Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Missionary Books

Consider the following statistics (source: http://www.wycliffe.org/About/Statistics.aspx )


...the number of languages spoken in the world today

Almost 2,100

...the number of languages without any of the Bible, but with a possible need of a Bible translation to begin


...the number of people who speak the 2,100 languages where translation projects have not yet begun

Unbelievable!  I had no idea until I read the following missionary stories of Wycliffe Bible translators.

Mission Possible by Marilyn Laszlo

Marilyn Laszlo, a farm girl from Indiana, felt the Lord calling her to bring the gospel to those who had not heard.  Through a series of events she came to live with the Sepik Iwam people in Papua New Guina.  She learned their language, created a system of writing for it, and taught them to read and write.   After that, she started the long process of translating the Bible into their language.  In 1988, after two decades of work, the Bible translation was complete.  This book details the process.

I found the book to do an excellent job of explaining the process of completing a translation.  However, the story tends to jump large periods of time and I was also hard pressed to really find a clear gospel message.  I would recommend it, though, to get a better understanding of people groups who do not have the Bible in their own language.

They Dared to Be Different by Hugh Steven

from the back of the book:
"To deviate is to die."  For the Chamula people of southern Mexico, tradition is everything.  Any Chamula who challenges the authority of the elder is considered a threat to the community.  The elders dictate personal dress, house building and social or religious practices including drinking sugarcne rum and sacrificing chickens to their gods on special days.  If anyone turns from the ways of the ancestors, they risk banishment or death.

After years of working among the Chamulas, Wycliffe translators Ken and Elaine Jacobs saw the fruit of God's Word through changed lives.  Many Chamulas dared to obey God and followed Him.

Similar to Mission Possible, this book is about Wycliffe Bible translators that brought the Word of God to a people group that did not have it.  But that is where the similarities end.  They Dared to Be Different is a gripping  book written from the perspective of a Chamula man, Manuel, who is redeemed from the depravity of sin.  The gospel is woven all the way through this book.  (Love it!)  The missionaries take back stage in the book and the power of God is front and center.  I highly recommend this book.  (Note:  Manuel is not a believer in the beginning of the book and some of the language and situations reflect that.  It is not glorified but you may want to preview if you are considering having a child read it.)

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