Who are the experts
Is the far-travelled Wycliffe missionary ‘the one’ who will gift the local people with God’s Word in their own language? Who are the real translation experts?
Meet Pastor Joshua Jimmy Iona, called out of a witchdoctor heritage to serve the Lord Jesus at age 16. He was the first member of his family to become a Christian. He eventually attended a local Bible school and became a pastor in Tanna (Vanuatu).
Most of the people in his community did not understand the wording of the available Bislama or English Scriptures. ‘If you don’t understand God’s word,’ he said, ‘you’re serving an unknown God.’
Joshua was passionate about sharing the Gospel with his family and was inspired by the translators he met to translate God’s Word in the language of his home community. So he dedicated 14 years to working with Vanuatu Bible Translators (VBT), providing language insights to complete the New Testament in his local dialect, Nata. He is currently the Vice- Chair of VBT.
‘People hear God’s Word clearly, accurately,’ Joshua said. He now sees first-hand how his people come to enjoy a deeper relationship with Jesus, who transforms every sphere of life in new ways pleasing to God.
Joshua has since trained in an English immersion course through Wycliffe Australia. This has equipped him to communicate and preach cross-culturally with greater boldness, bringing God’s Word to more people of Vanuatu.
So just who is the translation expert here? Praise God we can support Bible translators such as Pastor Joshua, who have the insight, skills and longing for their people to receive God’s Word in the language that touches their lives most profoundly.
This story is from Wycliffe Today – January 2017 Edition (PDF)
About the Author: Craig Schneider is a current student at Melbourne School of Theology. He hopes to contribute more directly in a translation project in the future.