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As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, God has gifted each of us by His Holy Spirit, and has shaped us for ministry to others in unique ways. We all have different passions, experiences, and abilities that God can use to bless others. Over the next few weeks, I am going to be running guest articles from NewLife members who are involved in ministries and fellowship opportunities outside of our church. If you would like to share about how God is using you in ministry outside the walls of our church, please let me know. Today’s post is about JAARS, and is written by Andy Hood.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
On Sunday April 5th, during our streaming NewLife worship service, Pastor Eric led us in reading together Psalm 23. This is one of my “go to” Psalms during times of uncertainty and difficulties. For me, however, there is an added dimension to reading this Psalm. It serves as a stark reminder of the fact that many millions of people (including many believers) do not have this Psalm (or any Scripture for that matter) in their “heart” language (heart language is simply the language first spoken to you as a child). Imagine life without Psalm 23!
Today there are still approximately 1800 languages in the world without any scripture at all. This reality has led Holly and me to advocate for Bible translation. One way I advocate for Bible translation is in the form of board service with a mission organization called JAARS (http://jaars.org). JAARS was founded in 1948 to support Bible translation “in the most remote and difficult places on earth.” Today, this support takes many forms, including aviation, logistics, IT services, Jesus Film dubbing, as well as various training and service activities. JAARS works closely with Bible translation organizations such as Wycliffe – USA, The Seed Company, SIL International, and Wycliffe Global Alliance Organizations. I have had the privilege of serving on the JAARS board since 2012 and as Chairman since 2016.
Now back to Psalm 23. Please pray for the many missionaries (including our own NewLife missionaries with The Seed Company - Steve & Laura Payne) and the mission organizations who are serving in Bible translation during this pandemic. Pray for protection, wisdom, and resources as we seek to accomplish the task of getting God’s word to those who desperately need it.
Also, please specifically pray for the JAARS board meeting on April 17-18. This will be our first “virtual” meeting of its kind and we need God’s clear direction for our path forward in these challenging times.
(One footnote – the modern Bible translation movement began in 1917, coinciding with World War I and the Spanish Flu. Clearly God was moving then and He is moving now. Reference Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28 from the Sunday, April 5th sermon).
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