By Alison Compton Ngallaba
Alison first went to Tanzania with Wycliffe in 2006, serving as a linguist and literacy advisor. In 2012 she married Solomon Ngallaba, a Tanzanian. The Ngallaba’s are currently on furlough in the United States.
It was December 2003 when I received a letter from Wycliffe Bible Translators accepting me as a missionary. As I reflect back on my calling into the ministry of Bible translation, I realize the Scripture God used to call me is just as relevant now as it was then.
My journey to missions started in 2002 when I was working at Johnson University. I developed a thirst for learning more about the Bible. Even though I had a Bible degree from Johnson, I was excited about the Word in a new way and was thirsty for more. So I signed up to take Greek on my lunch break. One day a Bible translator spoke to our Greek class advocating for Bibleless people. I was shocked! I thought everyone had a Bible. (I grew up here in the “Bible Belt,” after all.)
I kept thinking about the Bibleless people. I couldn’t get them out of my mind. The Word meant so much to me! What would it be like to be without the Bible? But I didn’t think I could possibly go.
This same semester, I attended Bible Study Fellowship on Monday nights. We were studying the Gospel of John. One verse captured my heart and convicted me, leading me into missions: In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, two of John’s disciples saw Jesus pass by. They followed Him. Jesus knew He was being followed; He turned around and asked them, “What do you want?” They wanted to know where He was staying. Jesus’ reply is what got me: “Come, and you will see.”
Over the next nine or ten months, I thought of those Bibleless people. And I was filled with a long list of doubts and fears. “God, I don’t speak any language except English.” He replied, “Come, and you will see.” “God, I’ve never lived anywhere but Tennessee! Can I really move overseas?” God replied, “Come, and you will see.” “God, what if I get sick?” “Come, and you will see.” “What if I miss my family?” “Come, and you will see.” “What if something bad happens?” “Come, and you will see.”
This continued until I finally said, “Yes, Lord, I will come!” I’ve never regretted that decision even for one day.
Now here I am, a decade later. I still find myself filled with doubts and fears. “God, what will it be like to live in the United States for a year? I haven’t lived here for that long since 2005!” “Come, and you will see.” “God, what will it be like being a mom and raising our daughter overseas?” “Come, and you will see.” “How will we live in America on an African budget?” “Come, and you will see.”
Just as it took me some months to say, “Yes, Lord, I’ll come!” I find myself in that process again. I am slowly uncurling my anxiously clenched hands and letting God fill them. He is faithful and His Words are true.