The crowd was restless under the hot sun in Cameroon. The mourners shuffled their feet, kicked the dirt and talked to one another. Until they heard something that stopped them in their tracks.
The villagers had gathered to mourn the death of TonTon, the young son of Léonard Bolioki, my good friend and co-worker in Bible translation. Up until that point, the funeral had been conducted in French.
Then Léonard, a deeply grieving father, stood to read from John 11, a passage he had recently translated into the local language of Yambetta. “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” (John 11:25, NLT)
Immediately, the crowd fell silent, gripped by what they were hearing — Scripture in their language for the very first time. No one moved as the mourners listened intently to the story of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. And they heard Jesus’ amazing promise of eternal life through faith in him.
My wife Dallas and I will never forget that day. We saw clearly how the lives of our neighbors in Cameroon were changed simply by translating Scripture into words they could understand.
This month I want to encourage you to join us in a special opportunity to help change more lives through Bible translation. Nearly one million people in four language groups stand on the verge of having God's Word in their language for the very first time. The entire New Testament has been translated in each of these languages, checked for accuracy and sent off to the printer. Just one final step remains: printing of Scripture. Imagine the sense of anticipation they are feeling right now!
Our goal is to print 22,500 copies of the New Testament for these language groups. To date, friends like you have helped provide 500 of those copies. For just $6 you can help someone experience the joy of owning a printed copy of Scripture. Your gift today will supply copies of God's Word in the language that reaches their hearts and changes their lives.
One of the New Testaments ready to be printed is the Yambetta translation. The project started by our good friend Léonard, over 30 years ago, is now complete. Praise God! Within a single generation, a people group that had no translated Scripture now has an entire New Testament!
Dallas and I will be travelling to Cameroon to be part of the celebration that your gifts have made possible. It’s going to be a very emotional day for us and for the entire translation team. People from every congregation, every denomination will come together to praise God. They will sing and dance and shout for joy when the New Testaments arrive in their community.
I can’t wait to see Léonard as he holds a printed copy of the Yambetta New Testament in his hands for the very first time. I know Léonard will feel just like the psalmist, who said, “I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure” (Psalm 119:162, NLT).