‘After we had been working for a while, translating God’s word into Dobel, that’s when I fully put my trust in the Lord,’ says Eka. ‘That’s because we were reading God’s word in Dobel, and I understood it well. I started praying to God using Dobel, and it was so good.’

Eka, Dobel Bible translator

Eka’s journey to joining the Dobel translation team began with a dream: ‘I saw the Lord Jesus coming to me and lifting up his hand towards me. Then he said, “Come and follow me.”’

At that time, the Bible was only available in the national language, Indonesian. But there are 17 languages spoken in the Aru Islands, as well as the language of wider communication, Aru Malay. Not having the Bible in Dobel meant it was hard for Dobel speakers to know Jesus. But that is changing.

The Aru Islands are in the east of Indonesia

‘This might be what the dream was about’

‘My wife and I thought about the dream I had about Jesus for a long time,’ says Eka. ‘After four or five months, Jock and Katy arrived.’

Jock and Katy Hughes arrived in Indonesia from the UK in 1984. They eventually moved to Eka’s village, Koijabi. There they spent time learning Dobel, making friends and working with local people to develop the very first written form of Dobel.

After a couple of years, they began Bible translation. ‘One day I was passing their house carrying water,’ Eka remembers, ‘and Jock said, “Friend, can you help me?”

‘I discussed it with my wife. Should I work with him or not? She said, “I think you should work with him. This might be what that dream was about.”’

A boat on a river in the Aru Islands

‘I’ve seen God transform his life’

Mark’s Gospel was the first Scripture book published in Dobel. Today the Dobel team has published 24 books of the Bible. They aim to complete their translation of the New Testament and three Old Testament books by 2025.

‘We’ve seen a real man of God grow out of Eka’s exposure to the word of God’

‘I think translators have a great advantage in working on a daily basis with God’s word,’ says Jock. ‘They can’t get away from it and the Holy Spirit is using it in their lives.

‘We’ve seen a real man of God grow out of Eka’s exposure to the word, a person who is faithful in prayer, who reaches out to others, and is really servant-hearted in all that he does. I’ve really seen that transformation in his life.’

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