In 2010 I asked a very godly Meitei, Mr. Mani Singh, how he came to know the Lord. He replied, “It was three decades ago. One evening an old lady who was selling vegetables gave me a gospel tract. Reading that tract caused me to read the Bible. That was how I came to know the Lord.” (Mr. Mani Singh still lives in Churachandpur town, Manipur. He is an electrician. He has a wonderful Christian family.) This is just one of many other similar stories.
It took over thirty years to complete the new translation of the Manipuri Bible which was released in February 2011! I had the privilege of working with the team for the last ten years of the total project. During those ten years older folks would often ask me, “Suresh, when are you going to finish the Bible? Will I see it before I die?” Pastor Mani Singh and Mr. Tomba Singh started the project while they were single, and when it was released on the 25thof February 2011 these two dedicated men who gave their all for the Word of God were satisfied grand fathers! It took over three decades, but it was a very worthy project that will change many lives forever.
If those who read and study the Word of God in their language struggle to walk with the Lord, how can we expect a godly life from those who have never seen the Word of God in their language? Think of these situations: churches without the Bible, pastors without the Bible, families without the Bible, Evangelists and Missionaries without the Bible, counselling without the Bible, trying to solve relationship problems without the Bible, etc. Our churches and pastors are struggling because there was a famine of the hearing of the Word of the Lord for a long time. Ministers couldn’t preach textual sermons without the Bible and believers didn’t have the privilege of reading the Word of God in their homes. Therefore, our churches became so weak, leaders struggle to lead, and ministers struggle to preach year after year without the Scriptures.
However, the Lord blessed the translation team, and as a result we saw the Word of God in Manipuri on the 25th of February 2011. What we can do now is to help our fellow brethren to possess a Bible. A copy of the Bible in every Christian home is our target because we know that the Word of God transforms lives as Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it (NASB).
As in many third world and developing countries, the poor and the needy Meiteis accept our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The main income of our brethren is farming, and a farmer’s wage for one day is about Rs. 150 (about £2)! Men work 8 hours to earn £2 and women earn about £1.50 only. Most of them live below poverty line. They live for a day, and there is no saving for the next day because they are just unable to save anything. Giving a Bible to every Christian home that can’t afford to buy one will be great encouragement for these brethren. Would you prayerfully consider giving a Bible to a family today? What you do today will have eternal fruits.
Whether the Gospel is communicated verbally or in print, it remains the Word of God. There are some seekers who want to know the God of the Bible but who do not want to converse with evangelists or missionaries because of fear of social discrimination. The Bible can penetrate where evangelists or missionaries cannot penetrate. Usually, the elite classes--the officers, ministers, doctors, civil servants, etc.--do not want to give time to missionaries or evangelists. However, they happily accept a Bible by necessity (good etiquette) if given in private, and some read out of curiosity.
The Bible can communicate the truth of the Gospel where verbal communication stops. It is another means of sharing the love of God to people on a large scale. Once distributed, Bibles can witness to literate people irrespective of time, culture, people, class, religion, gender, etc.
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