Monday, 12 December 2016
Photo: Ross Jones with the Benin Bible Translation Team
For the past 48 years I have been translating the Bible with SIM into various West African languages. The Lord called me to this work when I was in Bible School in 1966. I have never lost my sense of call, which has extended from my first language, Boko, to five others.
In recent months I have been spending time every day texting students from Benin Republic. They find my address on Facebook, or from friends and they text me free of charge if they have an internet connection. Some text me because they are impressed by my linguistic work, others because they are thirsty to learn more about Jesus.
Gado, a 23 year-old, sent me many messages which I initially tried to ignore because I didn’t know him. One day he said, “May the all-powerful preserve you for a long time.” I replied, “May Jesus who died for the sins of the world deliver you from all evil.” He told me that his father had died when he was young and he needed a father like me who could give him counsel.
The days went by and I told him I had a lot of work and too many texting friends. He kept saying what a wonderful father I would be and I assumed he was after money. I ignored most of his texts. Then he said, “I need your advice concerning Christianity”. Now he had my attention! I told him to ask questions and I would reply. His first question was: “How can I believe in Christ?” Since then, Gado has made a commitment and started reading the Bible on his phone.
He has connected with my cook, Sanusi. It turned out they were old school friends! Sanusi was able to share with Gado about what it meant to follow Jesus. For instance, Gado asked Sanusi if he had a girlfriend. Sanusi replied that there was indeed a girl who liked him, but she was of the majority group faith and her parents would not agree to a friendship unless he converted. “Well, why don’t you convert to her family's religion?” asked Gado. Sanusi replied that his love for Jesus was greater and he could never renounce his faith in Him.
Later this year, when I finish my translation project, I am planning on renting a large house near the university in Benin’s north where I can give up to twenty students free accommodation, teach them English and the Bible, as well as be a mentor figure. There are many needy students out there and they have a lot of respect for a septuagenarian – that is, someone in their seventies!
-Ross Jones, SIM Australia missionary serving in Benin Republic
SIM Australia greatly value our older missionaries who bring a wealth of experience and wisdom to the field.
Why not speak with a SIM representative today about what opportunities might be a good fit for you? Contact us by filling out the enquiry here.
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