The President’s Blog
The year 2016 divided our nation. The media reports painted for me a dark picture of our country. But the spiritual reality I see contrasts sharply with that image. An awe-inspiring, worldwide unity movement has emerged just out of sight of our news media. And you play a pivotal role in this story. God continues to work out His plan—invisible but not hidden.
I had the opportunity to preach about the vision of Pioneer Bible Translators at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio TX. Watch the video.
The man spoke with passion as he described the effect that God’s Word preached over the radio was having on his life. Though this West African man follows another world religion, he pleaded with us to continue teaching the Word: “Don’t give up on us, don’t give up!”
I remember sleeping exposed on the ground in lion country. I can still taste the adrenalin from the day I killed a 5 foot long spitting cobra on my porch with a huge wooden spoon. Living in Africa was always good for a terrifying jolt to the system – the occasional near head-on collision with a market truck or a nasty case of malaria. Ah, the good ol’ days. The other day I signed a contract on behalf of Pioneer Bible Translators to give us the right to purchase 22 acres for $195,000 ($8900 per acre) beginning a process that will cost more than $890,000 so that Pioneer Bible Translators can have their first permanent facility in the US. I felt that familiar rush of danger in service to the Kingdom as I put my name on the document and my integrity on the line…
In January 2007 Pioneer Bible Translators set the audacious goal to double in size, meet all the needs in our current fields, and start four new projects. Now at the end of our 6 year plan, we have not achieved all of our personnel goals. But God has helped us achieve almost all of our goals at least to the 90% mark. We prayed for this growth primarily to build the capacity to start translating the Bible for 69 languages spoken by 33 million people by the end of 2014. We now translate the Bible for 22 million people speaking 58 languages in 12 countries. By the next board report we should add four more projects translating the Bible into languages spoken by over 11.5 million people. By the end of 2014, God willing we will have surpassed the goal of 69 projects, and we will have left behind the goal of translating for 33 million people. The last six years have radically altered our capacity as an organization and nearly doubled every conceivable measure of success. God answers prayer!
It is 4:30 a.m. and the prayer call rings out on loudspeakers. One hundred Christian seminary students use that as their cue to assemble in their chapel to worship Jesus. This day a team member from Pioneer Bible Translators is their guest. He shares that in their country, where we have just begun working, 450 language groups do not have even one book of the Bible in their language. When he asks the students how many speak a minority language, virtually every hand goes up. By the end of his message, fifty-five students express a keen interest in becoming a Bible translator!
Ten thousand Bundeli New Testaments seemed like a lot to me, but we plunged ahead—on faith—to help our partners meet the enormous need for God’s Word in their area. Ajai Lall, the leader of Central India Christian Mission (CICM), insisted that the great hunger for Scripture would not be satisfied by any less. In no time, all 10,000 copies were distributed to Christian leaders, evangelists, seekers and new believers. Now re-prints have been produced to meet the growing demand. The evangelists continue to use the Scriptures to spread the love of Christ all over several districts in the Bundeli homeland—and a re-print was recently completed.
The whole Bible Translation movement is gaining momentum. Not long ago we were saying that 2,200 languages needed Scripture and no one was working to translate it for them. Now that number has dropped to 1,919. Back then 350 million people needed a translation project to start, now 180 million. God is doing a new thing in our time, and we get to be a part of it. We don’t see the changes every day, but the legacy we are leaving behind us is undeniable. The vision God gave us is gradually becoming a reality: transformed lives through God’s Word in every language!
Our facility is out of room! Pioneer Bible Translators invites all of our friends to help accomplish the first stage of Phase III of our facilities expansion. We are building a team of missionaries that will partner with other Bible agencies to achieve the greatest milestone in Great Commission history: churches with Scripture transforming every language community on earth by 2050. To accomplish the vision we need more room in our Dallas headquarters.
When I first became president of Pioneer Bible Translators I panicked. I knew everyone expected some awesome strategy from me, but I didn’t have one. So I did what Bible Translators do…I went to the Bible. I found biblical principles that Jesus taught would access unlimited power from God. I thought, “What if this would actually work?” I proposed to the board of Pioneer Bible Translators that, instead of praying about our strategies, we would make prayer the strategy.
Greg has served as President of Pioneer Bible Translators since 2007. He, his wife Rebecca, and their three children served in West Africa for more than twelve years, completing the Bible in the Yalunka language. He has a degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M, and a Masters and a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He also has linguistic training from the University of North Dakota and the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics.
Check out Greg's book, Extreme Prayer: The Impossible Prayers God Promises to Answer.