Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Holding Hands

The two men looked at each other, standing so close that their shoulders were almost touching. Then, as they turned back toward to the audience, their hands slipped together, grasping each other tightly.

I swallowed and began blinking a little too fast. I raised my camera, trying to hold it steady as the session facilitator explained the drama.

It had started with a man representing a national translator standing on the far side of the clearing, while a man representing a people group without access to Scripture stood at a distance on the other side. The gap between the two was vast—it was obvious the translator would never make it to the BIbleless people group without help.

And so, the facilitator began calling out jobs—who will support this translator in prayer? Who will come alongside him as a linguistic advisor? Who will help work in his garden and feed his family? Who will give financial gifts to help him with school fees? Who will help him with computer and technical support?

The list went on and on, but without hesitation, the various church leaders in the audience in the Markham Tokples (local language) Scripture conference where I was a staff member this past January leapt from their seats to grab a sign naming their job and stand alongside the translator. With each new addition, the whole group was able to move closer and closer to the man still waiting without the Bible, closing the gap.

Finally, there was no gap, and the two men symbolized the bridge with a hand-grip of certainty. (In Papua New Guinea, it is not uncommon for men to hold hands with men and for women with women; it is a sign of deep friendship and brotherhood.)

But the drama wasn’t finished. The facilitator walked up to the translator and handed him a new sign, which simply stated Jesus.

And that’s when I gave up trying to blink back those tears (and take photos). This whole long line of jobs was not merely about bringing a translation to the Bibleless. It was about bringing Jesus.

Just like those national translators need a huge support system behind them to carry the love of Jesus into their own languages, I am grateful for my support system—a chain formed by each of you!—without which I wouldn’t be able to serve here in the work of Bible translation! Thank you!

I’ve just sent out my March newsletter. It will soon be put up on my Newsletters tab or you can email me to get on my mailing list.