Sharing the whole Bible with people living in fear—
Paul Thiessen is a Bible Translator who has spent over 30 years working in Burkina Faso. He speaks about the situation in the country and of the importance of translating the whole Bible for those living in fear.
My name is Paul Thiessen and I’ve been doing Bible translation and linguistic analysis in Burkina Faso. When we went there in 1984, it seemed like quite a safe place and it was quite peaceful. But that has changed in recent years. In the year 2022, there were two military coups, the government was overthrown twice, once at the beginning of the year, once at the end.
Today, people are upset and afraid. There have been 2 million people that have been displaced because of the terrorism. They have left their homes up North and and travelled further South where it’s a little safer. And this has caused a lot of turmoil in the country. The Christians are continuing their work. They’re continuing evangelism. The churches are continuing work with Bible translation and and radio ministries.
So it’s continuing. And yet there are certain situations where they’re blocked. They’re prevented from doing certain things. In the last year, they’ve been told a number of times, don’t have large meetings, don’t have huge groups coming together because that might attract a terrorist attack. And so there are there are limitations and there are difficulties. And yet the church is moving forward with with hope and with faith in God.
Bible translation is important because although the Bible is available and it has been available in many majority languages for a long time, people need to read the Bible in their mother tongue. And that’s what Bible translation is all about today. It’s about getting that Bible translated into the language that the people understand best so that they can hear God’s speaking and know what God is telling them.
The Christians live in fear, especially when in the northern and eastern part of the country. The Bible has a lot to say about fear. Psalm 46, says, “God is our refuge and strength and ever present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear. Though the earth give way.” If we only have the New Testament, we have a weak understanding of our truth and of God.
And we need that Old Testament to compliment our New Testament passages.