Did you cry when you saw the bible in English for the first time? I didn’t. But I remember seeing a Kazakh believer see a Kazakh bible for the first time and seeing them cry over the word of God. Since then, I have put the Romanian and Russian scriptures into many people’s hands and very few of them have cried. But this next month, I imagine I will see many tears. Two people groups, the Turkmen and the Uzbeks will be receiving the whole bible in their language after years of painstaking translation work. And that is why I am writing.
At GSG we believe that the bible is key to changing people’s lives. Without it we have no textbook for discipling and the basis of our belief is only second hand information. But when people see and can read it for themselves—in their own language, it changes everything. Just this weekend I was talking to two internationals, both from different parts of Asia, and they were amazed that the Bible was in their language. Fortunately, with the bible.is app I could show them the text and also play the passages in their respect languages. It was amazing to watch them read and listen to the words of God. But what about places that have restrictive Internet or limited access to electronic devices? There is an option that goes back 500 years.
In fact this year we are celebrating 500 years since the reformation and really when God’s word became available to the masses. The Gutenberg museum, which I have been to, holds some of the first copies of scripture ever made for mass distribution—they are amazing to see. But I can’t read the old German so no reason to cry, but when I see old English bibles and realize William Tyndale was burned at the stake for producing it I am moved to tears. And when I was in Israel, and saw the Dead Sea scrolls, and the original Hebrew, it moved me to tears as I understood the significance of the ink on the scrolls. I knew that they validated the accuracy of the foundation of the English translation. It was something I will never forget, and just maybe on the same level that my brothers and sisters from Central Asia will feel in a few short weeks when the final product is unveiled and available for them to use and give to their friends.
As a way of celebrating this great work of faith and love for the Uzbek and Turkmen people, we are asking for you to help us provide scriptures for them to distribute to their family, friends and co-workers. We still do not know the exact cost, but when we are with our partners later this month, I want to be able to tell them that God has provided for them thru you, people of the Book from the west who want others to read it for themselves in their heart language. And if those two options are not enough, we also need partners to help us with Romanian, Russian gospels, and Turkish New Testaments. Our partners on the field are constantly looking for opportunities to share the word and in preparation for Easter, summer camps, and glasses clinics there is a pressing need for our foundational resource.
Will you consider how you can go above and beyond and help resource our valued brothers and sisters as they labor with tears to take the scriptures to the unreached? And if you want to make this a church wide project, or a class project, please contact me for more details. Again, thanks for your partnership as we mentor, resource, and network in His name. To learn more about what we do, check out our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.