"You are behind the scenes, stirring the 55-gallon drum of rice. So, thank you. I love you guys."
Clearly emotional, Scott Youngman, a Wycliffe linguist and translator home from Indonesia, shared this compliment with the staff at our headquarters in Orlando, Florida.
Scott said that missionaries first arrived among the Tolaki people of Indonesia 98 years ago. Today, the Tolaki have a completed New Testament, the book of Genesis and 100 hymns in their language.
He shared details about the translation project, the team of national translators, the cultural challenges, and even the difficulties in typesetting the translation. And he talked about the joy on the Tolaki’s faces when, for the first time, they listened to the Bible in accurate, clear, natural Tolaki. Their voices choked and their eyes filled with tears, and they said, “Ooh, that’s really good Tolaki!”
God speaks Tolaki. The translation project began more than 18 years ago and required a lot of effort from an entire team. This was Scott’s first visit to our offices here in Florida and he wanted to make sure he said thank you. In doing so, he showed a picture of a bride and groom at a Tolaki wedding, and shared the details of all that the picture didn’t show — everything that was going on behind the scenes of the wedding.
The whole extended family is involved in a Tolaki wedding. There are long negotiations between families, including the pulling together of the bride price that the young man must pay to the wife’s family. On the morning of the wedding, the men of the family butcher a cow and cut it into pieces. Women cook over wood fires outside — 55-gallon drums of rice, stirred with enormous sticks. All this and more goes on behind the scenes. It is what happens whenever a Tolaki wedding takes place.
Similarly, the Tolaki now have Scriptures in their language because of all the behind the scenes work. And not just from Wycliffe colleagues. Scott shared that the Tolaki translators are amazed that people located halfway around the world would pray for them, and send money to keep the project going. This is beyond their imagination and they say, “Thank you.”
Bible translation is a team effort. When you pray for Wycliffe, don’t ever feel like you are only someone who prays. You are doing the important, behind the scenes work when you pray for Bible translation. Your prayers impact people for all eternity.
September 30 is Bible Translation Day. Join us in celebrating what God is doing around the world through people just like you, who have joined the team and are committed to praying for Wycliffe and Bible translation.
Thank you for your part, and for stirring the rice.