I sometimes wonder what my grandmother would say if she suddenly came back from heaven and landed in today. She died in 1981, when cell phones were something “007” used and microwaves weren’t yet standard equipment in every kitchen. No one dreamed of a satellite dish being connected to his house, or of watching “movies on demand.” Personal computers eluded anyone with an average salary. Considering buying one machine that would copy, print in color and send fax messages was just a dream! And what about keyless entry, digital cameras and GPS?
She’d be confused by our language, too. “Gay” used to mean happy and light-hearted. Marriage didn’t need a definition. “Identity theft” and “store card” would earn you a blank stare. Security meant money in the bank and a lock on your house — not a gun in your car!
I’m glad my grandmother is with Jesus. But there are people living in isolated situations, for whom the modern, technological world is just as confusing as it would be to her. They’re losing their hunter-gatherer lifestyles and some are even losing their languages to aggressive groups.
Developing a writing system for a previously oral language lets people know their identity is worth preserving. Translating books into that language builds their self-esteem as a culture. Training translators from that people group to do the work displays their dignity and reinforces their potential. And giving them God’s Word offers them abundant life and eternal hope. In the midst of upheaval and radical change … they will have an Anchor.
Jenny Evans is a writer for The Seed Company.