Blessed Are the Meek

By Anonymous

Central Asia is considered one of the least-reached places in the world. Currently in the small mountainous country where I work, only .01 percent of the population is evangelical Christian.

One of the most significant barriers to spreading the gospel here has been gaining access to and understanding the Word of God. A translation of the Bible exists in the local language, but it is so difficult to comprehend that even people with advanced academic degrees have trouble grasping it. Imagine a woman with an eighth-grade education in a village trying to understand this translation. It’s nearly impossible.

For the last several years I, as an Alliance international worker, have partnered with SIL (originally known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc.) to develop a new translation of the Bible in the local language. The goal of our translation is that anyone in the country with an eighth-grade education will be able to pick up the Bible and read and understand it without having to consult a religious leader.

One way we make sure our translation is understandable is to invite people who have never read the Bible to sit with us and read through a book that has been recently translated. We read a small section and then stop to discuss what they just read and how they understood the passage. Not only do we make sure the vocabulary is understandable but we also sit with people and witness their reaction to reading the Word of God for the first time.

Last November, I sat with two people, Brian* and Rhoda, to read through sections of Matthew. While reading the Beatitudes where Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” Brian stopped reading. He reread the passage several times.

We asked him if he didn’t understand something. He said he understood every word, but it did not make sense. We asked him to explain, and he told us that nothing was wrong with the sentence, but it was illogical.

“How could the meek ever inherit the earth?” he asked. “That is the opposite of what the world is like.” He was wrestling with Jesus’ words being contrary to what he held to be true.

When we read, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Brian and Rhoda once again stopped and kept rereading the passage. We asked what was difficult. Brian looked up and said, “Nothing. If this is really true, then we need to become followers of Jesus!”

He didn’t decide to become a follower of Jesus that night, but what an impact the Word of God has on those who finally have access to it in their heart language!

Please pray for the continuation of this translation. The enemy does not want the 7.5 million people in this country to have access to God’s Word. Our aim is to finish the New Testament by the end of 2018. Please pray that God will use His Word in a mighty way among these people.

*Names changed

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