By Anna Beth Wivell, Bibles International translation consultant
As I live and work among the churches in southern Chad, all around me I can see examples of the Lord using His Word in the lives of the Chadian people:
- On a weekday, a harried young Christian mother turns to her Sara Kaba Deme New Testament for encouragement during her hectic day.
- On Sunday, a pastor in the town of Goundi reads to his congregation from the Tumag New Testament.
- On Christmas Day, Sunday School children performing a Christmas program quote Scripture from the early chapters of Luke—in their own language of Sara Madjingay.
- An evangelistic team enters a village to share the gospel with the unbelieving villagers, and they share Bible verses from Romans or the Gospel of John in the villagers’ own language.
Perhaps these things may not sound particularly dramatic. Yet I find that this is how God often uses Bible translation work: on a daily basis, as people who have received the Word in their language begin to use it in their lives. Without the Bible translations that have been produced, none of the above ministries would be as effective. The young mother likely would not fully grasp the verses that she tries to read in a foreign language. A significant percentage of the pastor’s congregation wouldn’t be able to follow him as he read his text. The children in the Christmas program probably wouldn’t even understand the verses they had memorized. Many of the unsaved villagers would not understand the gospel verses that were shared with them. Yes, day by day and week by week, God uses His Word in the languages of the people to touch their lives in ways that we will know fully only in eternity.