Entry: Broadcast 1
Title: Broadcast Introduction
LIAM: Hello and welcome to our broadcast covering an exciting new event that just took place in our area. Teams of villagers gathered with some trainers from Wycliffe Associates to start a New Testament translation into their own mother-tongue language! These villagers are not educated theologians. They are Christians who love the Lord and love their people. The leaders of Wycliffe Associates have developed a method for translation called MAST—Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation. This method has 8 distinct steps, four for drafting and four for checking the translation. The only requirements for translators to use this method is that they know two languages—a language of wider communication, such as your national language, and their own mother tongue. It is amazing that no other education is necessary. In fact, you may be feeling a little skeptical right now that this is even possible. Let me assure you that it is! In just the past six years, over 1500 languages in the world have begun work on a New Testament translation using this method. More than 300 of those languages have completed their New Testaments and these Scriptures are being used in their communities! Not only that, but some have gone on to translate the Old Testament as well. And some have moved to other regions to teach other language communities this simple methodology for Bible translation.
SOFIA: The purpose of these broadcasts is to share with you, our listeners, the amazing movement of God among minority languages. If you are involved in your community’s Bible translation now, we want this broadcast to encourage you in your important work. If you are not involved now, we pray that this broadcast will encourage you to become involved. Perhaps you are from one of those languages still waiting for Scripture. If so, please believe me, that what we share here can also work for you.
LIAM: Let me provide some data on a New Testament translation project. The New Testament has 7957 verses. If two translators commit to learning the process and translating 11 verses per day for a year, they will complete the New Testament in that one year! Now think about gathering a larger group. If ten people can commit to learning the process and working on 10 verses a day for three months, they will complete a New Testament! Translating God’s Word takes a team. And MAST leverages the idea of teamwork. The more people who commit to collaborate on the project, the faster it can go. The training for a MAST project is simple and can be intense. One method of training is to gather together for one or two weeks to work full time on learning the steps of MAST and implementing them in translation. You can also learn the steps by gathering a few Christian friends and trying the process as you listen to the broadcasts that follow this one. They will teach the method thoroughly, but if you need help or have more questions, we will give you contact information at the end of this broadcast, so you can get the help you need.
SOFIA: This is what just took place in our area recently. The workshop included five languages from our region. Each of the five language teams brought six volunteers, ready to learn to be translators. Leaders trained the MAST method by Wycliffe Associates taught the process. They worked together for ten days on learning the process and translating Scripture. At the end of the workshop, all five languages completed the book of Mark and half of the book of John. They averaged almost 20 verses per translator per day during those 10 days! The translators were so excited with the work that some nights they had a hard time stopping to go to bed. The translators reported that they felt inadequate to do translation when they first arrived. But within a few days they were surprised at how much they had learned. By the end of the first week, they felt a confidence that they had never expected. And by the end of the workshop, they were ready, not only to work on the translation alone at home, but to share the process with others. These translators were overwhelmed by their accomplishments. One of them testified, “All glory to God for giving us a mind to know Him and understand his word. We came, just obeying Him, not thinking we could really do this. We are leaving, knowing that He has given us the wisdom and the desire to do this work. We are able to translate because of God’s Spirit working within us.”
LIAM: Not only were the translators able to complete over 1,000 verses during the workshop, they also made a plan for continuing each project. The leaders on each team gathered together to decide how they could keep working on the translation once they went home. Some of the teams were made up of members who do not live in the same village. As you know, sometimes travel between villages can be difficult. These teams worked out plans for how to gather several times over the next few months so they can work together on translation. Each plan is unique because each team is unique and each language is unique. In this broadcast, we are going to follow one team from that workshop and see how their plan for completing the New Testament unfolds. We hope this will be an encouragement to you. I want to introduce you to a few of the translators who will be sharing their story with us on these weekly broadcasts.
SOFIA: Sammy is one of the leaders on this translation team. Sammy is in his early twenties, is married and has one child, a boy who is four years old. Sammy became a believer a few years ago through the witness of his wife. When his wife and sister heard about the translation workshop that was being arranged, they were both excited. They could hardly imagine what it would mean to their own community to have God’s Word in their mother tongue language. Both have friends and family members that do not believe in Jesus, and they feel like having Scripture will help them to witness to these loved ones. But they did not think they could go, because of having so many responsibilities at home. Sammy’s wife also felt uncertain about her ability in the national language. So, the two women suggested to Sammy that he gather some others together and go to the workshop. At first Sammy was very nervous for several reasons. As you can imagine, he did not think he knew enough to be a translator. He had only been a believer for a few years. Sammy’s father has rejected his faith and is outspoken against Christianity. How would he react to Sammy going to a translation event? Sammy also felt nervous about leaving his wife and son for 10 days. He wondered how all the work in his gardens would get done during that time. But he prayed about it and finally decided he needed to go. Although Sammy was nervous about the translation event, he became more excited as he invited other people to join.
LIAM: When Sammy got home with the copy of Mark that had been translated, his wife Siara was overjoyed to read it with him and give him some ideas. Sammy said at the end of the workshop that he plans to teach her the steps so she will be able to join the team and work with them. Siara is another character in our broadcasts. She very busy with a small artisan business and taking care of their four-year-old son. But she is excited to be part of the team and determined to make time for this very important work.
SOFIA: Mara is Sammy’s younger sister. She became a believer from Sammy’s testimony. Her husband is not a believer, and neither is her father who lives with them. She found out about the translation workshop but could not go because of family obligations. Sammy promised he would teach her what he learned so she could participate in completing the New Testament. Mara has agreed to partner with Sammy in sharing their story in these broadcasts over the next several months.
LIAM: Pastor Fin is Sammy, Siara and Mara’s pastor. He has a deep love for his community and a passion for God’s Word. Pastor Fin was skeptical when Sammy told him about the translation workshop. He did not think that average Christians from his community would know enough theology to translate God’s Word. He was concerned that the translation would be weak and inaccurate. But despite his concerns he agreed that Sammy should go. Pastor Fin was so moved when he heard Sammy read a portion of Mark aloud after returning from the workshop, that he is convinced MAST works and has become a leading member of the team.
SOFIA: Jade is a friend of Siara’s that she met through her small artisan business. Jade is single and works as an executive at a bank in the city. She does not live in the same village as the others. She has gone to University and is fluent in the national language and very comfortable with technology. Jade was raised in a Christian home and became a believer as a child. Jade has worked hard to help women like Siara with small businesses in the village to expand their businesses into the city. She has a deep love for her people and her heritage. Jade went to the workshop and feels it is a great privilege to be part of this translation project. Her faith has been strengthened through working on translation. Since she lives in another town, she is planning to work with the translators remotely as much as possible until the translation is complete.
LIAM: The translation team is off to a great start. They completed the book of Mark and part of the book of John at their workshop. They have a plan for working on the rest of the New Testament. Their pastor, Pastor Fin, who was at first skeptical, now is fully supportive and a leader on the team. Sammy has plans to teach Mara and Siara what he learned so they can help with the work. Others who attended the workshop have committed to spending a couple of hours a week on translation. They have agreed to gather every few weeks for a period of checking. Over the next fifty-one broadcasts, this team will share with you their progress, challenges and successes. Here are the important topics we will cover. There are sixteen of topics, taking us through the whole MAST process from the beginning of the translation to celebrating its completion!
SOFIA: During the year, we will hear about the reaction of the church to the translated Scripture. We will hear how it has impact beyond the church and makes a difference to the whole community. We will follow along as Sammy and his team meet the challenges of continuing their translation work at home. We will hear about the barriers and spiritual warfare and how the translation team addresses those challenges to completion of their goal. We will learn about how quality is assured in steps that are taken by the team as they develop a rubric and listen to input from the community. We will follow along with their ups and downs, their trials and triumphs. And we will finish the year in glorious celebration of what has been accomplished by their obedience to God’s call and their reliance on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
LIAM: I am so excited that we get to do these broadcasts, to learn from mother tongue translators, to hear their story and celebrate with them. It is amazing to think that their story could be the beginning of many similar stories. In your own town or village, you could begin a movement. You can be part of the team. You could be part of helping your community to get Scripture in their own language. What Sammy and Mara are doing is extraordinary. But it does not need to be uncommon. More than 1500 languages have portions of Scripture today because, by faith, members of their community joined a MAST workshop and faithfully continued their translation work. Like Sammy and Mara, translators are learning together and producing Scripture translation for their mother tongue community. You can be an important part of this!
SOFIA: Let us close this first broadcast in prayer. Please join me. Dear Lord, Thank You for Your love for us and for Your gift of salvation. Thank you for the opportunity for us to have Scripture in our mother tongue language. We thank you for each person who is listening to the broadcast today. Please encourage them in their translation work if they already are part of a team. If they are not part of a team, please inspire them to pursue how they can help to make Scripture available in their mother tongue language. We ask your blessings on these broadcasts and all who listen to them throughout the year. Amen.
LIAM: Now, until we meet again next time, receive the benediction from the book of Numbers, chapter 6, verses 24 through 26: May Yahweh bless and keep you. May Yahweh make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May Yahweh look on you with favor and give you peace.” Amen.
SOFIA: Have a blessed week!