On the eastern edge of a minor island in our Asia-Pacific country lies a small village. The Gospel came to this village of Tugutil people over thirty years ago, carried by the beautiful feet of missionaries who spent years learning the Tobelo-Boeng language, sharing the message of salvation, discipling new believers and caring for a young church. Over the decades, missionaries came and went, sometimes forced to leave for health conditions, civil unrest, or vital needs in other areas of the ministry. Two missionaries in particular carried on the arduous work of Bible translation, even from afar.
Imagine our surprise and delight when, after less than one year of working directly in the local aviation ministry, Jared had the opportunity to help fly the first cargo of printed Tobelo-Boeng Bibles to the church in this village! We had shared with home churches in the past that it would be a rare and amazing privilege to one day fly translated Bibles into a village. What a gift from God–not only for us to participate in this event, but especially for the believers in the Tugutil people group to finally receive bound copies of the Word of God in their own language.
Before this, the Tugutil people had received copies of individual books of the Bible as they were completed, as well as study guides that the missionaries developed over time. Each portion was separate, and the copies were passed around for individual study.
After flying in with the Bibles on a Saturday, Jared sat in the church building on Sunday morning and heard a soft murmer of awe as a Bible was lifted up for everyone to see, its hard cover and gold leaf edges a silent tribute to the years of effort and the value of the message contained in the book.
The Tobelo-Boeng Bible translation is not yet complete. This first printing contains the entire New Testament, study guides, and maps, but only twenty-eight percent of the Old Testament. Pray with us for the missionary who even now continues the translation work. He shared, “The low points [in the translation project] would have to include all the delays we experienced over the course of more than 25 years, due to the riots, living off-site, being involved in multiple ministries other than translation, etc. The high points that come to mind are seeing and hearing the reactions of the native speakers as they hear a particular book or passage of Scripture in their own language for the first time, usually during a consultant check. They love to hear about God’s love and mercy for all people as revealed in so many different stories in Scripture, and how our Lord was willing to die as a sacrifice in our place so that we could have eternal life with Him.”
Please pray, too, for the Tugutil church to mature in the faith as God uses the mirror of His Word to make them more like Himself.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”Psalms 119:130 (NIV)
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)