Sunday, June 16, 2013

Part of A Team

               So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ- Romans 10:17

Have you ever tried to mow your lawn without a lawnmower? I bet we have all driven a car without a steering wheel, right?   Have you ever opened your Bible and the pages were blank? This is my new reality.

As an adult raised in the first World it seems silly to make such analogies. I was raised in privilege and protection, surrounded by rights and opportunities. I occupied a church pew for years. I was drenched in classes stocked with literature and supplies, and enjoyed fellowship and functions. I gave no thought to what was happening outside of my own little world, clueless to the struggles of my fellow brothers and sisters across the globe.

 Our family walks several miles to a tiny, concrete block church each Sunday. No cushy pews stocked with hymnals, Bibles, paper and pencils. There are no fancy choir robes, sound system, or even glass in the windows. There are no classes for children, youth, and adults.  The funny thing is there is no griping or complaining. Every Sunday that church is packed with men, women, and children that have a faith that I have never seen. They have nothing but give everything. They do all of this with dancing and singing just like David did before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14). "How is that possible?" I think to myself. I want to shout, " Don't you understand that you are oppressed? Don't you get it that your lives are unbearably hard and filled with never ending work?" Week after week these thoughts are rolling around in my head as I daily am living out their lives, my new reality. The only thing that sustains me is the sheer buffet I receive every morning as I fill my plate with God's Word. Shoveling every bite into my heart and mind as fast as I can so that I can truly "consider everything pure joy," (James 1:2).

 We began the first children's Sunday school class at our church. We teach 100 children each week that are so hungry to be taught God's Word that they cram 10-12 kids per bench. The floors of our classroom are filled with trash and filth and it smells like an animal stall. We do not have enough books for every student but no one gives any notice. They come wearing their Sunday best and sit for an hour singing, praising God and excited to hear a story from Him. Half of the children in our class do not even speak Swahili. Most of them speak Jita. This is one of the languages that is being translated here in the Mara Region. Only four of the children in our class have their own Bible and it is sad to say that most of their Bibles are in English.  I don't understand it at all. How can we have access to so much and their are millions that have access to  nothing. It makes me sad and angry at the same time. How could I have been so naive to think that I deserved to have 11 Bibles in every version and translation and here sit a hundred children that have no idea of the wonderful stories in the Bible. There have been few times that I wished that I was rich but when I saw how many children needed and wanted a Bible, I wanted to have a shopping spree!  The sad part is that half of the class would really not get much out of the Swahili Bible that I could purchase. They need a Bible in Jita.
I know that the idea of tribal languages is hard for most people to understand. It was for me at first, but now that I have lived it for 6months, I get it. For me to prepare my Sunday school lesson I have to first translate the story from Swahili to English. You are probably thinking, "Ok, so what is the big deal?" The big deal is that the story makes no sense once I translate it to English. So, I then have to get out my English Bible and go back through the story and change it around so it makes sense to me. The problem with that is when I go to communicate to the kids the important message of the story it gets lost in my Swahili-English, English-Swahili translation. Are you frustrated yet? I feel this way every week. How can I possibly get these kids to open their hearts to a life changing acceptance and following of Jesus Christ, if the message of the scripture gets lost in translation? This is what makes Bible translation so important. If the kids in my class that speak Swahili as their heart language could read the Bible in Swahili and the kids that speak Jita could read the scripture in Jita and I could following along in English then we would all understand and be able to unlock the Truth for ourselves.

How can you help?

Wycliffe needs people like you to make a commitment to help end Bible poverty. Do you want to be apart of a team?  You could become a member of "Team Cogdill" and help us support Bible translation. No child should have to wonder if God's love is for them. We see in the Bible many times where the scripture was translated so that everyone could hear and understand. It is time for the church to rise up and together show the World that Christ came for them and speaks their language!

Listen to the video of this family that joined a Bible translation project and the impact that it made on their lives.

1 comment:

  1. That was thrilling to watch, thank you for sharing! Much love to you all today!