Opportunity in South Asia
The task is urgent because the climate in the region is rapidly changing with growing radicalization of religion and politics impacting the Church deeply. The Church is rising! The Church is growing! The Church is multiplying! There is unprecedented growth of churches, congregations in and among the peoples of language communities in South Asia – Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Minority languages are usually in the interior and more rural in location. Some of them have no Christian presence. Initiating translation work to support church planting work in these interior locations is the need of the hour. Easy access to God’s Word in audio, video or printed format is key to spreading the Good News of God’s love.
GOD’S WORD SHINES THE LIGHT
When 64-year-old Saudamini received the Book of Matthew in the Sambalpuri language, she didn’t keep the Good News to herself. Instead, she went straight to the people who had persecuted her in the village of her youth — and to the ones who had attacked her father for preaching the Gospel. She boldly handed them God’s Word in their language.
“I wanted to go back to the village of my childhood,” she shares, “and find every person of the village who had persecuted us and beaten up my father and give a copy of our newly translated Scripture to them.”
Saudamini (left) gave the Gospel of Matthew to the man on her right and his wife. He was in the mob that, years earlier, beat up her father for preaching the gospel.
Saudamini, whose son, Pastor Daniel, is working to translate the entire Bible into Sambalpuri, had never seen the Bible in her heart language or even heard the Scripture in her language. But now she has distributed nearly 5,000 copies of the Book of Matthew to reach her people.
“Now my people will see the light … I believe it will be a turning point,” Saudamini says of a language group with more than 18 million people. “At last my people, who do not understand any other language than Sambalpuri, will have the privilege not only to have the Word of God, but will know Jesus.”