Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another Important Project: Triglot New Testament

There is a lot of important work going on all the time for the gospel. I'm blessed to be a part of another project, a New Testament triglot. Back in September, Mr. Brad Lapsley (Dr. Black's father-in-law) and I started working on an edition of the New Testament that has the Greek, Amharic (Ethiopia), and English translations in parallel columns. I really play a small part in all of this. Mr. Lapsley does all of the tedious and hard work for getting this work put together. All I have done is build a template in Word into which I can import all of the books of the New Testament in Greek. I have to do some editing with each book. But, nothing too serious. After I do this, I email the document over to Mr. Lapsley who carefully puts the columns side by side. I'll show you a picture below.

Mr. Lapsley and his wife spent ten years in Ethiopia as missionaries. Even though returning stateside, they never stopped serving as missionaries. One of their ministries is the website Good Amharic Books, a central location for a plethora of Christian books (over 800) written/translated into the national language of Ethiopia. About twenty years ago, they published a diglot with Amharic and English side-by-side. Now Mr. Lapsley is working hard to create the triglot, adding Greek. This is a really exciting project. So far as I know, nothing like this exists in Ethiopia. Really, who knows how the Lord will use this work! I'll keep you all updated as the work proceeds and especially when it is complete.

Before I finish up the post, let me add a couple of things. First, the world is small. In 2010 I was having lunch with Dr. Robert "Bob" Thomas in Atlanta. We were talking about my studies and I shared with him that I had written an "unofficial" M.Div. thesis for Dr. Black...on discourse analysis. While we ate, he asked me how Dr. Black's father-in-law was doing? Come to find out, they played basketball together years ago! In fact, I noticed tonight that Dr. Thomas is included in Mr. Lapsley's "thank you" page on the Good Amharic Books website. Small world.

But, way more important than that...I'm blown away by Mr. Lapsley's testimony. This brother is not young in years. I definitely don't mean any disrespect when I say this. He's just older than me. But, what is he doing with his time? I'm blown away because Mr. Lapsley is still laboring hard for the sake of the gospel. There is no retirement from the work of the gospel. When God saves you and your priorities are right and focused on eternity, you realize that, while you still have breath and strength, it is because God has something for you to do this side of heaven. And, it matters that your priorities are Kingdom-centered. When they are lined up with things Christ considers eternally significant, we experience a joy from serving that we don't get by doing things that are not eternally signficant. Mr. Lapsley's testimony really ought to be convicting for a lot of us. We spend our afternoons doing little for the sake of the gospel. And, when we do serve, it's like we only think about that circle of influence immediately around us. Mr. Lapsley is covering up his kitchen table with papers. He's working hard to create a book that people he doesn't even know can use to better study and know God's Word some 8,000 miles away. There's no retirement in sight. Full-time Christian missionary work, everywhere we are, all the time, until we go home to be with the Lord...for Mr. Lapsley, for me, and for you.

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