Better Than an Enamel Plate

I will never forget that young mother’s prayer during night class!

We were in the last stages of the Bible translation program, where for twenty years Jo and I had been called Tehtikwyj and Prejaka by the thousand-plus Canela villagers. Two dozen Canela men and women surrounded me, sitting on logs, heads bowed in prayer. We had sung hymns set to Canela indigenous music patterns, and in a few minutes, would read and talk about a new draft of a chapter of the Bible.

Prayer Time
Now, it was time to pray. First, I heard prayers asking God to heal sick children, for a good crop, and for help to find a lost bush knife. Then a young mother prayed:

“Great Father in the Sky,” she began. “I want to thank You for sending our brother Prejaka, and our sister Tehtikwyj, to us so long ago when I was just a baby. First, they taught us to read our own language. Then, they worked with us to translate Your Words into it. Now we can read Your Letter to us. Now we are discovering that You love us very much. Now we are learning how we can live to please you. Please help them to finish Your Book soon.”

Prayer for Donors
Then came the unforgettable part that brought tears to my eyes.

“I also want to thank You for all Prejaka and Tehtikwyj’s friends far away in their own country. For all these years, their friends didn’t forget them, but kept sending them money. They know that our brother and sister don’t have a food garden here as we do. Their faraway friends send them money so they can buy food and gas for their truck. They send this money, not because of friendship, but because they are all part of Your family, Great Father.

“They have money and maybe they see a new enamel plate or a shiny spoon and ask themselves, ‘Should I buy this for my family?’ But then, they decide not to buy anything, but instead, they send the money to our brother and sister so they can live here and make the books of Your Word.

“And they sure chose right because Your Word is so much better than a new spoon and more valuable than even an enamel plate. As a reward, give these faraway brothers and sisters lots of healthy children; make their gardens grow well, and keep them from getting sick. Amen. “

What’s Happening Today
Bible translation programs are going on in thousands of languages around the world right now. Translation teams have completed programs in hundreds of languages in the last ten years. So, it is very likely that while you are reading this column:

  • Somewhere in the world, someone is reading or hearing the Word of God in their own language for the first time.
  • Somewhere, Jesus is showing the Great Father to someone who has only recently heard about Him.
  • Somewhere, the Holy Spirit is inspiring new believers to thank God for His Word, to thank Him for those who bring His Word and to ask Him to bless those who send the money that makes it possible.
  • Somewhere, God blesses donors to Bible translation and cross-cultural missions as He answers prayers by new believers such as that young Canela mother.

To those of you who give to Bible translation and cross-cultural missions, someone who you will not meet until eternity, could be asking God to bless you because, as that young Canela mother said,
“You sure chose right.”