The question hung in the air heavily. The translation team was enjoying the shade of a ginkgo tree after another full morning checking the draft of Luke 16-24. The missionary was initially taken aback by the question, but he explained briefly the history of how the Gospel first came to the region. The local woman looked into the distance and said softly, “If my father could have heard the Gospel, the witch doctor would not have been able to use sorcery to kill him.” She turned to him, held his gaze gently for a few seconds, then looked away with misty eyes.
Pioneer Bible Translators learned of this people group through praying specifically for the Gospel to make inroads in this region. Near the end of 2012, Greg Pruett, President of Pioneer Bible Translators, cast a vision for the agency to double in size—again (after doing so in the preceding six years). The major strategy underlying this vision was praying for God to open doors in new fields.
As a result of these prayers, three families approached Greg independently of each other regarding work in this specific region. One of these families went on a survey trip and interfaced with this particular language group, which is composed of more than one million speakers. Upon returning from the survey trip, this family embraced the commitment to work among this people group prayerfully and wholeheartedly. Thus began the work of Pioneer Bible Translators in this part of the world.
The work among this people group continues today. The translation team has drafted the books of Jonah and Luke. These drafts have undergone several checks and revisions, including the consultant check (the final step in the translation process prior to publication).
Our staff working in this region has specifically asked for the following strategic prayer emphases:
- The completion of The Jesus Film for the largest of the five tribes in this region by the end of 2015
- A complete New Testament in this language by 2022
- More locals to help with the process of back translation
- Unity and discipleship among the members of the translation team
- The development of leaders for the local church
This people group represents one of the 62 active translation projects in which Pioneer Bible Translators is currently engaged. These projects collectively have the potential to reach 26 million people with the Gospel. This family and our staff throughout the world are working diligently to ensure that no one ever has to ask why it took so long for their people to hear the Word of God.