(An explanatory note on how I came to join TAP and why)
(Wide grin) Asa man ka gikan?…
Lageh, Dugay-dugay na jud ta wala nagkita bah. Kumusta na man ka?…
Ako? Ahw gatraining baya ko karon nga mag translator….
Hahaha.. Unsa’y daku’g sweldo? Dili oi! Bible Translator man…
Oo, nagmissionary ko.
Hey, don’t drop dead, okay?! I know, you’re surprised. But that’s alright. I don’t blame you. If anybody told me three years ago that one day soon I’d sign up to be a missionary, I’d have laughed out loud. And cringed inside. The fact that I actually did sign-up was a bigger shock to me then than it is now to you. Let me tell you the story.
I do not want to be a missionary, I thought to myself while I was in my teen years. I was young in the faith and was just starting to get involved in a local church back home. From my point of view, the cost of mission work seemed too high – far from home, no permanent settlement,
deadly risky circumstances, no steady pay check, and nearly impossible God-sized tasks. It’s a very noble calling. But no, not for me!
On the summer after my college graduation, there was a night of passionate praise and worship at the youth camp. I didn’t want to be too emotional. But I wanted to hear from the Lord. There came a gentle but distinct whisper in my heart, “You will be a missionary.” Of all things to “hear”! I didn’t know what to make of it. I was unsure whether that came from God or from my own imagination. Uncertain, I prayed, “God, if it is You speaking and if You really want me to be a missionary, then You have to be the One to open the door. You know exactly how I feel about getting involved in missions. I sure am not about to go looking for mission opportunities, myself.” I went home from that camp, found suitable work, and completely forgot about that encounter.
Nearly two years into my job as an accounting staff, I started to drift. I used to be completely happy where I was. I lived with my parents and siblings, I had a job, had a wonderful cell group, was occupied with multiple ministries at church. I loved home! But there was this growing sense of restlessness and discontent inside me. He was calling me elsewhere. But I didn’t know where. Or what.
I came across TAP’s Vision 2025 when our pastor and his wife invited me to a gathering hosted by Translators Association of the Philippines. The Vision:
with partners worldwide, we envision Bible Translation in progress for every language that needs it by the year 2025.
I immediately caught the vision, or rather the vision caught me and there was no shaking it off. I knew it was God prodding me and I just couldn’t say no. I resigned from my job and prepared to leave home. On April 2012, I submitted my application and was admitted as member-in-training. A few days before my home church prayed for me to commission me, I remembered the prayer I prayed one night at the camp. He actually did open the door for me.
The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. – Frederick Buechner
That is exactly how I feel.
Now I am training with TAP to become a Bible Translator so I could help bring God’s Word to peoples in their heart language, which is the language they connect with and understand most. Part of that training is a post-graduate course in linguistics, which will equip me to be a competent translator. Of course, the schooling is just a part of my preparations. There are many things I need to learn besides grammar rules, phonemes and tree diagrams (oops, did that give you nosebleed? It did me, too. Haha!).
That is what this blog will mostly be about. I want to share with you the new things that I’m learning here. There will be other stuff too, like news and feature stories (related to the ministry), praises and prayers, etcetera that I hope would also inspire you. And yeah, I will tell you more about TAP and Vision2025 and how it helps fulfill the Great Commission.
I would also love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave your comments. Actually, that will do me a lot of cheering up. But really, I would like to know what’s now up with you, too.
Esturya ta utro puhon ha,
Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. (Matt. 9:17)
Nor does He fulfill a new vision in an old me – old habits, old paradigms, old lifestyle. For my old self will not be able to accomodate this fresh calling. It will remain unfulfilled, and I will end up shattered and ruined because of that failure. But God puts this new vision into a renewed me – changed heart, changed outlook, changed lifestyle. Then the calling is fulfilled, and I live to experience it.
This is Matthew 9:17. I am the wineskin, Vision 2025 is the new wine. It is the big dream God called me to take part in.
I have to become Ryza the translator, Ryza the young missionary who lives to bring God’s Word and live to those who need it. In order to be her, I have to stop being Ryza the working girl, Ryza the daughter who lives at home and has fun with friends, Ryza the backdrop artist at church, Ryza the ate who pokes fun at her adings, Ryza the center-of-sorts of her own little world. These are my pasts. I am grateful for how they prepared and molded me, but I can not continue to live in them.
I am Ryza. I am a missionary. But this is not about me – anymore. The need awaits.
Of the 6877 languages used in the world today…
… only 518 languages already have a complete translation of the Bible.
…1272 have the New Testament,
…1005 have only portions of the Bible (one or more books).
… there may still be as many as 1976 language groups in Asia, America, Africa, and the whole world that need the Bible in their own heart language. That adds up to roughly 209 million people.
People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matt. 4:4)
But what if they have not yet heard the Word of God? How long will they wait to find life in Him?
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Rev. 7:9)
But how will all peoples and languages, tribes and nations be represented if we do not go to them and represent Christ?
So I leave my past behind and strain forward to what is ahead. I give my energy, time and passion to run the race set before me, and finish excellently.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead (Phil. 3:13)
How about you?
Pray. Advocate. Send. Go. How is God calling you to be involved?