Dave & Breanna Millard
Pioneer Bible Translators
Dear Alderwood family,
We got into Bible translation because we love to see the Word of God transform people’s lives. When the *Vidilaka people asked to have God’s Word in their language, they were open and receptive. These people were steeped in tribal religion. As much as they are receptive, there will come a point when the Bible will uncover the power struggle that is spiritually happening in and among them.
We have started to see that struggle with discussing how to translate the word “Holy Spirit”. Holy means set apart for an honorable use. It conveys reverence and honor. Initially, we thought this would be tough to find a way to bring forth all that meaning in a word or phrase. However, as God is the writer of this story, we found there is already this idea of set apart for honorable use. This word threads through their culture. It is the word for honor, obey, it is also for sacrifices or places that are set apart for sacred use. The instruments that witch doctors use are referred to as set apart things. It is also used for the place in the front of the church where the cross stands and the preachers speak from. These ideas have been bubbling and mixing. A few people said that it is exactly what the Bible seems to be referring to the Holy Spirit as, “Lawo koro”. This was exciting news! Such a powerful picture of the Holy Spirit having this place within the culture.
As we brought this idea to the older more powerful people in the language workshop, who initially agreed with us, we ran into issues. This word is also used for the spirit of the river. People are afraid. As we taught about Holy and discussed it, we were told to not use “Lawo koro” for Holy Spirit. There are politics, spiritual strongholds and relational dynamics we are not privy to, but God knows.
Pray with us that God will open people’s hearts to fear the true power of God over these traditional spirits.
Dave, Bre, Gabe, Toby & Asher