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No Ordinary Book revised 2015 edition

No Ordinary Book revised 2015 edition

The Book of Life

One day He will hold a book in His hands
And He alone is worthy
To open it up

For He died, and by His death
He bought back for God
People out of every tribe and group,
Language and nation.

One day all books will be opened
And all will be revealed.
The thoughts of all men’s hearts
Will be made known.

And one day He will take up a great book,
The Book of Life,
And He will read the names from it.

And we will weep with joy, for we will hear
The names of Kouya friends,
A great number, many we had not known.
Saved by grace.

Names which our tongues could once not master
The Master will read out perfectly,
For all tongues are known to Him.

And when He holds that book in His hands,
The need to translate will disappear,
No more need for Living by the Book.

For in that great day, when we meet Him in person,
Then shall we know
Even as also we are known.

          Philip Saunders   No Ordinary Book page 302

Bai Laurent holding the prinout of the Kouya New Testament at the final checking session

Bai Laurent holding the printout of the Kouya New Testament at the final checking session

Bible translation stories often include people dreaming of holding a book in their hands, just like Toualy Bai Laurent did for decades as he prayed that God would send someone to help translate the Bible into the Kouya language. You can read Bai Laurent’s story in No Ordinary Book.

In the poem above, Philip has layers of bookholding going on. Kouya people now hold and read the New Testament in their language. There are also hints that speakers of many other languages cannot yet do that, but they will. And then there is the Book of Life that God will one day hold and open – and read in every language.

In a recent blog, I announced the arrival of the new paperback version of the revised and updated edition of No Ordinary Book which is now available from Amazon and soon via Philip’s independent publishing platform website.

No Ordinary Book continues to bring memories for me: perhaps it will inspire some future blogs. But with this new edition becoming available, my prayer is that many new readers will be challenged to get involved in Bible translation. If that happens to you, here is a great place to start.

Again if you want to see a few of the many photos that I took at the dedication of the Kouya New Testament dedication in 2012, you can see them in my Facebook photo album

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No Ordinary Book revised 2015 edition

No Ordinary Book revised 2015 edition

I think it was the first time I read a book about mission and felt like the missionary was a human being… and I liked that. Such a challenge and an eye-opener! I hope many young linguists read this book and get a taste for Bible translation.

Rachel Hanna (PhD student at Queen’s Universitty Belfast) quote on back cover of No Ordinary Book

In May 2013 I blogged Kouya Goes Kindle which flagged up that No Ordinary Book, revised and updated to include the 2012 New Testament dedication, had just become available on Kindle.

Last Friday, Philip gave me a personal copy of the new paperback version of the revised and updated edition which is now available from Amazon and soon via Philip’s independent publishing platform website.

Talking about the book with a colleague and flipping through some of the pages, took me back through over thrity years of friendship with Philip and Heather. I remembered times we have shared together in Côte d’Ivoire.

Although No Ordinary Book continues to bring memories for me, I want to endorse Rachel Hanna’s hope expressed above that many readers both young and older will be challenged to get involved in Bible translation. If that happens to you, here is a great place to start.

If you want to see a few of the many photos that I took at the dedication of the Kouya New Testament dedication in 2012, you can see them in my Facebook photo album

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On Saturday 12 October 2013, the Oku people of NW Cameroon celebrated the New Testament in their heart language.

Over many years, churches and individuals in N. Ireland have supported this project prayerfully and financially. At Wycliffe:Live on Wednesday 16 October, we praised God with the Oku people for His Word now available in their heart language.

Retired Wycliffe colleague Bob Duff is a member of one of those supporting churches. He and Alan, another member of the same church, were at the celebration and they sent us some photos.

The crowds gather for the celebration

The crowds gather for the celebration

Church leaders prepare to dedicate the New Testament

Church leaders prepare to dedicate the New Testament

Dedicatinfg the Oku New Testament

Dedicating the Oku New Testament
The Oku New Testament

The Oku New Testament

Today Bob Duff called into the Wycliffe office in Belfast and gave us a copy of the Oku New Testament. I’m taking it with me this evening to use it in my presentation in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Celebration of Global Mission event in 1st Cookstown Presbyterian Church.

PCI Transforming Mission

Another language group now has God’s Word in the heart language.

Hopefully we will have more to say about this event and more pictures.

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Kindle NOB

On Wednesday 21 March 2012, hundreds of tee shirts proclaimed in the Kouya language that the Word of God is living and powerful. Kouya Christians and their neighbours gathered for the dedication of the Kouya New Testament which had been delayed during a decade of civil unrest and violence in the Ivory Coast.

Philip Saunders presented a copy of the Kouya New Testament to the chief of Dema village. That photo now adorns the front cover of the new edition of No Ordinary Book, the story of the Kouya New Testament.

No Ordinary Book, revised and updated to include the dedication, has just become available on Kindle

It was a privilege to live alongside the Kouya Project for 8 years in Ivory Coast.

It was a privilege to become friends with Kouya Christians including the translators.

It was a privilege to be asked to write the foreword for No Ordinary Book.

It was a privilege to have been at the dedication of the Kouya New Testament in March 2012.

It is a privilege now to recommend that you upload this great story to your Kindle!

If you want to see a few of the many photos that I took at the dedication, you can see them in my Facebook photo album

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Reading Mark’s latest post about how enthusiastic he and Laura are to have finally arrived together in Tanzania to support Bible translation, has got me thinking some more about our planned trip back to Ivory Coast in March.

Barthe & Eugenie, our Bouhitafla neighbours, reading the Kouya New Testament

We have mixed feelings about returning to Ivory Coast.

We know why we are going – to celebrate the New Testament (10 years after it arrived in the country) & the Megavoice players (solar powered MP3 players with Luke and Acts loaded).

But we have some fears, some anxieties, some uncertainties… It is almost 15 years since we left Ivory Coast in July 1997. We really want to go and visit our Kouya friends again. But will we fit in? Will they remember us? Will we recognise them?

Then there’s a big cultural divide: we’ve got used to living  in Belfast. Despite the current economic problems here, we are incredibly wealthy compared to the people we are going to visit. We’ve got comfortable, we have a nice home…

Our Kouya friends have been living through ten years of political unrest and civil war! The civil war lines passed right through their territory. How can we empathise with them? We don’t speak Kouya and our French is pretty rusty…

Is it right to spend all that money on airfares and vaccinations and visas? Surely it could be better used?

But I do think it is right to go! Just by going, by being there, we will encourage our Kouya friends. We will join in their celebration and share it with them. We will be saying that we have not forgotten them;  that our church here has not forgotten them. And they will celebrate that God did not forget them.

Kouya New Testament

Kouya elder Bai Laurent became a Christian in the late 1950s and prayed for decades that God would send someone to translate the Bible in to the Kouya language. Laurent had a confidence in God and God heard his prayers even though Laurent had to wait so long for the answer.

God did not forget the Kouya people. In the 1980s God sent Philip & Heather Saunders and Eddie & Sue Arthur to work with the Kouya Christians. The Kouyas now have their New Testament.  God has given them his Word and pointed the way to reject the fear of spirits and fetishes and ceremonial masks that were all part of their animistic past. God has adopted them as his sons and daughters in Christ!

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