Nigeria: A Sending Nation
“Bible translation is white man’s work,” Jacob’s church elders said, laughing. “You need dictionaries, commentaries and a Toshiba laptop to translate.” Tim Olonade, executive secretary of Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA), remembered the frustrations of the young Nigerian man who felt called to become a Bible translator. Eight years later, despite discouragement, Jacob and his wife, working with missionaries, began reducing their language into writing. They published literacy materials, translated Sunday school materials, The Jesus film, and yes, portions of the Bible.
For hundreds of years, Africa, from the outside and within, has been considered a “mission field.” But God has turned this mission field into a mission force. The Nigerian church has come of age and caught the God-given vision to become senders, sowers and disciplers. Armed with spiritual maturity, college degrees and an intense passion for missions, more than 3,800 missionaries from 95 Nigerian agencies are reaching out to their own countrymen, to other African countries and to the “uttermost parts” of the world. They have become full partners in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Speaking at the Orlando headquarters of Wycliffe USA, Tim Olonade reminded those listening, “The time has come for the West to encourage the rest to do their best.”
Pray that God will raise up more Jacobs with hearts for translation.