Two years ago, we invited *Samir to participate in a workshop as an Uninitiated Native Speaker, helping check Scripture drafts in the Bhattiyali language. ‘Is it clear? Is it natural? Do you understand it?’ Samir previously didn’t know the Lord, but as the words of God filtered into him, they began to change him.
Samir’s mother tongue is Bhattiyali, of a language group of about 80,000 native speakers, primarily located in the mountainous area of North West Himachal Pradesh. Before Operation Agape pioneered work among them, there were no known Christian workers or agencies with them. A truly unreached-unengaged people group.
Operation Agape’s research teams discovered their language had “No Bible Portions” at all, and decided to help. OA teams adopted their language group and started working. Evangelism and Church Planting efforts are now growing strong, and the community has been blessed with more than 100 believers and two churches in their locality. Eventually, two mother tongue translators were identified, and Bible Translation started in 2015. Haroon* and Rahman* eagerly started drafting the New Testament as they received training to do it with high quality.
As Haroon and Rahman’s work progressed, they reached the third level of checking, and needed an uninitiated native speaker. Enter: Samir. He had a good background in reading and writing, understood his own language natively, and was well-educated. A perfect candidate for helping with the third level of checking.
But as he listened to the Word, thoughtfully answered comprehension questions, and helped identify phrases that were unclear, something happened in his soul. He slowly began to absorb the Truth. It changed his life, and the Holy Spirit blossomed his faith! Samir decided to undergo further training in Bible, and eventually trained to become a translator himself! He continues his task as a lover of Jesus.
After the completion of fourth level checking, with the grace of God, the teams successfully dedicated the Bhattiyali New testament on October 5, 2017. A fifth and final level of Consultant checking awaits. The Bhattiyali believers are eagerly waiting to have God’s Word in their heart language, so that they can reach out to others who still wait to be blessed with the love of Christ. We praise the Lord that this task of Bible Translation impacted a precious life like Samir. How many more will be drawn to Jesus Christ when the task is completed! Amen!!!
*Names changed for security purposes