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Bible Translation

From Atheist to Bible Translator

Sep 13, 2023
Elvis standing in front of a stucco wall

Elvis was once an atheist — an eager student of humanistic philosophy and firmly set against Christian faith.


“When my wife would return home from prayer meetings, I would mock her, asking her a series of philosophical questions,” he remembered. “I aimed to persuade her that God didn’t exist and that her faith was useless.”


His barbs would often make her cry, but she was never dissuaded from praying for him.


Elvis completed his studies and training as a teacher, but his future academic plans were blocked by a lack of finances.



Elvis decided to look for opportunities to use his skills to benefit the local community. He even approached the pastor of a local church and offered to start literacy classes for the large number of people in the church who could not read or write.


The pastor encouraged him to instead enroll in a translation training course under the direction of Christians with experience in translation. It was being offered to members of the community so that they could begin to translate the Bible into Gbeya — Elvis’ language — which is spoken by more than 200,000 people in the Bossangoa region of the Central African Republic.




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At first Elvis saw translation as just a challenging intellectual exercise. But as he sought the meaning of each passage of Scripture, and grappled with the best way to express it in Gbeya, he began to discover the God of the Bible.


“As I became immersed in the Word of God, I began to understand the incredible love and grace which He freely gives each one of us,” Elvis recalled. “I couldn’t even imagine why God would want a relationship with me. My deep intimacy with God is one of the most amazing things I take from this ministry.”


Soon Elvis went from being one of the translators on the Gbeya translation team to being the coordinator for translation and literacy projects in the whole Bossangoa region.



It’s now been over a decade since Elvis first got involved in Bible translation, and today he’s the national director for ACATBA, an organization that promotes Bible translation, literacy and local language development in the Central African Republic.


Praise God for the way He works in hearts and lives through Bible translation!

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