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Well, first of all, for a very few Bible translators, it leads to an invitation to Buckingham Palace!

Mary Steele, the first Irish member of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK, received the MBE for services to linguistics, literacy and Bible translation in Ghana. And I got the chance to go with her for the investiture. Mary was also interviewed on Ulster Television about her many years with Wycliffe.

Mary Steele MBE at Buckingham Palace with some colourful friends

Mary Steele MBE at Buckingham Palace with some colourful friends 10 May 2006

However what sparked my reminiscing about Mary today was finding a story posted by Wycliffe colleague Ed Lauber about one of the two Ghanaian Bibles that Mary was involved in translating – the Bible for the Bimoba people of Northern Ghana.

I have written before about Solomon Sule-Saa, a Ghanaian who has done extensive research on the impact of translating the Bible into the Konkomba and Bimoba languages of northern Ghana. In a summary of his research presented to a conference in September, he said of the Konkomba and Bimoba peoples:

“The Bible now provides the key to understand the world”

During an ethnic conflict which was so serious the Ghana army had to intervene, the Bimoba lost confidence in the neutrality and good will of the Ghana government. They saw no way forward but to continue fight for their rights. In a war council, several leaders quoted from the translated Bible, arguing that that Jesus way is the way of reconciliation. So, abandoning their own wisdom they agreed to engage in peace talks moderated by the government they no longer trusted. It worked. They got what they were seeking through negotiation. Now that is faith – following the teachings of the Bible when your life and your livelihoods are at stake. This story shows that the Bible in these languages is doing more than influencing the decisions of individuals. It is also affecting the decisions made by the chiefs for the whole group. Now that is being transformed.

Wycliffe UK’s tag line used to be Translated Scripture Transforms Lives – it still does.

mary-marlene-small

Mary Steele in conversation with Marlene Ferguson at Wycliffe:Live 2009 when we marked her 50 years with Wycliffe

Doing your sums? Mary will be 54 years with Wycliffe sometime this year and continues to work as a translation consultant in Ghana.

Find out how you could be part of your generation translating Scriptures to transform lives.

Or try a taster at Two Week Stint this summer in France!

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