The work of translating the book of John for the Yeshil people group can now begin! The people of Christ Church gave $22,526 to translate the 879 verses of this Gospel into this people group’s heart language. These funds will go to the Seed Company, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators, to begin work in this high intensity area of the world. Due to security issues, the actual name of the people group is not being shared.
The 700,000 speakers of this Middle Eastern ethnic group have not before had the opportunity to read God’s Word for themselves. Before the Seed Company began working with the Yeshil people, they didn’t even have a written alphabet. This people group was an oral culture that has passed their history and culture down story by story.
The Yeshil are part of more than one billion people who don’t yet have a Bible in their primary heart language.
“I was surprised to realize people are not able to read the Bible,” said Winston Wilford, a fourth grader who gave to this project. “I liked helping people build a relationship with God.”
The Seed Project will work with individuals from the Yeshil people to form a translation team for the book of John. They will go verse by verse, discussing the meanings and metaphors, tailoring it specifically to their language and culture. For example, in our culture the heart is the starting point for emotions. We say things like, “I love you with all my heart.” In many other cultures, the stomach is the place where emotion comes from. It might be more appropriate to say, “My stomach is full of love for you.” Translation work takes a lot of time and consideration to ensure that God’s Word is clear and easily understandable to those who read it.
After the Yeshil translators are done with their initial work, they will take their first drafts and do community testing. Yeshil speakers in Middle Eastern towns and villages will congregate to hear public readings of the Gospel of John for the first time. Then they will discuss it, and translators and other Seed Company personnel will ask question after question to make sure the correct meaning has come across.
From the information gathered, translators will begin editing and revising. Once this process is done, they will take this version of the translation and then translate it from the Yeshil language into another major language of the area. Next, an outside consultant, who has not yet laid eyes on the Yeshil translation, will check the translation for faithfulness to the biblical text as well as clarity of communication. This consultant will proof every word, every tone.
The Seed Company will include the Christ Church family throughout this journey by sending the church drafts as they are finished, for us to see with our own eyes the work God is doing. We will also have the vital job of praying. It takes all of us to make this happen.
“How beautiful it is when the body of Christ works together for His glory! Imagine the variety of roles played by different members of the body to successfully navigate the translation of God’s Word into the Yeshil language. Each role is vital with each person using the gifts God has given them. Christ Church was able to use its gifts of giving by doing so cheerfully and generously.” — Randy & Beverly Wade
After this lengthy process is finished, the Yeshil Gospel of John will be ready for printing. From start to finish, the project is scheduled to take at least three years. The translation will be distributed to the Yeshil people with much celebration. A small group from Christ Church may get to go to the Gospel dedication. Then we will get to watch and wait to see what God will do through His powerful, life-changing Word!
Long-time member and Bible translator, Doug McKnight, said, “I am so thrilled and grateful in knowing my church has successfully participated in such a big way. God’s Word in the native language of Yeshil will be delivered and now bear witness to the Gospel!”