Computers run on electricity. No power means nothing gets done. And when you have just three weeks to translate the whole script of the “JESUS” film into another language, every minute counts. At a recent translation workshop involving eight languages in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, we were only getting about two hours of city electricity every day between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. The translation center had a generator, but it was expensive to run and just came on at certain times. Early in the workshop, Dominique, one of the translators in the Yaka language, stood up after the morning devotional time and said,
“Yesterday afternoon we weren’t able to work because there was no electricity for our computers. We only have three weeks here to translate the whole script, so our time is very limited. I’m willing to skip lunch if we can take the money and use it to buy gas for the generator so we can work in the afternoons. How many of you are willing to join me?”
As the workshop leader, I was moved. The Yaka people have so little, and yet here they were ready to sacrifice the little they have in order to make sure the Good News will reach their people. I thanked all of them for their willingness and told them we had already looked into the problem, and would have gas ready for the generator that afternoon and for the rest of the workshop, in case the city electricity didn’t come on.
What a privilege to be working with people who are so willing to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow the Lord. Remember the little boy in the Scriptures who sacrificed his lunch of bread and fish, and how many the Lord Jesus fed? Pray God would use this film in a similar way to bring spiritual food to the 800,000 speakers of these eight languages in the Central African Republic.
Written by Stephen Payne, a Seed Company Bible translation consultant for the Central African Republic.