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.
Since 2006, Pioneer Bible Translators has been partnering with CICM to help them implement their dream to translate the New Testament. When I visited the Bundeli translation team for the first time, one of the team members commented, “In the past, the Bundeli translation was not very urgent because not many people were Christians. But now many Bundeli are becoming Christians and we need the Bible!”
Our CICM partners dedicated the Bundeli New Testament on December 9, 2010 along with a couple of thousand Bundeli leaders from ten cities and hundreds of villages. The Bundeli New Testament has tremendous potential to accelerate the growth of the church, and that potential is being realized. Literacy classes that incorporate these New Testaments are helping many Bundeli believers become literate and grow spiritually, and evangelists are using it to reach those people who have never heard about Christ.
When I spoke with Ajai Lall he painted this picture of how the New Testaments are being received: “The evangelists were so excited. Everyone had been waiting, and then they heard the good news that the New Testament was printed. Our preachers are so thrilled and so happy. They have them in their hands now. This is the first New Testament ever in Bundeli!”
Among the Bundeli the decision to follow Christ can be costly. I have seen a photo of a group of Bundeli men hiding in fields to avoid being beaten by mobs because they became Christians. A Bundeli preacher and his wife put their child in the CICM orphanage so they could continue to preach without fear of their child being harmed.
Confronted with opportunities and opposition, a shepherd caste is meeting the challenge. A great movement to Christ has begun among them, fueled by the desire to be like the shepherds in the gospel of Luke who were the first to announce the birth of Jesus. “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:20) Now they, too, can announce the story of Jesus in the Bundeli language from their own New Testament.
Other Bundeli are searching spiritually. For example, 12,000 formed a group who worship the “God without images” after they built a temple but were barred from worshipping in it because of their caste. Now many of them are considering Christ.
The Lord is at work in this area, and the millions of Bundeli speakers now have the opportunity to experience the transforming power of God’s Word in their language.
The New Testament has already been a great blessing, and we cannot yet fathom what the impact will be when the whole Bible is available in Bundeli. CICM received countless letters expressing enthusiasm for the Bundeli New Testament, but these letters also plead for us to work together toward a Bundeli translation of the whole Bible. We committed to partner with CICM in translating the entire Bible into Bundeli so that it can be used to reach every corner of the Bundeli region.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
Help Fund the Bundeli Old Testament
The Bundeli language is spoken by more than 20 million people in central India. They received the New Testament in their language for the first time in 2010. God is already transforming lives through access to his Word, and growing the church through literacy classes and evangelistic outreach. Although some Bundeli men have faced intense persecution after turning to Christ, the people are now pleading for the Old Testament to be translated as well. Partner with us and Central India Christian Mission to complete the Old Testament for the Bundeli.
Click here to donate now. Under “Category & Funds,” choose “Projects” then “Bundeli” from the menus.