I recently was given a precious gift. A woman from my church family presented me with a Bible that really is more like a family heirloom. It is a Bible that belonged to her grandfather. He was a missionary to West Africa in the 1920's. The Bible is in great condition considering it is nearing 100 years old. But I cannot read this Bible, you see, because it is written in the native tongue of the Yoruba people. The Yoruba people are from the area of Nigeria, in West Africa. Here are a few pictures of the opening pages of the Bible.
For example, even though I cannot read the Yoruba language I turned to Genesis 1:1-2 and John 1:1-2. Here are photos of the pages:
I recently learned that keeping the local name used for the local god as found in a particular region is regular missionary practice. This has had a hugely positive effect on people coming to faith in Jesus Christ all around the world. It's an example of God working in and through the local cultures to lead others to Himself. When I think about this I cannot help but think about the passages in Revelation that describe the large crowd in heaven consisting of those from "every nation, tribe, people, and language." As Psalm 24:1 declares, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it." That includes people, cultures and languages. There are hints of God's truth everywhere and these can be used to lead others to Him.
For those of us in the West, what lessons can be taken from this?