never considered a foreigner.” Townsend, Cameron — Founder, Wycliffe Bible Translators
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