Six times in Ezra 7 and 8 we are told that the hand of the Lord God was upon Ezra for good. God chose him to lead the second stage of Judah’s return to the promised land from captivity with the primary purpose of reviving the people so they could worship Him in the restored temple. Serving the Lord involves a servant yielding his will, his rights, and his worries to the will of his Master, convinced that his every need will be met by the One he serves.
A testimony is evidence proving the validity of something. When one’s life is a living testimony that the Lord’s hand has been upon that person for good, it can be moving, inspiring, motivational, and convicting. In August 2023, at the BI Consultant Seminar in Grand Rapids, Michigan, three servants of the Lord were interviewed. We were encouraged and challenged by their testimonies of faithfulness, integrity, endurance, wisdom, passion, and transparency. Their lives and ministries reflect the yielded rights and yielded worries of servants of Christ. They are not perfect. They have learned hard lessons as they have walked with their Master. Their service has included trials, temptations, successes, failures, and the blessings of answered prayer. Because all three are close to retirement, the BI staff wanted to hear what these individuals had learned over decades of ministry as senior Bible translation consultants and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sana S. was born into a Hindu family in Asia. Saved at age 17, he experienced the hand of the Lord guiding him from a military position to a leprosy hospital to Bible translation. He has served as a pastor, church planter, mentor, and senior consultant, and had the privilege of working with 30 language projects in this indispensable ministry. Cathy H. was called into missions at age 18 and married shortly thereafter. Cathy and Ross began their ministry with the Makushi language in Brazil. They served as church planters, mentors, and senior Bible translation consultants. Cathy was honored to work with 24 language projects over the years. Glenn K. oversees the resource needs of BI’s translation projects and serves as a senior consultant in Africa, Europe, southeast Asia, and South America. He has worked with 35 language projects in his almost three decades of service. The hand of the Lord has been upon all three servants for good.
The interview touched a chord in our hearts. We laughed. We cried. At various times throughout the interview, we were sober in our thoughts, joyful in our spirits, convicted in our souls, and grateful to our God. What did we glean from this trio’s combined decades of service? We learned to cultivate a loving, growing relationship with national translators; to develop a passion for mentoring others; to never let the study of God’s Word become “old hat,” but keep it fresh; to connect the Scriptures with the human heart for change; to never allow tasks to become more important than people; to hold family relationships close; to humbly pursue unity on a team; to ask lots of questions in order to understand the culture of our translation teams; and to serve the Lord with joy.
Their counsel was invaluable. They did not learn these lessons overnight. They walked with God, yielded their rights, made their mistakes, confessed their sins, and trusted their Master. Their labor has not been in vain (futile, pointless, meaningless) in the Lord. Their investment is eternal. Would you pray that we would respond to their testimonies by being “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58)?