Eddie Arthur, Director of Wycliffe UK relates this account of the importance of Mother Tongue Literacy.
Here’s a transcript of the story:
“I’d like to tell you a story that comes from the Central African Republic. This story is about a guy called Urbain. A number of years ago, in his church he trained to be a literacy teacher, that is teaching adults how to read and write. (The churches play an important role in literacy in that part of the world.) But the thing is, although he trained to do this, Urbain never really got involved in it; he started off all keen, but in the end he didn’t actually teach any classes.
So it came as a surprise, a year or so ago, when a team of people came to record the book of Acts and the book of Matthew in Urbain’s language, Gbeya, that he was one of the first to get involved. He turned up at every recording session and was so enthusiastic. People asked him why all of a sudden he had become so keen to be involved in the recordings. Why the change? His reply was interesting. He said that he had always gone to church and read the Bible in the national language, Sango, but in preparing to do the recordings he read the gospels and Acts in his own language, Gbeya. He said “I met Jesus for the first time! I had heard about him, but when I read the gospels in my own language, I really encountered Jesus!”
Since then, as you would expect, Urbain has gone on to get involved in teaching literacy classes. He wants more people to be able to read and write so that they can have the same sort of life changing encounter with Jesus that he’s had. And he’s in a great hurry to see more recordings done, so that people who can’t read and write can hear about Jesus and can learn about him. That’s what happens when people encounter Jesus through the Scriptures in their own language!”
Via Eddie & Sue Arthur of Wycliffe UK.