By Melissa Paredes
Prayer is one of the most significant ways you can help people get the Bible in their heart language. You may not clearly see the answers to your prayers, but some people do. Bob and Betsy Eagar are among them.
In November 1982, Bob and Betsy were living in Atlanta with their two school-age children, Melanie and Rob. That’s when they first heard about Wycliffe’s Bibleless People Prayer Project (BPPP), a program that helps people pray for specific language groups that need Bible translation.
“I thought it would be really important for our family to pray for one of those Bibleless people groups,” Betsy shared, “[that] somebody would go to them and translate the Bible for them.”
They were assigned to pray for the Iyaru (name changed for sensitivity), a language community in Southeast Asia. The family started praying that the Iyaru people would one day receive the Bible in their heart language.
Years passed. Melanie and Rob grew up and left home for college. Then one day Bob and Betsy learned that Wycliffe was sending a husband-and-wife team to the Iyaru people to start a translation project! Their names were Craig and Sarah Marshall, and they were working to raise financial support so they, along with their four children, could move to Southeast Asia.
Excited to see their prayers being answered, Bob and Betsy decided to support the Marshalls financially. They also began receiving Craig and Sarah’s updates and prayer letters, following the events of their lives and their work among the Iyaru people. This continued for many years. Then Bob and Betsy had the opportunity to meet the Marshall family face-to-face.
“They happened to be in this part of the United States,” Betsy shared. “They came and spent the night with us. And it was wonderful to get to meet them, these people that we had been supporting and praying for all these years! We were thrilled about that.”
The Marshalls were equally excited about meeting Bob and Betsy. “They welcomed us, and, with tears in their eyes, told us how much they appreciated us and our efforts out among the Iyaru,” Sarah shared. “They told us they felt so blessed being a part of our team, and we felt exactly the same way about them!”
Although this was the first time the Eagars and the Marshalls met in person, it wasn’t their first conversation.
“Once, about 10 years before we met them, [Betsy] called us soon after we landed in California and helped debrief us and give wise input,” Sarah shared. “We had just gone through several emergency situations that required our getting evacuated out [of the country], and she wanted to be sure we were okay and to help us process what we’d been through as a family. As a trained counselor she understood that we’d seen and experienced some crazy, unsettling times, and reached out to us even though we’d never met. Talk about being a supportive team member! We knew we had to meet these special folks even though we didn’t know others in the [south].”
It was a joyous occasion for both families to finally meet in person on that day in Georgia, but that’s not the end of the story for the Eagars, the Marshalls and the Iyaru people.
When Bob retired in the early 2000s, he began volunteering in the “JESUS” film department at Cru, in Orlando. Almost 10 years later — in the beginning of 2014 — he learned that Iyaru was on a list of languages needing a translation of the “JESUS” film. Bob excitedly shared the news with Betsy, Melanie and Rob. As soon as they heard, they decided as a family that they wanted to help fund that project too.
“To me, [this] is a cool thing that has happened in our lives,” Betsy shared, “that we have been a part of what God is doing, from praying for that people group to now being able to help the “JESUS” film be translated for them.”
Now in their 70s, Bob and Betsy still pray for and support work among the Iyaru. Their story began over 30 years ago, and only recently have they learned how all these pieces of the bigger picture came together. But after so many years of faithful dedication, the Eagar family is seeing just that, and it’s a beautiful thing.
To learn how you can partner with Wycliffe in prayer, visit wycliffe.org/prayer.
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