Friday, April 13, 2012

Do You Have a Bible?

After Bob's visit to Nigeria last year, he returned with the following story,
 we love because it illustrates the eagerness of people to hear the Bible in their own language.

I was traveling with another American and two Nigerians in a van to two towns on the other side of the country (a 9-hour drive) to install BGANs, a satellite internet system that they could use to connect their laptops to the internet. This system would allow them to collaborate with consultants on translating hard verses or difficult ideas, it would allow them to report on their work as they finished it, and allow them to back up their work remotely in case something happened to their work computer.

There are military checkpoints from time to time on the roads, and we were stopped at one. The soldier asked the driver who we were in Hausa, the local trade language, and the driver replied that we were missionaries. As soon as the soldier heard that, he looked at us Americans in the backseat and asked us, in English, if we had a Bible. I was a little worried at this question because it sounded like a challenge, like we were being asked to prove we were missionaries by producing a real Bible. Embarrassingly, my only Bible was on my smartphone, and my friends' was buried in his suitcase, so we were fumbling around having trouble locating one.

Fortunately, while we were engaged, the other Nigerian in the front seat was continuing to talk to the soldier in Hausa. He learned that the soldier was asking because he wanted a Bible for himself. The man explained that we weren't giving away Bibles, we were translating them, and he asked what the soldier's heart language was. It turns out that the soldier speaks a language that was currently in the process of being translated, and he was able to assure the soldier that we were working on it and he would be able to have the Bible soon not in English, but in his own language. We left with an encouragement that people really are eager to have the Bible for themselves, and that God arranged this encounter for us to see firsthand peoples' desire to have His Word in their own language.

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