I Know What Poverty Is

Pictures taken by all Wycliffe Discovery Teams (2006-2008)

Bible poverty is a devastating problem hitting people around the world. It is more than 340 million people. That’s nearly one-third of the world’s language groups that do not have one verse of the Scripture in the language that they understand the best in their heart. In a previous post of mine here, I discussed a movement working to end Bible poverty, with organizations and actions that can make a big difference in people’s lives – spiritually, physically, economically and culturally. How having the Word of God can chane every aspect of our life, community and the whole world.

I know what poverty is. I know the feeling being hungry and have nothing to eat. I know how desperate people feel when they need something but they cannot afford to get it. I know, because I’ve been there, my family has been there and I used to live in a country where I can see poverty every where I went, every single day. I’ve seen these people only sleep under the Flyovers, Bridges, sleeping on a piece of cardboard at the sidewalk, or if they can they build a shelter out of cardboard. They are hungry, cold and try hard to find something to eat. I’ve seen kids digging in a trash can just for a food. I’ve seen a mother would take her baby and sing on a bus just to get some cash to buy her baby food. How could I ever forget those faces?

It’s not a fair life for them. It’s injustice. It’s not what God wants to see. It’s not what we wanna see.

If you ask them what would make their life better, they would say a good job, more money, able to go to school and food. That would help them feel better – think that having all of what they desire would give them a better life. Even though they would get every single thing they want, they are still going to lose their souls, Jesus said in Mark 8:36-38. They need God’s word, they need to know that they have eternal life with Christ. They need to know that above all, they need Jesus Christ, who can change their life, spiritually and physically.

More than 340 million people don’t have the Scriptures in their languages. There are about more than 450 language in Indonesia. And yes, I know how it feels to not know the Word of God in my heart language. I speak Manadonese, Indonesian, and English. We have Bible in Indonesian, but not all people in Indonesia totally understand formal Indonesian. Many people can go to school and not many people working at a place where they can use formal Indonesian. Before 2007, I didn’t know that one of the books in the Bible existed in Manadonese, until a friend of mine brought it back from the Translation Center. It was a book in my very own heart language. I spent the whole night to read the whole book of Acts, I cried, I laughed, I understood.

It just like I can see the fish in the bottom of the lake when the water is clear. I am thankful and so full of joy when I read the part of the Bible in Manadonese. They are still working on the rest of the books. But not many people are blessed like me. They do not know that God can speak in their language, and they do not know that God is longing to see them running back to Him after hearing His word in the language that they understand.

Yes, I know what is poverty and being poor spiritually, physically, economically and culturally. The only thing that can change and end that poverty is the Word of God!

How many Bible versions now in English that you can read? and how many Bible verses for the Vidunda people? or Ehtyin South Asia? or Ayta Abellen in Philippines? or Jamaican Patois in Jamaica? or how many Bible verses that you can find in Tidore in Indonesia?


To find out how you can get involve now, go HERE and HERE to support the Bibleless People Group in prayer. If you are a blogger and would like to share your voice and thoughts about Help End Bible Poverty, you can link up your blog post HERE.

(By Helen Gullett)

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