In 1983, thirty-three years ago, a group of 40,000 Sudanese people called the Tira did not have a single word of the Bible translated into their language. Today, and for the past fifteen years, thousands of Tira people are reading the Bible in their own language and have turned to follow God.
How did that happen?
- In November of 1983, David and Ray, two American students signed up to pray for the Tira with Wycliffe’s Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project.
- In May of 1986, Jerry and Jan promised to pray for this group.
- In March 1990, Jane and Margeanne committed themselves to pray.
In August 1990, a report came to the Prayer Project organizers that Avajani—a young Christian Tira man—was studying linguistics and Bible translation techniques. The organizers wrote to encourage him with the news that three teams were praying for his Tira people. They gave the names and the dates when they began to pray. Avajani’s response was astonishing! Here’s what he wrote:
- I became a Christian in November 1983, the same month that David and Ray began to pray.
- I was accepted for theological studies in May 1986, the same month that Jerry and Jan started to pray.
- I heard about courses in Bible translation and was accepted as a student in March 1990, the same month that Jane and Margeanne started to pray.
After his training, he began translating and a number of portions of the Bible were published during 1999-2001.
An atheist reading this sort of astounding coincidence might well mutter to himself, “Hmm, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that God was involved.”
God is definitely at work on planet Earth, and He invites us to join Him by praying. God has limited Himself to work on earth only in response to the prayers of His people. That is why every work of God is preceded by prayer. He moves some to pray, and some to work with their hands and minds. At rock bottom, He wants every person on earth to hear about Him in the language they know best.
Note: I published this story five years ago as part of The Mandate blog series.