“Bible translation is not for people who are perfect. It is not for people who have it all. [It is for] people who know [God] and want to work in faith with him. And then their lives will be unfolding into beauty –– into something very beautiful.”
Lydia Teera was only a teenager in Kampala, Uganda, when she lost her father to HIV. His death left her orphaned, but it also left her confused, frustrated and betrayed. Lydia had not known that her father was battling the disease. He had kept it a secret from her and the church community in which he served for his entire life.
In the wake of Mr. Teera’s passing, Pastor Tim Kibirige and his wife provided Lydia with a home. Though they did not have much to offer her in the way of financial support, what they did offer is something that changed her life forever –– the healing power of God’s Word. While living with the pastor and his wife, Lydia began to study the Bible. She came face-to-face with God, the giver of all hope. As a result, Lydia began to slowly heal from the scars of her past. But through reading Scripture, she was also able to look toward the future with purpose. In the comforting arms of her Heavenly Father, Lydia found the home she had lost.
As she studied the Bible, Lydia grew more and more passionate about serving God in any way she could. God led her to Wycliffe Bible Translators, where Lydia became the first Wycliffe missionary sent out from Uganda. Initially she grappled with the decision to become a missionary. But as Lydia prayed, she recognized an important truth. “I’m part of a church,” she reminded herself. “And we’ve been called to go and serve. Then why not go?”
Lydia, like many others, grasped the mission of Bible translation. She realized how much God had changed her own heart and life through Scripture. Today she is still committed to share that vision, purpose and hope with the people around her.
Each December 1 is recognized as World AIDS Day –– an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. And though it may only have been a piece of Lydia’s story, through encountering and grieving this disease, God drew Lydia into a relationship with himself and ultimately allowed her to share her story with many others. He took Lydia’s broken circumstances and unfolded them into beauty, as only he can.
On the surface, it might seem like Bible translation has little to do with World AIDS Day. After all, the Bible is not a medical manual, written to save the body. But for those suffering from the pain of HIV/AIDS, God’s Word offers something that no doctor can provide — hope and healing for eternity.