Faith Comes by Hearing

Almost two years ago, I got to work with a team of Banjara people in beginning the translation of God’s Word into their heart language. VanKenna, a young man in the group, had come against the wishes of his family. Indeed he was an outcast in his community ever since becoming a Christian. His father was completely baffled as to why he would want to be part of this translation project. But VanKenna was convinced that the only way to bring change to his community was through the Word of God.

By the end of the workshop the team of ten translators and helpers had translated and checked the book of Acts. We were able to print these out in booklet form for each participant to take back to their villages and share with the people.

During the past eighteen months the translators have continued to work on drafting the New Testament in the Banjara language. All of it has now been drafted and this year they plan to gather in a central location and edit each other’s work before getting it printed. VanKenna has been one of the most eager and consistent workers on this project.

I have stayed in touch with one of the leaders of this project since last February but I had not heard anything from VanKenna, until last month. I sent the team leader a short survey of questions on how the newly translated Scripture was impacting the community.

This is what Vankenna had to say about the Scripture’s impact:

From the time I started the Banjara translation I was sharing the gospel  with my parents and other family members. My father, a communist and an atheist,  was against me. Over these last several months I have shared God’s Word in his own language with my father. He has become less and less resistant. A few months ago he was in a car accident and injured his leg. I was able to share the gospel with him while he was lying in bed from this injury. Now my father is a child of God; He has believed and  been baptized; once he was deadly against the scripture–today he has hope and faith. He loves the Lord, is an active member of the church, supporting the gospel and seizing any chance to witness for the Lord. My brothers too have come to faith. I praise the Lord.

Then he says these incredible words, My family is an example of what’s happening in the community!

God’s Word is doing exactly what He says it will do! Romans 10:17 states plainly, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” This truth is played out among Vankenna’s family and others of the Banjara nation.

This testimony of Vankenna reminds me of the powerful purpose of God to draw a people to himself from every tongue tribe and nation. I stand overwhelmed, in awe, undone by His tenacious grace and empowerment to invite me to play a part in his awesome plan. Truly getting to serve in the Kingdom is the rarest of gifts.


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