“Let’s go and see what happens!” These words reflected our excitement as we left home to serve with Pioneer Bible Translators in Southeast Asia. Leaving family and friends was not easy. We had many questions and few answers. What doors would God open for His Word to be translated among the Bibleless people groups here? Which people had He chosen for us to serve? With whom would we partner? Two things, however, were certain: God was calling us to Southeast Asia, and He would guide us as we obeyed and followed His lead. I felt a much greater appreciation for Abraham, who by faith obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going…a stranger in a foreign country.
Pioneer Bible Translators often finds that in fields where access is difficult, God has already been preparing hearts and minds before our first teams ever arrive. This was true of our new home, a country in which Christianity is a minority religion. But just as God had prepared a place for us to join Him in His work here, He had also prepared us. We and our teammates can offer expertise in the form of Bible translation, Scripture use, literacy, and community development to people who are ready and waiting for help to finish the task.
Two such people are Eko and Fana, men who share a passion for the people of their small language group to have God’s Word in their mother tongue. They had witnessed the power of God’s transforming Word in neighboring people groups and wanted the same for their own. Both had received training in basic translation principles prior to our arrival. They still needed someone to work with them each time they traveled to the city, enduring separation from their families in order to receive help with their translation project.
A short time ago, Eko was asked to become a government representative, a position that would have given him a greater income and more respect in his community. But he declined the opportunity, because serving God and providing Scripture for his people have become his priority. The people of his village have caught his vision and have begun projects to help fund translation. One of these projects is a crocodile farm!
The vast need can seem a little overwhelming when we consider that Eko and Fana’s language is only one of over 500 languages spoken here that still have no Scripture. No one organization or group of people is large enough to finish the task alone. It is going to take believers working together to make God’s Word accessible to the many language groups still in need.
Please pray for us as we follow God on this exciting journey. And pray for more missionaries who will imitate Abraham’s example of following wherever God leads. Looking back, we can see how our faithful Father opened doors and brought us to our new home, just as He did for Abraham. And like Abraham, we are looking for a better country—a heavenly one—populated with many of the people we are here to serve. To God be the glory!