You’ve probably heard that Elisabeth Elliot, one of the most revered American Christian women of the 20th century, passed away this June. You likely also know the tragic story of the five missionaries who were killed by the Waodani people in Ecuador in 1956, and how Elisabeth’s husband was one of those missionaries. Maybe you even know that Elisabeth, along with Rachel Saint — sister of Nate Saint, also one of the five killed — returned to Ecuador to live among the Waodani. But did you know that after hearing God’s Word in their language and being impacted by its message, Waodani Christians caught their own missionary vision?
A few years ago, some Waodani Christians asked Steve Saint — the son of Nate Saint — to come live with them and teach them new skills like dentistry and how to fly airplanes. Why was this request so significant? Well, the Waodani told Steve that they not only wanted to become more independent, but also wanted to use these practical skills to reach others with the gospel. Mincaye, the man who killed Nate Saint so many years ago, even traveled with Steve to India to help train pastors in dentistry so they, too, could use practical skills to reach their communities with God’s Word. How amazing is that? In just a few decades, the story of hope and transformation has come full circle in the lives of the Waodani.
It’s been incredible to see the Waodani not only being transformed themselves, but also spreading the gospel to others. And they’re not alone! All around the world, language communities we used to think of as the “mission field” are now sending out their own missionaries! It’s no longer typical to see only Western missionaries reaching out to communities. Locals are taking charge of Bible translation in their own areas so now, there is a more diverse group of people than ever who are working to bring God’s Word to those still waiting for it. This is changing the way we do Bible translation, and we couldn’t be more excited!
Want to read more exciting stories about people reaching out to their own communities and around the world, and how they’re doing it through Bible translation? Here are a few!