A purpose-filled life

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Nel Claassen is a consultant working with the TWFTW.

She was introduced to the concept of Bible translation while studying theology. She did a specialized course in Bible translation after completing her theological studies.

TWFTW is a Bible translation organization that works only in languages in which the Bible has not been translated. The organization empowers indigenous speakers to translate God's Word into their own language. "Who is able to speak a language better than a person born into it?"

According to Nel, this method is more effective, time-wise as well as money-wise. "A lot of money is saved because it is not necessary to accommodate a foreign missionary family at great cost. Expatriates also have to spend many years learning to speak the language. It takes a trained team of indigenous speakers 3 years to translate the New Testament, and 8 years for the Old Testament."

Nel also spent considerable time in Israel studying Biblical Hebrew. She consults teams translating the Old Testament.

Her many travels to different places have not always been as idyllic. She lost her only child, a son of 20, while she was working in the Comoros. "So many of us on the mission field have suffered severe personal losses. Therefore, I maintain, if the Lord does not call you to be a missionary - do not go!”

Nel recently returned from four weeks of consultation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She says that to her, the greatest privilege is working with God's Word, the greatest gift is the Pentateuch, and working on Genesis is always a revelation.

Even though successful, it was a stressful time, as both her mom and niece were ill during this time. Communication was problematic, which made Nel feel as if she was constantly stumbling through the dark.

While in Ethiopia, she worked with three new teams: Borna, Yemsa and Basketo. She was blessed with two assistants to help her. The Yemsa team completed consultation on Genesis. The Basketo completed Ruth, Obadiah, Esther and Jonah.

Nel is thankful for all the support she receives - through prayer or financially!

In 1 Samuel 30:24 and 25 King David laid down the principle that all share in the spoils of battle. We are in this together! Grace and peace to all.

Nel Claassen, TWFTW Consultant

 

Connect with The Word For The World

“My heart is jumping a lot. It’s a miracle.”

These were the words of Tamene, a translator from the Maale region of Ethiopia, after I asked him what it meant for him to have a Bible in his mother tongue. For his entire life, he has had to read the Bible in a language not his own. He and his people had to read God’s Word in Amharic, which some of them don’t even understand.

Until he came into contact with The Word for the World. A few years after high school, he attended a translation training event in Addis Ababa hosted by TWFTW. It took another five years of study in order to begin translation of the Bible into his mother tongue.

“In the beginning, I was frustrated,” he said. “How can I translate this holy book? The holy Bible! How can I translate it into my language when I have so much fear in my heart?”

But he pushed through with the encouragement of his community and the members of TWFTW. Finally, after 14 years, he along with his team finished translating the entire Bible into Maale. It took a further 3 years for it to be published in 2016. Today, he can read the Bible to his children in their language and they can fully understand God’s Word.

After the dedication of the Maale Bible in 2016, Tamene started further training so that he can help other language groups to gain access to the Bible in their mother tongue. I asked him why. After all, his work for his people was done. Addis Ababa is a long way from his home and he missed his family. Why continue his studies when he could just go home?

He said to me, “I see the need of other people. My own people have the Word of God in their mother tongue and I am very happy. But there are other people who also need the Word of God in their heart language. My heart is driving me to help them.”

Conner Krüger