Sunday, December 1, 2013

Eternity Matters

Recently I (Adam) traveled to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, to meet with Engans who live there. While most Engans live off of the land in bush houses far away from the capital, a select few have the opportunity to live in Port Moresby. Often the Engans in Port Moresby are the ones who have the best education and who work in a business or government setting. Their knowledge of English is quite good, and they will even speak English to one another at times when discussing business matters.

When I met with a small group of recent college graduates, I told them, "Even though you are fluent in English, the Bible doesn't have the same power as it does when you hear it or read it in your own language." Rocklcon Rolan, one of the young men from that group, recently emailed me and said,

"I was so encouraged with what you have said in the meeting. We can read but we don’t understand the content and the scope of the Word itself. That is true and I say amen to that. Thank you for committing your life, risking your family, leaving your comfort zone, leaving behind your races of people, coming into my country, getting right into my province. God Almighty will richly bless you for what you are doing. This is a perfect investment on a proper soil for eternity matters. I love you from the pinnacle of my heart and our Heavenly Father will protect your family while you are [in Enga]."

Rocklcon's email just goes to show that even the Engans who are most fluent in English see a strong need for the Bible in their own language, not to mention those who don't understand any English at all.

The day after I met Rocklcon, I visited a church in Port Moresby attended by about two hundred people (95% of whom are Engans). The pastor asked me to share at the end of the service, and I began by saying, "Nambe Enga piyame latoo kaya," which means, "Let me speak in Enga." As soon as I said that, the church erupted with applause, once again confirming that there is something special about your own language. It is not just the words that you speak but it is who you are. I played a sample of our recently completed draft of the story of Abraham in Enga, and people were already asking when they could get a copy. Again, these are Engans who have a high degree of fluency in English, yet they have an incredible hunger for God's Word in their own language.

Sometimes when people consider the enormity of translating the Bible into another language, they are tempted to say, "Why not just teach people English so they can read the Bible in English?" But the longer I am here, the more convinced I am that everyone deserves the chance to hear the Word of God in their own language. It truly is the only language that will speak to their hearts!