Steve knew that if he could help them to know Jesus then they’d be able to know the power which would protect them from those influences. But in order for them to know Jesus, they needed to have a Bible, and how could he introduce them to the Bible when they didn’t even have an alphabet?
To begin the process, Steve knew that he’d have to talk to the local authorities, but he was wary of approaching the governor because of what he’d heard. But God nudged Steve to go and speak with the governor, who was a local man, and when he did, he discovered that he’d already been trying to develop the alphabet himself. Steve and Nikki coming alongside scratched the itch in the perfect place. This also matched with one of Steve and Nikki’s goals, which was to preserve the Fini language, creating literacy material so children could read and write in the language they understood best. Wanting to do this gave them favour with the local authorities. But first they needed an alphabet. And to create an alphabet you need a team.
The first book for them was the book of Jonah
Steve and Nikki’s team consisted of a linguistic consultant and a literacy consultant. They also had input from the Fini community. Once they had an alphabet, translation of the Bible could take place, a project which takes years. So where do you begin, in this library of 66 books?
Often it’s one of the gospels, Mark or Luke, to share the good news of Jesus, but not for the Fini. The first book for them was the book of Jonah, one of the Minor Prophets, greatly respected by followers of the local religion, and also a book which says so much about God’s nature and of his love for his creation. The Fini people live on an island; they’re a fishing community, so Jonah speaks perfectly into their worldview. Alongside fishing, sheep and goats are a huge part of their culture. Steve can tell the story of Jacob (Genesis 30:37–31:16) more easily in Fini then he can in English because all the vocabulary is there.