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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'It's a mystery'

Peace & war bookend Bible translation

As Robert Glaybo relates the story of how he translated the Old Testament into the Liberian language of Bassa despite war, attempts on his life and the near-destruction of his work, he keeps repeating: “It’s a mystery.”

Glaybo describes Liberia as a peaceful, well-developing country in 1984 when the Christian Education Foundation of Liberia hired him to translate the Old Testament. Five years later the country’s civil war began, and rebels who broke into Glaybo’s office burned his books, notes and commentaries. They left unharmed the disc containing the first 16 translated books.

“The disc was in a little box sitting on a table. They picked it up and threw it on the ground. Now I know why they say trash for someone is treasure for someone else. God works in ways that look so simple, but afterward …,” he trails off and shakes his head.


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