It was about 95 degrees out and we were hot and sweaty. My colleague, Phil Harms, and I packed our luggage in the back of a Toyota minivan and, with expensive satellite terminals and luggage piled high behind us and our driver and translation consultant in front of us, we proceeded out the drive. We were finally deploying BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) satellite terminals for the purpose of accelerating Bible translation. This is what the nine of us came for. The countless hours of preparation, the numerous weekly meetings, printing and sorting documentation, purchasing the materials, vaccinations, and all other miscellaneous preparations all led up to this moment. It was happening.
So why was I so nervous?
We were told that Phil and I were headed to southern Nigeria. Not “south south” Nigeria, as they call it, because this the area where the oil is produced and people are kidnapped for ransom. We were only driving “south”, a mere 11 hours away, and the translation coordinator would be coming to meet us.
Arriving at our first location and meeting our mother tongue translator colleagues, the Lord stilled my heart. The warm reception, the smiling faces, the eagerness to receive and use this new technology suddenly cast away all the fears, the uncertainty, the anxiety I was feeling.
I trained the mother tongue translators how to set up and use the BGAN while Phil worked on their computers, installing software and cleaning the system of viruses. The process went smooth and the translators were excited to supplement their local, sometimes unreliable connectivity for something more stable and dependable. They were incredibly excited, as much as we were. We repeated the process for the Mbolizia language project, the second village we visited. You can tell by looking at the smiles on the face in the picture below how thrilled they were to receive this new technology.
We arrived back at the NBTT (Nigerian Bible Translation and Trust) center and immediately received feedback that the program was a success. “This is fantastic,” a visiting translation consultant exclaimed. “I have already received an email from the translator with some attached translation text. In this past, this would have taken six months or more!” I’ve recorded another translator’s comments on video. You can view it here. It was working. I’m stoked!
God is using this technology to accelerate the Bible translation process and people all around the world are taking note, even CNN!
I returned to the US physically tired but mentally and spiritually exhilarated. The Lord is indeed using us and this new technology to complete his mission.