I’ve always had a lot of respect and appreciation for the Wycliffe Bible translators.
We knew a couple of them in Ghana 35 years ago. They were from England and had devoted their lives to a small corner of Ghana, where they learned the local language, developed a written form of it and then proceeded to translate the scriptures for them.
About ten years ago, while waiting for a return flight home from Accra, the capital of Ghana, I met an American member of the charity. He had arrived in Ghana the same year we moved there, 1978. He remained there until after September 11th, 2001. His wife’s brother had been killed in the World Trade Center and she had returned to the United States to take care of her elderly parents. They had been translating the Bible into a dialect of the Ewe tongue in the east of the country. Once again, they had to start from scratch, first learning the language, then developing a written form of it, teaching the people and translating the Bible into the new tongue. He had successfully translated 63 books, but had to return to the US to join his wife. He hoped to finish his work in America.
I’ve been thinking about this small group of people since Sunday, when I first heard that four Wycliffe Bible translators from the United States had been murdered in an undisclosed Middle Eastern country – murdered by Islamists because they were Christians.
Remember to pray for the Wycliffe Bible translators. Like John Wycliffe in the 14th century, they are committed to translating the Bible into the vernacular, so that all people have the opportunity to read it. Without them, churches today would not be able to preach their own interpretation of the scriptures, as there would be no scriptures to preach from!
The man at the airport on his way back to America told me that most languages in the world still do not have a written form. The Wycliffes still have a lot of work to do.
In the same week that the AfD (Alternative for Germany) party called on the country to close all mosques, it was disclosed that the United States has 2,000 mosques, with one now opening each week. Many European countries are finding that Muslim young people, educated in the mosques, are learning extremism from local imams. Many of the religious leaders are sent from Saudi Arabia and are members of the Wahaabi sect of Islam, the most violent form of Sunni Islam.
Meanwhile, a report on Sydney’s Channel 7 News showed an Islamic meeting taking place in a western suburb of Australia’s biggest city. At the rally, there was a condemnation of Australia’s democratic system and a call to raise a Muslim army to impose sharia law in the country.
Further memories of Ghana came back when I heard the news on Sunday evening of what are being called the “Panama Papers.” Apparently, a law firm in Panama helped hundreds of wealthy people, including prominent politicians, to set up shell (fake) companies that helped them avoid taxes at home. Two days later, the first victim, the Prime Minister of Iceland, was forced to resign when roughly 10% of the country’s population demonstrated calling for him to go.
On June 4, 1979, a coup in Ghana brought to power a group of idealistic young air force officers. Within days they had arrested all Ghana’s previous leaders, who were then summarily publically executed on the beach. They had all been charged with corruption and sentenced to execution. Similar revolutions followed in other West African countries. Liberia’s was particularly bloody.
The leader of Iceland will not be the only leader to fall.