Since 1982, the prayers of God’s people have been instrumental in delivering God’s Word to the C’lela speakers in Nigeria through the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project (BPPP).
When the first prayer partners were assigned that year, they learned that there was a definite need for the Scriptures to be translated into the C’lela language, but personnel shortages prevented the work from starting. So, they prayed that God would move the hearts of potential language workers. Looking back, they now know that their prayers were being answered in the person of Sonia Gordon, who was joining Wycliffe at that time.
Five years later, when more individuals joined the prayer effort for the Lelna people, a man named Steve Dettweiler chose a similar career path. Through many Wycliffe experiences, Steve and Sonia developed a friendship that, in time, led to marriage. Continuing with their shared commitment to Bible translation, they sought God’s will for where to work and believed the answer to be Nigeria. Their arrival in the country in 1991 corresponded to the addition of three more BPPP prayer teams.
Because Nigeria is one of the countries with the greatest number of translation needs, the Dettweilers needed continued direction. “With so many needs, Lord, help us know the people we’re to serve.” In 1995, another prayer team was added, and soon after, Steve and Sonia were assigned to work with C’lela speakers. Since that time, many milestones have been celebrated. A dictionary was published in 2002, and in 2005, the Gospel of Luke was completed, paving the way for the "JESUS" film to be produced and viewed. Translation and literacy work are continuing.
As we reflect on the journey for the C’lela prayer partners, we are blessed and encouraged to witness the connection between their prayers and God’s movement. What’s even more amazing is that at the time, the prayer teams knew very little of God’s response. They persevered over many years, simply clinging to their faith in an amazing God who keeps his promises.
“This truth gives them the confidence of eternal life, which God promised them before the world began — and he cannot lie” (Titus 1:2, NLT).