I am a people person, is there a place for me?
One of the great misconceptions about Bible Translation is that it is devoid of working with people. Bible Translation itself requires involvement with people in language acquisition, the translation process, the village checking process (the process of making sure the translation is accurate and understandable for someone who has no previous knowledge of the Bible).
We are praying for people who are “people people.”
Utilizing a strategy called storying, individuals will translate 20 or so stories of the Bible into the mother-tongue language (language the people understand best). Once they have these stories translated and memorized, they will pray for people of peace to share these stories. Many times this work prepares the way for interest in Bible Translation.
Trekkers set out after larger sections of scripture have been completed. They walk from village to village (just like Jesus sent out the disciples two by two). Once they arrive at a village, they ask if they can pray for the sick. Then they ask the village leadership if they would like to have some holy books of the prophets. This strategy can also be done with audio recordings. We have so many opportunities for this role.
In this scenario, you are praying for God to put you in place with people of peace. Then you read through the Bible with them and explain how one uses the Bible. This is our “can you sit underneath a mango tree” and help people come to know Jesus strategy. Sometimes this role is done by going out the fields with the workers to build relationships, other times it means sitting in the village with the women as they go about their chores, other times it is looking strategically for people who are God seekers and hungry to know more about Jesus and his way.
Work alongside a literacy specialist who has already done the hard part of developing an alphabet, worked on premiers, created the teaching material for establishing literacy. We are in great need of folks who can implement the strategy the literacy specialist has in place. For this role to be evangelistic, one has to be intentional and see how the role of teaching can be a spring board for building relationships, showing the love of Jesus etc.
In addition, we have people who use a lot of different strategies in completing Scripture Impact. We have individuals who:
They build relationships through sports.
Ethnomusicolgists and artists use the arts to help people come to know Jesus. In this role they study what forms the people already use and think creatively of how to use those forms to package Scripture (i.e. using their poetic structure to communicate the Psalms, tapping into their musicians to create songs about Jesus, etc.
Community Health Evangelism
Recognize health challenges and collaborate with a community’s leadership to come up with solutions for solving those problems (i.e. ventilating outhouses so that flies can’t go directly from feces to food, teaching AIDS awareness). In addition to addressing the physical, CHE also talks about some of the spiritual aspects of the problems a community faces. In example, how is AIDS being spread here. Is there a bigger problem (promiscuity, adultery, sharing needles for drug use, etc).
Work with the leadership of a community to solve a problem (clean water initiatives, sanitation removal, helping increase crop yields, doing animal husbandry, crop rotation, etc.
One of the things you will find about Pioneer Bible Translators is that we aren’t very cookie cutter like. We have to access each situation we go into and “pioneer” strategies that will be the most conducive for accomplishing our goal. The main thing is that in whatever strategy we invoke, we always include the communication of God’s Word and using it to help people come to know Jesus.
In addition, we aren’t looking for cookie-cutter missionaries. One of my prayers as a recruiter is to help identify people’s gifts, passions and sense of calling (their GPS if you will) to help them find the strategy they feel God’s pleasure in doing.