Christian literature translation ministries are commonly thought to focus on the Bible alone, but these ministries go well beyond the Bible to help get at least a portion of the Gospel message into the hands of those who may not otherwise have access. This post will not focus on Bible translation, though it is important, but because most Christian translation ministries are not solely Bible translation focused.
Spreading the Gospel Message Everywhere
The purpose of a Christian translation ministry is to make the Gospel message available to those in different countries in their native languages. This is in part or in whole, but often comes in the form of translated Gospel tracts that share short passages and the overall Gospel message that leads to salvation. There are hundreds or possibly thousands of different Gospel tracts available and each can be translated into different languages by Christian translation ministries. These small items can then be easily shipped to those in other countries to share or given to missionaries to discretely pass out in countries where Christianity and Christian literature may be forbidden.
Translating Verses and Specific Books
Gospel tracts are not the only type of items that a translation ministry translates. Some will translate specific books of the Bible like Romans or the Psalms or even the New Testament. These smaller sections do not take as long to translate as an entire Bible and are also easier to send to those around the world while containing the heart of the Gospel message. Translation ministries also translate other forms of written and spoken material to share.
Some will work with professional translators to translate written or sung music, videos, or actual sermons. Others may work to translate teaching materials that can be shared with missionaries or new pastors and teachers in their native language. All of these items can help a church or churches around the world share the Gospel message in their native languages.
Taking Translated Materials to People Who Need Them
Translation ministries do not stop there. Translation ministries may not do any actual translation but may be involved in a different step of getting translated materials into the hands of those that need or require them. Some translation ministries may only undertake the putting together of tracts or other materials. Some may choose to be responsible for shipping materials. Still others, may help to raise funds to support further translation of materials. Each of these is highly important in getting translated materials to those who need access. It can be hard for those who live in areas where Christianity is acceptable to understand the need for translated materials, but not all areas allow people to openly proclaim or practice Christianity. This means that getting learning materials or even the basic Gospel message can be a true feat. That is why translation ministries are of such importance.
How To Get Involved in The Translation Ministry
If you are interested in getting involved in a translation ministry but none are available in your area, there are still options. The first option is to begin a translation ministry in your home church. Some people begin this process by connecting with missionaries to see if there is an organization that they already work with that requires additional volunteers while others start from scratch and begin fundraising to connect with translators to start translating their own materials.
Another option is to find an organization that takes part in another step of the translation process such as shipping or assembling materials. These can often be drop shipped to a church or home to be put together and then returned to be disseminated. Remember that any help, any step in sharing the Gospel with others is important.
Christian translation ministry has a very important, yet often unrecognized part in spreading the Gospel message around the world. Just because you can only speak a single language or have a limited range in a second or third language does not mean you have to avoid this area of ministry. If you have a love of language or just want a way to be involved in the ministry in some small way, translation ministry volunteering may be for you. Look into the options, talk to other church members, and find a way to help. The purpose of this ministry is too great to ignore or avoid.
A Story of Christian Translation That Spreads Hope…
To understand this better, we look at the following story that is based on actual events, but altered for anonymity. Sanuluck grew up in an area in which Christianity was forbidden. Those in her community practiced another religion and since they were not free to choose what to practice, everyone just seemed to go along with the culture of the area. Still, Sanuluck knew there was something more to life and beliefs. She knew there was a God, but she had little access to information about the God she had heard about in passing. When Sanuluck was a teenager, she had met an American missionary that shared the Gospel message with her and left her with two short Gospel tracts in her native language.
Sanuluck read those tracts repeatedly over the years and begin to understand the message more and more. She had to keep the tracts hidden from her friends and family, but she came to know and love the God that was shared in the few short pages. Over time, Sanuluck accepted Christ into her heart and eventually had the opportunity to go to school in America.
As she studied in college in America, she also learned more about Christianity and the Gospel, growing closer to God. After four years of college, Sanuluck was preparing to go back to her home, but she wanted to share all she had learned with her family and others. This included all the information about God and His saving message. She gathered resources and prepared for her return. Once she got home, she began slowly sharing the wonderful news of salvation with her family. Many family members got saved and they too began sharing the Gospel message.
Sometimes, this got scary and at times, threats were made against the family, but they continued. Within just a few years there were many Christians in the area and they met in secret in homes to learn more about the Gospel message. Sanuluck reached out to friends in America to get books and translated materials sent to her to share. She was making a small difference that would continue to grow for generations.
This is just one of many stories in which translation, even of something simple like a Gospel tract, can make a huge difference. In the moment that a missionary handed a young girl a Gospel tract, many lives were changed. This may not happen for every Gospel tract that is handed out, but for the one it does make a difference for, it changes their life for eternity. Christian translation ministries may not be something most people consider and even fewer will take part in, but they serve a great importance. If you are willing to look further into translation ministries and how you can help, then go for it. Better yet, start one of your own to help share materials with those around the world. If this is not an option, find a missionary to support that can share the Gospel. You can make a difference for the Kingdom.