Last night we had about 25 people over ranging in age from 11-25. It was the youth group from our church, Next Level Church. We had the great opportunity of sharing with them about the Bible translation process, the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators, and why God’s Word is important to them too.
One of the stories we told was recently posted on Wycliffe’s web page. The translation committee in the Hdi language in Cameroon couldn’t find the world for “unconditional love,” the kind of love that God has for all of mankind. How could they translate verses about God’s love without this important word?
They knew that a verb in this language needed to end in an i, a or an u. They knew two words for love already, “Dvi” and “Dva” but would these words work? The coordinator got together with a group of men who spoke Hdi.
“Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?” he asked them? “Yes”, they said. “That would mean that her husband loved her once, but not anymore.”
Hmm, that doesn’t work for God’s love.
“Could you ‘dva” your wife?” “Yes”, they said. “That kind of love depends on the wife’s actions or what she did.”
That won’t work either.
“Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?” he asked? Everyone laughed.
“Of course not!” they said. “If you loved your wife that way, you would have to keep loving her no matter what she did – even if she never made you meals or even if she went to live with another man. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t happen.”
The coordinator sat quietly for a moment. “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”
After several minutes tears started running down the faces of these men. They finally responded.
“Do you know what this would mean? This would mean for God kept loving us over and over for thousands of years even while we rejected him and were sinning!”
By changing one simple letter, the vowel at the end of the word, the meaning changed from “I love you because of what you do and who you are,” to “I love you because of who I am.”
Isn’t that a wonderful story about how God created this language so that people could understand the true love of God!
Thank you for supporting us in this important work. It’s so exciting!