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Cherith's Testimony

Published Jul 11, 2007

Cherith Brook Stevens

“O Lord thou art my God: I will exalt thee; I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1

By God’s grace I was born in a Christian home. My parent’s godly teaching and example impacted me greatly and set my course for life. After graduating from Christian school I went off to Christian college, where I began taking mission trips.

After my first missions trip to China, I knew my life was to be spent on the mission field. In later years I took missions trips to Northern Canada, a Native American Reservation, and two trips the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In September of 2005, under the preaching of Dr. Charles Keen of First Bible International, I first saw the great need for bible translation. As I pondered the joy of having God’s word and the reality that so many do not, I realized this was the ministry the Lord had for me. I pleaded with the Lord to increase my faith and make me willing to leave my comfort zone as a teacher in a Christian school. As I surrendered to the burden, God placed on my heart Isaiah 50:7, “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”

After attending a week-long translator’s course I fell in love with the study of linguistics, and I immediately enrolled in Baptist Bible Translators Institute in Bowie, Texas. 

At Baptist Bible Translators Institute I received indispensable training. I learned the phonetic alphabet, which gives a symbol to represent each sound in every language around the world. I also learned how to reduce an unwritten language into writing by creating an alphabet, spelling, and grammar rules. As I studied linguistics I also learned the impact culture has on a language. Along with the linguistic studies, I have focused on literacy development and Bible translation, which is the culmination of all my instruction. 

The translators of the King James Version wrote to the readers, “Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most holy place.” As English speakers we have the privilege to read God’s word in our heart language, the language we understand the most. There are thousands of people groups who have not had the window of God’s word opened unto them. Are we any more deserving than they?

While attending BBTI, the Lord answered my prayer for future direction by supplying my coworkers, John and Selina Allen. Through the Allens my eyes were opened to the great need for Bible Translation in Papua New Guinea, a country of over 800 languages and less then 200 complete Bibles. 

Cherith and Kamea ladies
Cherith and Kamea ladies

The Kamea tribe, 40,000 in population, is one of the tribes that has still not heard God’s word in their mother tongue. My desire is to take the training I have received and put it to work by reducing the Kamea language into a written form and translating the Scriptures.

The vision God has given us is bigger then we are, but I believe as Romans 15:21 says “To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.” 

Cherith has an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in counseling from Bob Jones University; she received advanced missionary training as a linguist and Bible translator at Baptist Bible Translators Institute.