Imagine holding a Bible in your hands for the first time. Think about learning the difference between the Old and New Testament, and getting to read the words for yourself instead of hearing them translated to you from a missionary.
Now imagine being a teacher who wants to make sure that his students can verify the truth of what he is teaching by pointing them to passages in the Scriptures. Do they know the relationship between the Fall and depravity? Do they understand the life-long journey of salvation? Do they comprehend the promise of the Spirit? I never want to assume that I can just casually speak these truths to people without connecting them sufficiently to God’s Word.
I am currently in an African country teaching transformation to leaders of a small people group of which only .5% are evangelical believers—98% are Muslim. This is a challenging mission for these believers—to bring the gospel to the many who have a strong commitment to a belief system that has dominated their part of the world for 1300 years. Especially challenging for witnesses who only had the Bible translated into their language just recently.
I was asked to come as one of a number of teachers who are going to this people group. I was allowed to bring a colleague with me. I introduced this man to transformational discipleship a number of years ago. God used it to change his life. Since then, he has taught it in a number of countries—Japan, the Bahamas and India. And everywhere he has taught it, it has made an impact on people’s lives.
Every word my colleague and I teach has to be translated into the local language. We have five days to train these fellow believers, but the total time we have to teach is cut in half by the translating. Still, we both worked hard on our training materials before we left to make sure we covered what was necessary for them to hear.
We literally spent the first day in traveling—there is no easy way to get from Lakeland, FL to here. We spent the next day just recovering from the flight! We face the same on our way home next week.
When we finish here, we will travel to another location for the weekend. Next Monday, we will be teaching at a Bible college run by a national Christian group who are affiliated with my home denomination, Converge.
Pray for me and my colleague as we teach these believers, that God would use what we say to deepen their faith journey with God and motivate them to continue to sow the gospel and reap a harvest among their people.