To the missionary I never give enough gratitude to, my translator.
Doing mission work in a foreign and 3rd world country can be grueling and complicated. Nature is no longer confined to parks and reserves and will chose to cross the road as soon as it is inconvenient for you. Comfort becomes a matter of opinion not a state of being. The word “road” becomes a loosely used term that could easily translate to “foot path.” “Just over there,” ends up being 10 Kilometers away and 2pm meetings often start at 4:17pm. As a Sector Missionary it is my calling to share the love and freedom of Christ with the people of Zambia. While many things can complicate my day there is one aspect of ministry that can stop it dead in its tracks, language.
Let me make it very clear, I do not speak Tonga. My Lozi is lousy (you saw that coming, I know) and the only word I know in Bemba is “ee”, which means “yes.” Without someone translating every word I say, my stories become useless and my well planned message is just noise. Missions work is team work. Translators are an irreplaceable part of the team. The amazing humans who translate for us do not just repeat what we say but believe it as well. I have seen the sick become well. I have watched the broken become whole. I have heard story after story of freedom in Christ and understood those stories because of the man or woman sitting beside me translating.
The woman in this picture is Nzala. I met her my first expedition to Zambia in 2014. She had become a Christian only a short time before I arrived. Her father was the local Chairman which allowed her to attend school to completion and speak excellent English. I worked with her for two weeks spreading the message of Christ and bringing hope to her neighboring villages. The child who accepted Christ did so through her translating. The man that was freed from his illness listened intently to her as she relayed the message I spoke of healing through Jesus. The old woman who shed tears of joy when I gave her an encouraging word from the Lord thanked me in Tonga which, Nzala translated. Learning who she was and her personal story is one of the many reasons I answered the call to be a missionary. If she can stand tall in what God called her to do so can I.
With over 100 missionaries within our organization I am inclined to believe that there are also over 100 translators that work every day bringing the good news of Christ. We are a team, one of us cannot function as it is suppose to without the other and none of this is possible without the Cross. So to the amazing translators in Zambia, Angola, Cambodia, Mozambique, Zanzibar, and Brazil, Thank you.