Fatherhood is a hard, high, and holy calling. As we honor the fathers and father figures in our lives, we remember that:
- God invites all people to know him as their loving heavenly Father.
- God calls dads everywhere to first live as his sons.
- God wants to equip dads to lead their children well.
We recognize that God invites, calls, and equips through the power of his Word. And we celebrate that—thanks to your partnership with translation teams around the world—more people are coming to know God as their Father, and more fathers are leading like Jesus.
Invited to Know God as Father
Whether your relationship with your human father is wonderful, difficult, or somewhere in between, we all long for a father who will bless, protect, and love us.
Just look at the Ache people of Paraguay. They practiced their own ethnic religion and believed in Apã (“father”), a good spirit who was powerful and wanted what was best for them. When they faced danger in the forest, they called upon that good spirit for help, without knowing what or who it was.
But after a mission organization made initial contact with Ache speakers and started proclaiming the gospel among them, community members said, “Oh! This is Apã! This is the one who has been taking care of us all along!”
So, when the Bible translation team needed to decide on a term to use for God, they agreed on Apã Wachu, which means “Great Father.” Their translation work allows more people in their community to realize that God offers not only forgiveness of sins, but adoption into his family.
“I’m grateful to God for being patient with us so we can know him through our language,” an Ache translator says.
Called First to Be Sons
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13–14 NIV).
When a young Christian man in Mali encountered these words of Jesus in his own language of Mamara, they cut to his heart. He immediately thought of his parents who opposed his faith: How can I help them leave the broad road that leads to destruction?
Having been personally encouraged by listening to translated audio Scriptures on a Proclaimer device, the young man decided to play the device around his dad. His father began to listen, and over time, he no longer opposed his son’s Christian faith. In fact, his heart was so changed that he began to willingly give donations for the growth of the local Christian church.
His son happily reflects, “I understood then that the Word of God has a power capable of changing our lives and transforming hard hearts.”
Moved to Tears by Translated Scripture
A Bible translator in a sensitive Middle Eastern location recently hosted his father for a couple months. The translator says of his father that he “did not believe in any religion, but after seeing how we treat each other at home, he started asking me about Jesus and his teachings.”
On several occasions, when the translator shared translated Scriptures with his father, “the Word touched his heart in such a way that tears started to come down.” Now the translator’s father regularly sits with his son as he works on the translation, and he even suggests better words to use!
Equipped to Be Fathers
The work of Bible translation has provided many fathers with the opportunity to impart to their children the importance of their own language, culture, and above all, God’s Word. “I am grateful for you because my son is now looking to become like me,” shares one translator.
And children, ever observant, don’t miss a beat; they take note of Scripture transforming the dynamics of their homes. A teenage son of a Ugandan translator-in-training became interested in Bible translation after silently observing changes in his father. As a result, the son began praying on his own and was eager to read God’s Word for himself.
Restored to Relationship through God’s Word
One father in the Philippines mourned his estranged relationship with his adult son, who was in prison. When this father learned about Eli and his sons from reading 1 Samuel in his language, he realized that his son was in danger of spiritual death because he’d neglected to lead him well.
“With a humble heart and tears, he asked God for forgiveness,” a translation team member remembers. He also asked for forgiveness on his son’s behalf, trusting that the Lord would work in his son’s heart as he’d worked in his own. Because of his humble response, the team member says, “A father and son relationship has been restored through God’s Word.”
And thanks to the ministry of Bible translation, more people around the globe are experiencing restoration with God and coming to know him as their Apã Wachu, their Great Father. As you honor the dads in your life—biological, adoptive, and spiritual—may you find great peace and joy resting in the love of our heavenly Father.
“Maĩ gami Apã Wachu nandje Apã manonga prawo nandjepe! Apã Wachu ina nandje rõ idja tey wywy. Kainallãpe cho inama pendjepe nandje rõ Apã Wachu tey’y.”
— 1 Juan 3:1a (Ache)
“Look carefully how much God our Father loves us! God says we are his children. Without lying I tell you that we are children of God.”
— 1 John 3:1a (English back translation from Ache)