This week I had the privilege of observing a workshop (via Zoom) and learning from another mission as they checked the first half of the book of Jeremiah in a different Roma language spoken in another Easter European country. It is thrilling to see that, once they finish this and two more Old Testament prophetic books, they will be done with the complete Bible in that language. This is a major milestone, since the Bible is a big book, with over 31,000 verses!
For the past four years, we have been working on translating Bible stories and the Gospel of Luke in five other Roma languages and we are thrilled that we are getting close to finishing. However, it is a daunting task to realize that we still have 65 out of 66 books of the Bible to go (times five, since we are doing it in five languages, and thus 325 more books to go).
I feel like I live under constant stress because of the enormity of the task set before me and our Roma translators. However, we are not alone. Yes, the Lord is with us, but he often chooses to use other members of the Body of Christ to provide the help we need. For that reason, it is so encouraging to learn from this other mission and team who have nearly finished the race of completing the translation of an entire Bible.
This mission organization and team have graciously offered to join forces with us, after they finish their translation later this year, to work together to make faster progress with our five Bible translations. As part of that process, they are also including me in their special training to become a Bible translation consultant so I can serve our translation projects in that capacity.
Also, today I was asked by our mission, Pioneers, for feedback asking what would help me and my team more effectively accomplish our goals of Bible translation. After I wrote my answer to them, it dawned on me that I should share this with you all and ask you to pray for these needs.
Below are two background questions to put this in its proper setting, followed by prayer requests, which I would love for you all to pray for.
- If someone asked me why I am serving the people group I’m serving, what would be my answer? Because many Roma (Gypsies) still do not yet have the Bible in their language and they are a despised and outcast group.
- If someone asked me why I am serving in Croatia and Serbia (and other parts of former Yugoslavia), what would my answer be? Because there are tens of thousands of Roma in these countries who do not yet have the Bible in their mother tongue (heart language).
- Do we need more missionaries or national Christians to reach these people groups? Yes, we need many more workers. Please pray that the Lord of the harvest will provide the following, according to His will, for Bible translation ministry in these five Roma languages:
- Roma who will become new Bible translators
- Literacy workers to teach Roma to read in their languages
- Scripture Engagement workers, by which I mean those who can lead home Bible studies and do one-on-one or small group discipleship using the Bible translations we are currently producing, and teach Roma to have individual and family devotions.
- Those who can make audio recordings of the Bible and put the text and audio online.
- “Marketing” people and media and distribution specialists, who can get the Bible translations out there among the people, teaching them how to use the Bible in their own lives, and interacting in person and digitally with those who use the Bible through digital tools. This is a huge need, since a translated Bible is useless if no one listens to or reads it.
- Social media gurus and YouTubers who can get these translated verses to as many Roma as possible.
So, please pray that the Lord will, according to his wisdom, provide these needed workers for the harvest. Please also pray for a smooth and fruitful path as this other Bible translation mission sets up the infrastructure, logistics, training and finances to move our Bible translation projects forward toward faster completion.