2014 - Jesus Speaks My Language!
The 2014 Thalassa Prize winner is Chris J. Pluger MLC '97. Since 2011, he has served as the translation advisor/exegete for the Nsenga Bible Translation Project in Zambia. Thanks to the anonymous donor who funded this year’s $1000 prize, Chris will receive $500, and he will give another $500 to the mission of his choice.
Jesus Speaks My Language!
Do you remember the very first time you read the Bible in your mother tongue? This young lady does. She is holding a copy of the Gospel of Mark, the first book of the Bible published in the modern Nsenga language.
Many Nsenga people have heard about Jesus before. Many of them attend Christian churches every Sunday. But until now, they have had to listen to the Bible being read in a foreign language, from a Bible written in another country for people of a different tribe. It would be like someone telling you secondhand what someone else has said: “God told me to tell you that he loves you and takes care of you.” Not necessarily very comforting.
But now imagine Jesus himself coming to you in the words of a Bible in your own language and saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). What a comfort for sin-burdened souls! What a joy to hear your Savior speaking directly to you!
The Nsenga Bible Translation Project is working to bring God’s Word to the heart language of the Nsenga people of south-central Africa. Pray for the Lord’s blessing on this work. Praise God that his Word is being translated into many new languages. Give thanks that this young lady can hear her Savior calling to her in her own mother tongue. And don’t forget to read your own Bible, too!