From the Field: Bossangoa, Africa
“If we are to understand the Word of God, God needs to translate Himself into our own language, so that His Words can speak deeply to each person,” E. reflects. “It’s the translation of the Word of God into my language that is at the base of my own faith.”
He is from Bossangoa, the capital of Ouham, one of the 14 prefectures of the Central African Republic. E. was once an atheist, an eager student of humanistic philosophy, and firmly set against Christian faith.
“When my wife would return home from prayer meeting, I would mock her, asking her a series of philosophical questions,” he remembers. “I aimed to persuade her that God didn’t exist and that her faith was useless.”
His remarks would often make her cry, but she was never dissuaded from praying for him.
After completing his studies and training as a teacher, E.’s further academic plans were blocked by a lack of finances. In answer to his wife’s prayers, this roadblock became a turning point in his life. He decided to look for opportunities to use his skills to benefit the local community. He even approached the pastor of a local church and offered to start literacy classes for church members.
The pastor encouraged him to instead enroll in a translation training course being offered to members of the community so they could begin to translate the Bible into Gbeya, E.s’ own mother tongue, which is spoken by more than two hundred thousand people in the Bossangoa region..
“I had no idea at the time this was God’s plan for me,” E. said. “As I became immersed in the Word of God, I began to understand the incredible love and grace which He freely gives each one of us. I couldn’t imagine why God would want a relationship with me. My deep intimacy with God is one of the most amazing things I take from this ministry.”
Soon, E. went from being one of the translators on the Gbeya translation team to being the coordinator for translation and literacy projects in the entire Bossangoa region. “Ever since I accepted Jesus as my Savior,” he said, “my entire life has been such an adventure in faith.”
It has now been over a decade since he first got involved in Bible translation. “God chose E. to work for Him, studying the Bible,” said his older brother. “My prayer is that his work will be a sweet smelling sacrifice to God.”
When an atheist meets the God of the Bible, anything can happen! Pray for E. and his work in Bossangoa. Pray for the many people around the world who are translating the precious words of Scripture into the native tongues of nations and tribes.