Ninety people come to Christ through translated materials
Wycliffe Today Autumn 2023 Edition
Have you ever wondered what happens after a Bible translation project has finished? Do the materials get used? Are they accepted by local communities? The flow-on effect of partnering with local neighbours is evident in the following story about the Papuan Malay (PM) Scripture Engagement team. During a local church visit, they met an evangelist who told them how instrumental the PM materials were in seeing 90 people in one village come to faith in Jesus and be baptised! This is what she shared:
We used to use the Indonesian Bible in our evangelism. But in 2016 we started using the books of Jonah and Ruth in PM, and praise God, they attracted the interest of the people! Many children who were far from God came and listened to these extraordinary stories. Older people were happy to hear the stories too because the language was simple enough to understand.
One night, we played the Jesus Film in PM. We had tried playing it in Indonesian for them before, but they had just blankly stared at the screen. When we played it in PM, however, many people were curious and came over to watch it. A big crowd gathered and everyone started telling us their problems and asking for help. We used the Bible to help them find answers to their problems.
One young man visited from another village three hours away by boat. He fell off the bridge as he was getting out of the boat, but he still turned up in his wet clothes. He begged us to play the Jesus Film again because he really wanted to see it. We also gave him the PM ‘Freedom in Christ’ tract. After reading it he said, ‘This story is about my own life’. He had a history of violence towards women.
Early the next morning, he came to me for prayer. ‘God showed me what to do: Get some water from the well.’ As the young man drank the water, I prayed, ‘God, this water symbolises the ransom that you gave to restore this boy’. Once he drank the water, he fell over. And he began to scream, ‘Lord Jesus help! I want to come back and follow you because of what you taught me through this little book!’
So the PM books and films have been a huge help for our ministry in this village – from 2016 until this day. Many people in this village have repented and believed in Jesus. They asked us to run a baptism service for them and 90 people were baptised!