As you may or may not know, I am currently in the process of training to become a Bible Translator and linguistic consultant in order to see the Gospel and Kingdom of God spread through all cultures. Its a fairly uncommon field in comparison to what most people do. The task rarely even pops up on the radars of most people, even Christians. So its understandable that I often get the question, "Why Bible Translation?" The motives for this question are varied and vast as some are genuinely curious while others seek to convince you of some other path or to justify their own choices. I can not speak for others choices or paths, only my own. So usually when asked this question I give the steps and ways God has spoken to me specifically in leading me down this path. However, this personal testimony today is more along the lines of my perspective on some of the other choices I might have made instead and mainly concerns an event where I realized that God has made me for something a little less common.
I attend a church called Bridgeway Christian Church when I can. I find it to be a place that God has spoken to me clearly and a place where people genuinely seek to glorify and serve God with their lives. So please do not interpret this as any kind of criticism of the church. However, one weekend the church, instead of having a normal service we had stations set aside to do various acts of service. It was a project to put together boxes and supplies for the homeless and the task was very great indeed considering how much was done. I appreciate the service the church was giving to the community as well as the motivation for people to become involved in their communities. However as the busyness of the task was progressing I stood back and began to think and pray. There were more than a thousand people in that large warehouse-like room packing boxes, folding clothes, praying for people, etc. I saw them lining up to have a chance to help out when it hit me. I saw the great disparity. While in Tanzania I saw thousands of people line up to receive 15 minutes with a doctor and receive some basic medical care and here people were lining up to have a chance to serve. That is when I realized that I wasn't made to do what everyone else was doing. I wasn't made to remain in places of relative comfort and line up alongside many others to do the tasks that we have too many people doing already. I need to be in a place where the harvest is great and the workers are few. I need a place where if I left there would be noone to replace me. I had a professor in my undergrad share something with me once saying,
"Twenty-five years ago I was trying to find the balance between current ministry responsibilities (I was the youth minister at my home church) and the desire to go into missions. It was difficult to think about leaving the church and ministry I had known for several years and the kids I loved. I realized, however, on a trip to the Philippines that if I resigned from my ministry at the church there would be many people lining up to take the job. With the mission ministry, however, no one was lining up for that one."
I don't begrudge those whose callings are not the same as mine. Just like people have different spiritual gifts, people have different callings and paths their lives must take. I do not look down upon the person whose spiritual gift is giving rather than service, teaching, etc. I just can't stay here when God has clearly shown me to go somewhere else. And Bible Translation is where I see the greatest need amongst the unreached peoples of our world.
For His Glorious Name,