As you probably know, our Missions Emphasis for 2018 is titled, “1,671 Waiting on God’s Word.” This number represents the number of languages throughout the world that still do not have any part of the Bible translated. The number represents people groups who have not yet experienced the life-changing power of God’s Word. Ultimately, it represents millions of people who do not yet have the opportunity to read, study, and meditate on the Scriptures that are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Through this year’s Missions Emphasis, our church has the opportunity to play a small but important role in reducing this number. As part of the emphasis, our Missions Team has designated $20,000 of the 2018 Faith Promise to go directly to a Bible translation project. Our donation will be used to help the Ketengban people of Indonesia reach out to neighboring people groups and to help complete a translation of the Psalms into the Damle language. On Sunday, September 9, our main Missions Emphasis event will give us the opportunity to hear stories from Andrew and Anne Sims, with whom we have partnered for many years, about people who have been impacted by having Scripture in their own language.
Earlier this Spring, Pastor Jym led our first seminar leading up to the Missions Emphasis with an overview of the history of the English Bible. If you were unable to attend, a recording can be found on our website (http://lifepointindy.com/ministries/missions/). This seminar explained how the English Bible came to be, as well as some of the differences between the English translations we have today. On Sunday, July 15, at 6:00 p.m., we will have our second seminar that will focus specifically on the needs and challenges of Bible translation as it relates to other languages. As I’ve studied and talked to others about Bible translation, a couple of recurring questions consistently come up. Many people, myself included, have wondered why we don’t just teach people how to read a language that already has the Bible. Others wonder why a translation project requires so much time and so many resources. This seminar will attempt to answer these and other related questions. We’ll look at where the number, 1671, comes from as well as why having Scripture in the heart language is so important. In addition, we’ll discuss the nuances of language that make translation such a challenge. Although we will not be able to answer all of the questions surrounding Bible translation, this should be a good lead up to our September event.
Bible translation is an important topic and one in which I’m thankful we are able to participate. But even as we focus on this important task, let’s not forget that it is not the end goal. The ultimate goal of missions is to glorify God through obedience to Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations. This is a task in which Bible translation is a vital part and one in which all of our missionaries are somehow involved. Last Thursday night, our elders spent time praying for each missionary that our church supports. Hearing the prayers of fellow elders was an encouragement and a great reminder of the various ways we are involved in missions and outreach. In our local community, in other parts of the United States, and in countries on the other side of the world, many men and women are taking the light of Christ into a dark world. Through prayer, financial support, and involvement with many of these ministries, even those of us who remain at home play an essential role in obeying Christ’s command. As we continue through the year, and get closer to our Missions Emphasis, let’s remember to keep all of our missionaries and their ministries in our prayers.