Those 200 million people include about 2,000 language groups across the globe, according to translation advocates.
Jenna Martinez, 21, of Sandusky, a junior at Indiana Wesleyan University, joined a handful of college students this summer on a mission trip, aiming to offer a fairly new Bible translation to a small community in northern Jamaica.
The group trekked to Highgate, a town of about 5,500 people, where they spent four weeks hosting a Vacation Bible School for children and participating in various service work for a local Christian church.
“We accomplished so much together as a community,” said Martinez, a 2011 Perkins High School graduate. “We lived together, worked together, cried, laughed and shared all parts of our lives. It was great to be a part of something that’s so different from individualistic American society.”
Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, a Florida-based organization committed to providing Bible translations in every language, sponsored the trip as part of its annual GET Global program. It primarily promoted the New Testament translation into Patois, a native Jamaican language. The program acronym stands for “Go Experience Translation.”
The experience was rewarding and educational, Martinez said. She’s double majoring in intercultural studies and teaching English as a second language at Indiana Wesleyan University, where she’s returned this fall to continue her studies.
“I love being taught, and I love experiencing different cultures,” Martinez said. “It was so rewarding that I was able to integrate my faith into learning more about God’s world, its people and who I am as a person, too.”
Justin Stanford, GET Global global director, said Martinez and all students in this year’s group undoubtedly made a big impact in a small community. This summer was the first time Wycliffe Bible Translators USA traveled to Jamaica. Martinez was the only group member from Ohio.
“When (Martinez) interacted with people, she made it her intention to serve and learn in whatever ways she could,” Stanford said. “I trust that in making herself available to do that during the trip, she grew, learned and touched many lives.”