Mission Partner Update

Bible translation…from Leeds?

When I was nine years old I felt God was calling me to become a Bible translator. I imagined the future, that one day I would be living in a remote African village, working alongside a people group for many years to help translate the Bible into their language.

Little did I know that, 25 years later, my wife and I would be involved in Bible translation for a closed country,  working not overseas but right here in Leeds,  interacting with refugees from that country now living here, and working not with books but with computer software, websites, SD cards and Skype!

Some aspects of our world have changed so much in recent decades. One is mobility and its effect on identity. Through increased travel and migration, people of many nationalities – including those from minority language groups that used to be based in one geographical location - are now increasingly spread across the world, and people more than ever have multiple nationalities and identities. Another is the development of the internet and communication technology, which has hugely changed both the way people access information and the way we communicate with each other. Mission organisations like our own have needed to take these changes into account and they have needed to prayerfully adapt their strategies accordingly.

Since 2015, we have been serving a minority people group numbering around 2.3 million, from a country where the spread of Christianity is actively opposed by the government.  We praise the Lord that both developments mentioned above are really helping the Gospel reach this people. First, many individuals have left their country and claimed asylum in the UK or Europe, so some are coming to faith here, and then we can work with them as they seek to reach their families and friends still in the country. Secondly, our team is using computers and digital media both for the work of Scripture translation itself and for the distribution of our Scripture products. In terms of translation, it is wonderful that through Skype and translation software, the Consultant, Translator, Team Leader and the Consultant in Training can all be sitting in different places in the world, working together on the same text, and that changes and suggestions can be seen by other team members at the click of the button!  

And about what we’re creating? I had imagined as a teenager that one day I would spend 20 or 30 years working to produce the whole Bible as a wonderful printed book. This is still happening today. But now, alongside this, films of the Gospels, Acts and Old Testament prophets are being uploaded onto the internet for people to access from anywhere; and through Mobile Apps and SD cards people can have God’s Word in their heart language right there to read or listen to on their phones.

If you have time to pray, please thank the Lord for the ways He is working throughout the world. Thank Him for technology and the ways it can be used for good; please pray for His continued blessing and protection on it. Please also pray for our own team – that the Lord would continue to unite us across language and cultural differences and help us work well together. And pray most of all for the people we are working for – that through whatever means the Father wishes to use, many, many will come to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour and live their lives in worship to Him.

If you would like to pray for us more regularly, please contact us on jonathan.beatham@gmail.com

Thank you for reading!