I spent this past week doing other people’s writing, or rather, taking what they had already written and transforming it, translating it into English. Though they are around the same age and they speak a common language, the two men whose writing I was working on are very different. They live in different hemispheres under different economic systems and forms of government, come from vastly different backgrounds and their stories and testimonies reflect very different experiences. They share the same faith, however, and hold a strong belief that God has put them where they are and allowed them to experience what they have lived through “for such a time as this”. Both have taken their experiences and their contexts, along with the gifts God has given them, and are using them to further His kingdom in their countries.

They are not nationally, much less internationally famous Christian speakers or writers. Both live and provide for their families on almost no income – in what most of my peers would consider to be poverty. Though respected by those to whom they minister, they receive no real recognition from the larger Church. Despite all of this, however, and like so many other of God’s invisible servants, they get on with their work, changing lives and bring His light into some of the most hopeless places on earth.

As I worked on translating their writing I found myself challenged again and again by the lives they both lead. They are both living their lives in total dependence on God though they face serious obstacles and active opposition to what they do. They depend on Him to provide the material and economic means to carry out the ministry to which He has called them. They depend on Him for physical protection from hostile individuals and a system that hates what they are doing. They depend on Him to watch over their wives and children and they depend on Him to refresh and guide them constantly with His Spirit. And according to them, He does!

Translating their work is a project I have been doing on my own free time. This past week I’ve been on vacation and it may seem odd to some that I chose to use my time in this way. Although the translation and editing that I’ve been doing is definitely “work” and is both challenging and tiring, it’s also one of the most fulfilling and inspiring things I’ve done in a long time. I’m excited to see where their stories will reach now that they are in English and can be understood by many more people around the world. I know that their words will touch, humble and challenge others, just as they have me.

The phrase “a voice for the voiceless” is one that is often used at my organisation. It’s an important calling, especially because there are so many suffering people around the world who have no way to tell their stories. Every so often, however, through my work I come across people who don’t need me to be their voice. They can tell their stories themselves, far better than I ever could. What they need however, is an amplifier to send their stories out, to disseminate them as far and wide as possible. Putting their words into English helps to do that and though I’ve spent much of it at my desk or on my couch, this week has been an exciting one, collaborating with them, in a small way, and the literally life or death work they are doing.