Opportunity in Indo-China
The Church is growing among the ethnic minorities in the region as a result of evangelization from one tribe to another. These young churches need to receive the Word of God in order to grow and bear fruit. Communities are being transformed by the impact of the Gospel and many unreached people groups are curious to find out what is at the heart of these changes. The doors are therefore open to share the Gospel with more unreached people groups.
The political climate has improved over the last few decades in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
However, this climate of openness cannot be taken for granted. The potential for political instability in the region is a concern for the local Church. This presents an important and urgent opportunity to act now.
There are 92 languages awaiting a Bible translation. Everyone needs God’s Word in their own language, so it is a challenge to raise resources to meet the needs through translation, oral Bible storytelling, sign language translation, digital and literacy strategies.
BRINGING THE FIRST BIBLE TO THE CHO CHIN PEOPLE OF MYANMAR
Rev. Thang Ngai Om says being the Cho Bible translator is the crowning achievement of this life.
For more than half a century, the Cho Chin (or Mindat Chin) people of Myanmar have been waiting for a Bible in their language. So when the Cho Bible was finally completed in May 2019, there was a jubilant celebration. The day after the launch, Cho Chin people and the Bible Society gave thanks to God for His Word by hiking to the peak of Mount Victoria, the highest mountain in Myanmar’s Chin State.
The Cho Chin people group was introduced to the saving power of Jesus 70 years ago. At the time, missionaries to the area said people almost never used the word “forgiveness.” Instead, they leaned on revenge for justice, making murder commonplace. Now, however, because of the Good News of Jesus, they have dramatically changed their behaviors. People now forgive and care for one another, and there are several large churches in town. On May 25, 2019, they received the first Bible in their language—allowing them to finally hear and understand God’s full message.
The key Bible translator on the project, the Rev. Thang Ngai Om, is especially grateful to God for this Bible. He was born and raised in a Buddhist family. Then he met Jesus, and everything changed. When he decided he wanted to learn English, a local missionary convinced him to go a Bible school—even though he knew nothing about the Bible. He scored a zero on biblical knowledge on the entrance exam, but the principal allowed him to be admitted because he saw he was a promising student. He was right: Thang Ngai Om went on to study theology and become a pastor. Then he found his true life’s calling in translating the Bible into Cho.
Thang Ngai Om dedicated more than 25 years of his life to finishing the Cho Bible. The journey to the translation office in Yangon from his home town took him almost a week each way, but he endured. When floods washed out the roads during the rainy season, he still made the journey to meet with translation consultants—almost losing his life and the Scripture manuscripts in one particularly risky river crossing.
In May, Thang Ngai Om held the completed Cho Bible for the first time. Through tears he declared every sacrifice he’d made to be worth it. “Even if God calls me, I am ready to go now,” he says. “I am more than 70 years old now, and I am happy with my life—being a Christian, being a pastor, and being a Bible translator.”
Thang Ngai Om believes this Bible will help draw his children and his children’s children to God. “I have seen the Bible in my life, and it’s all my legacy for the next generations,” he says.
This translation is special to Thang Ngai Om for another reason: his father-in-law and mother-in-law, both more than 100 years old, were alive for the Bible dedication. They were elated to finally have the Bible in their language. Thang Ngai Om’s father-in-law spoke a emotional blessing over the Bible. Just one month later, he passed into eternity. Thang Ngai Om says, “Grandpa was waiting for the Holy Bible in our language.”
Now, local believers are carrying hundreds of copies of the Cho Bible to their churches. Thank you for supporting translators like the Rev. Thang Ngai Om in bringing God’s Word alive—both for current generations and for generations to come.