Sometimes, those who believe in Jesus hold on to him with one hand while clinging to their traditional beliefs with the other. But God’s Word is changing that.
His love, spoken through heart language Scripture, is shining a bright light all over Southeast Asia. People are beginning to question the purpose of their rituals and the source of their fears.
In this environment, the Robeno Cluster Bible translation project was born. Dani, a pastor, felt a holy nudge to expand his church’s vision to a fuller undertaking of the Great Commission. He began hosting storytelling workshops and realized that his Buddhist neighbor, Lyun, was a native Kahak speaker. He invited her to join the team. The Bible stories fascinated her, and while working on the project, God captured her heart and she came to faith.
An Angry Man Sees the Light
As Robeno storytellers told these Bible stories to their families and friends, people wanted more of God’s Word. Soon the Robeno Cluster took its next steps—translating the Gospel of Luke and using it as a script for the “JESUS” film.
When three days of voice auditions failed to produce a suitable voice for Jesus, Lyun suggested her husband, Andra, try out. Andra was not only antagonistic toward Christianity, but he was equally angry about his wife spending so much time on the project. Nonetheless, the “JESUS” film crew paid him a visit, and since it’s considered culturally unacceptable to refuse a request for help, he obliged them.
Andra auditioned by reading the part of Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple—a fitting script for one who was already angry! His deep voice made him the obvious choice, but God’s plan for his role was far greater than a job offer.
Andra had been meditating on the life of Zacchaeus for the first two days of recording, and for the first time, he understood the peace and love he had been missing. Through tears, he asked his wife for forgiveness and shared openly with his children. That Sunday, he gave his testimony in church.
Now Andra works alongside Lyun on the Kahak team. After translating the parable of the lost sheep recorded in Luke 15, he remarked:
“From this parable, I realize that God prioritizes the lost. We, too, need to be prioritizing the people who don’t know Jesus.”
The Work Progresses
God is using the Robeno Cluster to bring other churches and local mission organizations together. Church elders once hesitant to contribute financially now see the efficacy and power behind supporting the work. Their churches grew in spiritual maturity because the people started putting into practice what they were learning in their church community.
Naturally, generosity grew alongside their deepening faith. What started locally has spread to neighboring people groups. Two additional clusters, Arui (5 languages) and Simar (7 languages), have benefitted from 12 new translation advisors who were trained in the Robeno Cluster. These two additional clusters have gone on to complete the Gospel of Luke and the “JESUS” film.
As the seed is sown, multiplication is at hand.
To protect the identity of these individuals and language groups, pseudonyms have been used.