Come and drink!

September 20, 2021

While praying for Afghanistan in my weekly prayer group, I saw a picture in my mind's eye of a jet of water shooting upward like a fountain. It was coming out of what looked like the mouth of a bottle set into the ground in a barren place. When I looked more closely, the streams of water were actually lines of words. I sensed that the words were passages of Scripture. 

Pashto is the primary language of the Pashtun people whose homeland straddles the border of southern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. There are about 50 million Pashto speakers globally. Pashtuns, the dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan (more than 40%) and the second-largest ethnic group in Pakistan, are considered the world's largest Muslim tribal society. Pashto is the language of the Taliban.

Setbacks have plagued the many attempts since the early 1800s to translate the complete Bible into Pashto. One translator died, leaving the project unfinished. A fire destroyed all the hand-carved lead letters prepared to print another Pashto Bible. Another translation was developed using a non-local speaker, which was offensive to the Pashtuns who tend to be very loyal to their own dialects. A New Testament was finally completed in the 1990s in a "general" (mixed) dialect. It was reprinted several times, but has not yet become a best-seller.

In 2004, an international team began work on a translation of the Old Testament into Yousafzai, the majority Pashto dialect. This translation was much anticipated because the tribal Hebrew culture of Bible times has marked similarities to Pashtun culture that will potentially resonate with the Pashtun people. The translation was completed and began to be released online in 2019 and printed in 2020.

Is God opening up a fountain of life to the Pashtun at a time of extreme need and readiness?

Let's pray!

Holy Spirit, override the fear that Pashtun Muslims have of polluting themselves by reading anything other than Islamic writings in Arabic. (Luke 11:21-22)

Almighty God, You who are enthroned in heaven, You who has installed Jesus as Your King on Zion's holy hill, we ask for Your inheritance among the Pashtun. We ask that they, including the Taliban, would serve You with fear, rejoice with trembling and kiss the Son, lest You be angry and destroy them. We proclaim that all - ALL - who take refuge in You are blessed! (Psalm 2)

How precious is Your steadfast love to have opened the fountain of life to Pashto speakers through this new Bible translation! May they turn away from the dry well of Islam to drink from Your fountain of life. May they take refuge in You, feast on the abundance of Your house and drink from Your river of delights! In Your light, may the Taliban see light and become zealous students of Your word! (Psalm 36:7-9) (Note: "Taliban" means "students".)

Spirit, use the Hebrew scriptures to point the Pashtun to Jesus and create thirst among them, even in tribal groups, for the living waters of the Gospel.

God, oversee the distribution of both online and print versions of this translation. We pray audio versions will become available for the illiterate, especially women excluded from education.

Bless all those who accomplished the painstaking work of translation in persevering unity of purpose and with excellence. Let them see the rewards of their work in a movement of Pashtuns to Christ that exceeds in this decade similar movements in other people groups over the first two decades of this century.

To see the online Pashto Bible, Old and New Testaments, click here.
To see the print version, click here.

About Leslie

Leslie knows by faith and experience that our heavenly Father puts His prayers in our hearts and then listens to our hearts’ cry as we pray them back to Him. We hear God, and God hears us.

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