I just got back from Nicaragua and want to share some Bible insights I gathered from the people there. I noticed that on average the brothers and sisters there treat their physical Bibles different from me. I want to be clear that this article is not meant to try to condemn anyone especially the church in America. These are just there categories of care that deeply affected me and have helped shape new convictions.
Perhaps I’m becoming more and more phone-based like all of America. I thank God all of the time for You Version and technology in general and we should. It is not only a luxury to be able to connect so quickly and easily with the entire world and with each other but it is also a great tool. No, it is an arsenal. We have insane power and resources available to us.
Back to the story, the Willing To Go team spent the bulk of our time in the 3 locations: on an island called Zapatera, at a discipleship camp for men called Campo Gonia and at a wonderful church called El Puente. In each of these cases a Bible story developed and I would like to share them with you. I hope you find both encouragement and challenge in this. As we said on the trip, “This is challenge by choose.”
1. Great Hearing
One of the team members purchased Proclaimers to leave with the communities on the island. We left one there with a Person of Peace who wanted to begin a Christian Church gathering in His home. This tool is incredible. It is a solar powered audio Bible (in Spanish).
This man who hosted us and escorted us to the rest of the communities in the island smiled all the time. This makes it hard to evaluate how to respond to a lot of things. But this man showed a level of seriousness that accompanied a weight of glory to have the privilege of housing such a priceless jewel in His home as the Word of God.
The morning we left the teammate presented the Proclaimer and the brother did not stop thanking us even after we made it to the mainland and he headed back for the boat. I know that the Word of God will be lifted up there and heard by many. God’s promise that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God means that others will come to faith right there in that home where we stayed.
2. Great Care & Distress
Campo Gonia is a ministry for men ready to make a change in their lives. Many have experienced jail time, broken families, addictions and other such broken backgrounds. These guys get one shot at a 9 month program. They don’t have to be Christians but they must be open to the message.
Everything that goes on at that farm/ranch is centered around discipleship. Working with animals or manual labor are not merely therapeutic. They are now seen and taught and understood to be Worship unto God. Many of these guys haven’t really read the Bible or been around those who do very much.
Each one of these guys had Bibles that displayed their character. They take ownership by learning to truly make it theirs. The way they hide it in their heart is different and unique. Most used high lighters to mark the pages all up so that they can easily find the things that helped them in the past. Some just used a pen.
The common thread was that much like the tools they used, the Bible’s had wear on them and not just wear from writings and markings but all around deterioration from carrying it everywhere and to every activity. We use what we treasure. The picture in this post is one of the men’s Bibles.
3. Great Ownership
The last group I spent the most time with was a small group at the local church where we did the XPlore study together. My interpreter/friend had a Bible that had a split column of Spanish and English. I noticed that it looked brand new. I never asked why. After the first night I understood why it looked so immaculate and why it might last his whole lifetime.
He told me how much he made in a year when we began talking about the potential of sending missionaries. It wasn’t much. The amount was not as important to him though but what he did with that amount. He was really processing what it will look like to give to missionaries right there in El Puente. Then I remembered how nice and thick this Bible was with the hardback cover and it hit me that he really puts his money where his mouth is.
Finally, at the end of the time I saw His treasure went into a chest. He keeps the box casing that the Bible came in and he puts it in His pack back. No wonder it’s like brand new still. Wow! That’s all. Just wow.
I don’t like to write in my Bible but I was blessed by seeing the marked up Bibles at Camp Gonia. I know lots of people who love marking their Bibles up and they seem to grow closer to His Word with every mark. I was reminded of the power of the reading of the Word at Zapatera. Oral presentations are vital. We are blessed to be able to both listen and read along with our Bibles on our phones. Let us not forget to speak the Word of God and also to thank Him for the gift of literacy. I was struck at the heart and care for Bibles at El Puente and I hope that all three of these images leave scar tissue in my heart and mind that makes me cringe when I do not treasure his Words like I should. I want my life, my heart, mind, all of me to be like a back pack encasing the Word of God securely in a manner that is easily accessible and shared with all peoples.
Let us join in efforts of Bible translation for groups who still do not have the word of God in their Mother Tongue. We are so spoiled to the Word of God. It is like mana to us, we have enough for everyday and yet we even neglect it. We have to feast on it and make sure we are spreading it to the end of the earth.