Twenty-one years ago, a Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project (BPPP) partner began praying for a Muslim group in West Africa. For three years she prayed, with no obvious results.
Finally, in 1993, a man named Dalmar* accepted Christ through the testimony of a local believer.
After that, it was another fourteen years of silence. Although Dalmar continued to follow Christ, no one else in his community seemed interested.
Although he was alone in his faith, Dalmar didn’t give up. Instead, he helped a missionary couple with linguistic research, and then went to seminary for training. There, he met his wife, and in 2005, they started working on a Bible translation so others in his community could more clearly understand the message about Jesus. Through their testimony, Dalmar’s cousin accepted Christ.
Dalmar and his wife first translated the books of Ruth and Genesis. Normally, translators begin with one of the Gospels, but since Dalmar’s people were Muslim, it was more powerful to start from a chronological perspective.
“The story of (Genesis) sweeps away some misconceptions the Muslim people have about Christian faith,” Dalmar explains. “For instance, common Muslim people are taught since their childhood that Christians do not believe in God. But when the Muslim people read the book of Genesis… they realize that Christians do believe in God and that their God is the Creator of the World.”
Recently, Dalmar was thrilled to distribute a complete translation of Genesis around his community. Many of his neighbors eagerly started reading the stories to each other. One man was so happy that he put the copy on his head, under his turban, in order to keep it close to his mind.
“Our people loved the booklets you gave them,” said one man. “They talk about wonderful stories. What is most impressing is that these stories are written in our own language and they talk about God…. Very often, people sit together and read these stories.”
Recently, nearly one hundred families, including Dalmar’s, were suffering from hunger after a drought killed their animals. But God supplied the funds for Dalmar to purchase food and animals for these families. Afterwards, a man who used to persecute Dalmar for his faith in Christ, said, “Now I have come to realize that you (Christians) are the children of God’s kingdom. You have the eternal life.”
This act also touched Dalmar’s brother deeply. He was so moved that Christians were helping his people that he decided to accept Christ.
Twenty-one years after that first BPPP partner began praying, Dalmar’s neighbors are finally reading the Scriptures—words that are introducing them to their Savior. Currently more than twelve thousand people are part of BPPP, and similar prayers are being answered all over the world. By praying for Bibleless communities like Dalmar’s, you can play a key role in the work of Bible translation.
*For security reasons, Dalmar is a pseudonym.