I have been asked several times whether Bibles International has been able to continue working during this COVID pandemic. I will answer that question by quoting our national coordinator in Southeast Asia when he said, "It is sometimes hard, but we will not stop working. We will keep working on the Bible translation, and we will not stop until this Bible is finished." You need to remember that this man said this while his country has been under a military coup that has become martial law. Descriptive words such as killing fields, war zone, shootings, bombings, random arrests, demonstrations, torture, and others have described their current crisis. This does not include the extreme rise in COVID cases that is occurring there. However, the tenacity, resilience, and determination of those committed to Bible translation humble me, convict me, inspire me, and motivate me to continue to do what God called Bibles International to do 40 years ago. With an overwhelming spirit of gratitude for such faithful men and women, and with praise to Almighty God, we celebrate by saying, "Happy 40th Anniversary, Bibles International!"
The psalmist declared in Psalm 119:89-90, "Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations; Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth." Clearly the eternal and faithful nature of the Almighty is unveiled in this passage. He has demonstrated His faithfulness in two ways: (1) The earth has been established and continues to abide, and (2) His eternal Word has been settled in heaven. The word settled is a military term that connotes the idea of "taking one’s stand firmly." As the earth stands firm and continues to exist, so the Word of God abides permanently in heaven. It is indeed imperishable, unchanging, firmly fixed, immovable, and solidly settled in glory. Both the Word of God and the works of God have been established by the Creator who is faithful to all generations.
As God is eternal, so is His Word. For this reason, BI has been committed to Bible translation for 40 years. There is no greater investment of time than to labor so that all people can hear God's eternal Word in their own language.
This summer one of our national translation consultants courageously dedicated his time to providing special Bible translator training to the Uppu Chin, Asho Chin, and Zotung Chin translation teams in Southeast Asia. Ethnic groups will be transformed by the work of these faithful nationals. These are extremely dangerous days for Southeast Asia, but God's name is at stake. His Word has been settled in heaven eternally, and Christians in Southeast Asia desire that it would be settled in each heart as well. In addition, we celebrated the completion of a revision of the Tagalog New Testament in the Philippines. This work was accomplished by God's grace through various trials, but the translators endured with sanctified determination. We could not attend the dedication ceremony in person due to COVID, but we rejoiced with them via Zoom. These days are filled with danger, risk, and uncertainty globally. However, I quote from Dr. Gary Anderson's article: "From the day our founder began reducing the Sango language to written form, there has never been a day without Scripture translation going on somewhere in the world under the BMM banner."
On this 40th anniversary we salute the grit and tenacity of God's faithful servants against all opposition, and we worship the eternally faithful God who has given us His Word. It has been settled in heaven in the past, and by God’s grace will be settled in the hearts of the millions who still wait. T.F.