It was 19 years ago when Andy was invited by his girlfriend to visit a local deaf church in Hanoi, Vietnam. He continued to attend the church regularly for a year but did not commit his life to Jesus. One night, Andy saw God in a dream. He recalls,
God showed me Heaven and Hell, and said to me ‘I have chosen you to be a teacher.’ I replied with fear, ‘I don’t even know the Bible and I don’t know how to teach.’ Then, God showed me a flood with many people drowning in the water waiting to be rescued. God pointed at the flood and told me: ‘These people need you.’
Andy woke up drenched in sweat. He knew God had called him. He went to church, gave his life to Jesus and became a Christian. Over the course of time, slowly, and step by step, God brought Andy to the work of translating the Bible stories into the sign language of his deaf community. Andy is now well-versed in both the translation work and the technical work of recording the deaf Bible translation in video. He is now the team leader of the Hanoi Sign Language Bible translation project in Vietnam Bible Society.
The Suru heartland is found in the north of the island of Borneo and comprises of about 55,000 people. In the early 1950s, 80% of the Surus who were former animists became Christians on their own initiative. Despite being poor, poorly educated, seriously discriminated against and disadvantaged as believers, the Suru have maintained their faith.
“A group of 40 to 60-year-old women asked me to teach them to read. They had heard that God’s Word was going to be translated into their language and they wanted to be able to read it. Waiting to hear a short snippet read from the pulpit on a Sunday was an unbearable hardship – they were hungry for more. Thus, six to eight of them who had either previously given up learning to read or never had the chance to attend school, began coming together for one afternoon a week for nine whole months. They sweated over their letters and the long Suru words, which even gave them nightmares; they bore with being ridiculed for going to school at their age; they worked doubly hard on their household chores to make time for classes. With much perseverance, they finally succeeded. They bought their own copies of the partial translation as well as a hymn book, and proudly carried them into church one Sunday. Their husbands were astonished; their children who had mocked them now had their interest piqued; their grandchildren were curious too. They bought up the remaining stock of the partial translation and started reading it. This rural congregation became a congregation that read the Word. They became the pillar in their church district, the ones who could be relied on when funding or workers were needed. Reading this Book changed this community’s lives.” – John*, an SIL translator.