Meet Lincoln Christian University alum Nathan Davenport, LCC ’00, LCS ’06 .
If God came to you today and told you He would give you anything you asked, what would you ask for? Would you ask for something for yourself or for others?
This was the question on my heart this past week as I joined Jan Barczuk on a recruitment trip to Poland as Pioneer Bible Translators officially launched the ministry of PBT Poland. The focus of our trip was to invite the Polish church into the ministry of Bible translation and church planting among marginalized people groups of the world.
Each time I taught about the ministry of Bible translation, my mind took me back to a 12-year-old girl I met four years ago in Southeast Asia. I visited her village just days after her mother died. Her aunt said our visit was the first time she had smiled since the funeral. The memory of her story still haunts me because I wasn’t able to share with her the hope of Jesus or any of the comfort we find in Scripture. This was partly because I didn’t know her language. It was also because the Bible does not exist in her language.
I also thought about the pastor in a small church in West Africa whose people have only portions of the Bible in their own language. The Bible translator working on this project became sick and had to return to the U.S. several years ago. This pastor came to our leadership team and pled, “Please! Tell the church in America not to forget about us!” At this moment we have no one to send them.
Then there is the Deaf community in Poland: 40,000 individuals, with only 30-50 known believers. This community needs the Word of God in their own language. Right now they have only the first two chapters of Luke. As I met with the leaders of the Polish sign language translation project, I wondered, “What would my life look like if I only had access to the first two chapters of Luke?”
The languages represented in these stories are only three of 2,100 that are still Bibleless. The people who speak them are still waiting for the sons and daughters of God to come live among them, learn their language, eat their foods, and teach them everything Jesus commanded us.
Thus the ministry my wife Lindsay (Otte), LCC ’04, and I have been charged with is to tell the story of those who have yet to hear the words of Jesus, help people understand the plight of those who are Bibleless, and invite Christ’s church to sacrificially go, give and pray for those who have yet to encounter the Christ.
The exciting news is that more Bible translation is taking place in this century than in all the other centuries combined. If Jesus tarries AND if this generation responds, every people group on Earth will have access to the Words of Jesus in the language they understand best by 2050.”
As I write these words, I continue to wonder whom God will send. Are there any churches here in America who will send their sons and daughters to the ends of the Earth for the sake of those who are waiting?
Nathan’s ministry of recruiting missionaries for Bibleless and churchless language communities has taken him to over 30 Christian seminaries and universities in the U.S., Ukraine, Poland, Brazil, and Southeast Asia. To learn more about how you and your church can alleviate spiritual poverty go to PioneerBible.org.