God’s love – changed a culture

God’s love – changed a culture

Cameroon: How understanding God’s love can change a culture

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Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”

There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded.

“Do you know what this would mean?” they asked. “This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

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Translator Lee Bramlett was confident that God had left His mark on the Hdi culture somewhere, but though he searched, he could not find it. Where was the footprint of God in the history or daily life of these Cameroonian people? What clue had He planted to let the Hdi know who He is and how He wants to relate to them?

Then one night in a dream, God prompted Lee to look again at the Hdi word for love. Lee and his wife, Tammi, had learned that verbs in Hdi consistently end in one of three vowels. For almost every verb, they could find forms ending in i, a, and u. But when it came to the word for love, they could only find i and a. Why no u?

Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the community, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”

“Yes,” they said. That would mean that the wife had been loved but the love was gone.

“Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” Lee asked.

“Yes,” they said. That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well.

“Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?”  Lee asked. Everyone laughed.

“Of course not!” they said. “If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”

Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”

There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded.

“Do you know what this would mean?” they asked. “This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

One simple vowel, and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you based on who I am. I love you because of Me and not because of you.”

God had encoded the story of His unconditional love right into their language. For centuries, the little word was there—unused but available, grammatically correct and quite understandable. When the word was finally spoken, it called into question their entire belief system. If God was like that, and not a mean and scary spirit, did they need the spirits of the ancestors to intercede for them? Did they need sorcery to relate to the spirits? Many decided the answer was no, and the number of Christ-followers quickly grew from a few hundred to several thousand.

The New Testament in Hdi was released last year, and twenty-nine thousand speakers are now able to feel the impact of passages like Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, ‘dvu’ your wives, just as Christ ‘dvu’-d the church.…” Pray for them as they absorb and seek to model the amazing, unconditional love they have received.

Source: Bob Creson, Wycliffe Bible Translators

Joel News 848, Feb 6, 2013

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Bible translated into 700th language

Bible translated into 700th language

A new milestone has been reached as the Bible has been translated into its 700th language. 

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https://renewaljournal.com/2020/10/15/bible-translated-into-700th-language/
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See also Bible – the most popular book worldwide:
https://renewaljournal.com/2020/04/01/bible-the-most-popular-book-worldwide/


Photo: The oldest complete Bible, c350.
Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the Old Testament translated into Greek and the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek.

The milestone of 700 translations in 2020 is indicative of the acceleration that is happening in the work of Bible translation – to the extent that it is impossible to state which translation was actually the 700th, as there were several launches of physical Bibles, as well as several being made available online and via apps, all at about the same time.

There are also over 3,500 translations of portions of the Bible in other languages.

James Poole, Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, says, “It’s good to take a step back and realize what this 700th Bible means: 5.7 billion people who speak 700 languages now have the Bible in the language that speaks to them best. That is a remarkable figure and continues to grow. However, there are still about 1.5 billion people – that’s roughly 1 in 5 – who do not have the Bible in their language. That’s an injustice that Bible translation teams worldwide continue to work to put right.”

The Huichol (Wixáritari) Bible was launched in Mexico on 10 July 2020. One participant at the launch event said: “We are so happy that we now have the complete Bible, the Old and New Testaments.” The New Testament was completed in 1968, and it has taken a further 52 years of faithful service by the Huichol Bible translation team to complete the job.

In contrast, the Ellomwe Bible was launched in Malawi just five years after the Ellomwe New Testament was published. Hundreds of people danced and sang to celebrate the launch of the Bible. Senior Chief Nazombe, who received a copy of the new Bible on behalf of the Ellomwe community, said: “I am grateful to God that I can witness this in my lifetime.”

Around the same time, new additions to YouVersion (the online and mobile Bible app) included two Nigerian languages – a newly edited version in the Tiv language (which was first published in 1964) and the Igede Bible.

Source: Wycliffe Bible Translators

Joel News International # 1188,  September 14, 2020

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Bible – the most popular book worldwide

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Scripture in Aramaic

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