Thursday, July 14, 2011

Miss Mary Steele - A Modern Day Hero of the Faith

Last night after dinner, we had the incredible privilege of meeting and visiting with Miss Mary Steele.  Mary is from the UK and is an 80 something year old Wycliffe missionary who has lived in Ghana for 49 years.  She is a quiet, gentle, soft-spoken woman who doesn't like attention.  She is what anyone around would probably call ordinary.  But Mary is no ordinary person.  She's a modern day hero of the faith.

Mary came to Ghana to help translate the Bible into tribal languages.  In order to do that, she had to first go live in the village, build a relationship with the people and then learn the language herself.  After that, she had to develop a written alphabet, which included all the sounds (blends, tenses, etc) made by each letter.  Only then, could she and local tribe members begin translating the Bible into Konkomba, their heart language.  The first translation of the old testament took 17 years!  Can you imagine the dedication and perseverance it took for this? And that's not all!  She did it a second time with another tribal language and then she went back and translated the Old Testament for both languages.  She also helped write Bible stories, grammar books, and heathcare and hygience books in their languages.

Here's some information that will give you a glimpse into the impact Mary's work had on the Konkomba people:

In the first four years:
  • 2,325 communities set up listening groups
  • 96,915 people joined them
  • 6,375 of these believed
  • 2,931 people bought Bibles!

After hearing her story, we asked Mary if she had any words of advice for us as short-term missionaries.  She said, "Just remember.  God has a plan for each person and being here is part of his plan."

Mary is truly an amazing woman who has been one of God's witnesses to a lost and dying world.

 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

1 comment:

  1. She sounds like someone I'd love to meet--and whose stories would be fascinating to listen to. What an amazing opportunity to get to spend some time with her.