In 1993, my wife and I went to Mozambique to serve among the Sena people. I noticed that our Sena pastors preached in Sena but read the Bible to the people in Portuguese. Portuguese is the official language of Mozambique, however only those who have finished at least primary school can understand it well. But most women haven’t been to school at all, and many men haven’t finished. So, when the pastor read the Bible to people in Portuguese, most understood little or nothing.
So, I began searching for a New Testament in the Sena language. The only one in existence was a paraphrase produced by the Catholic Church in the 1980s, called Mphangwa Zadidi, that is Good News. I got a copy and began reading aloud from it whenever I preached. I will never forget how the people reacted the first time I read the Good News to them in Sena. They got quiet, leaned forward to hear better, and then exclaimed, “Bvesa! Yesu asalonga Cisena!” “Listen! Jesus speaks Sena!”
After that, when I visited a church I always took copies of the Sena Good News to sell. People crowded around: “I want to buy the Good News in Sena!” They cost $1.00 each—a lot of money for most people. But Sunday after Sunday, they bought every copy I had. Unfortunately, by 1998 the supply was exhausted and no reprint was planned. People would ask me, “Did you bring copies of the Good News in Sena?” They were so disappointed when I told them, “I’m sorry, there aren’t any more!”
But God was already working on a new way to get His Word to the Sena people in their language. In the mid-1990s, SIL, a Wycliffe affiliate, began a project to produce a fresh translation of the New Testament into Sena. After years of translating, checking, testing, and printing, in 2008, the Cibverano Cipsa, the “New Testament” in Sena, was published. Today, it’s available in book form and also online in text and audio.
Having God’s Word in their own language changes people’s lives! But we missionaries can’t do the job of Bible translation on our own. We need partners to help us. There are two ways you can partner with me as I serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators. First, you can become a prayer partner, someone who commits to pray regularly for me and the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Your prayers will play a vital role in helping translation teams make God’s Word available to the 128 million people, speaking 1680 different languages, who still don’t have any part of the Bible in their language.
Would you be willing to become a prayer partner with me in my Wycliffe ministry? If so, please email me at email@example.com to be added to the list.
Second, you can become a financial partner, who commits to making regular financial contributions to Wycliffe to sustain me in my ministry. Your gifts make it possible for me to work full time as an anthropology consultant for Wycliffe translation teams. Would you be willing to become a financial partner for my Wycliffe ministry? If so, go to wycliffe.org/partner/philtroutman to initiate your partnership.
If you’re not yet sure what part God wants you to play in the work of Bible translation, would you pray and ask Him what He would have you do? Thank you so much!
Read It Every Day!
Christians should make the Bible a vital part of their lives. One way to do so is to read the Bible every day. Here’s how to get started: (1) Obtain a Bible in a modern translation, such as New International Version (NIV) or the New Living Translation (NLT). (2) Set aside a time each day to read; 10–15 minutes is fine. (3) Read one titled section of a chapter. I suggest you start reading in the New Testament book of Luke, followed by the book of Acts. (4) If you miss a day’s reading, don’t fret about it. Just pick up the next day where you left off.
If you are ready to try reading the Bible every day, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know so we can read together!
“Pray Without Ceasing”
Near the end of his first letter to the Thessalonian church, the apostle Paul gives them—and us—these instructions: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22). That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? It is God’s will for us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. So each month, I want to share with you 1) an answer to prayer, so you can rejoice with me, 2) a prayer request, which you can lift up to God with me, and 3) a reason for us all to give thanks to God together. So for January 2023,
- Rejoice with me that God has provided me with the first of people to be financial partners with my Wycliffe ministry. Currently, their monthly giving provides 15.9% of my ministry budget needs.
- Pray with me that God will call more Christians from around the world to the work of Bible translation, so that translation projects can be started in the 1680 languages that still have no part of the Bible at all.
- Give thanks with me for the 6,000+ members of Wycliffe Bible Translators around the world who are giving their lives and careers to help make God’s Word available to everybody in the language they understand best.
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Copyright © 2023 by Philip H. Troutman. All rights reserved.