Hanna’s call translates to 20 years away from home

Hanna’s call translates to 20 years away from home

At the commissioning service for a Bible translator, what could be more appropriate than hearing the Scriptures read in languages other than English?

On Sunday, 18 March, Hanna Schulz was commissioned as a lay worker, called by the LCA to serve as a Bible translator with Lutheran Bible Translators Australia and Wycliffe Australia.

During the service held at Hanna’s home congregation, Ferryden Park in Adelaide, members and friends read the Gospel in four non-English languages: Arabic, Anuak (a South Sudanese language), Pidgin (Papua New Guinea) and Kriol (northern Australia). The readings were a wonderful affirmation of the value of the valuable work of Bible translators.

Hanna will leave Australia this month to begin her long-term vocation of translating the Bible into one of the languages of Papua New Guinea.

It’s been a long road of study and preparation for Hanna, who first completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours), with majors in anthropology and linguistics. This was followed by four years of theological study at the Adelaide College of Divinity, Tabor College and Australian Lutheran College, and specific skills training for translation work with Wycliffe in Melbourne.

Hanna says she is ‘tired, and a little overwhelmed by the leaving process’, but she is excited to be on her way at last. ‘All these years of planning, study and preparation are finally coming to fulfilment.’

There are many layers of Bible translation that she is passionate about, but the most important aspect for Hanna is discipleship.

‘By translating the Bible into the heart language of people, they are able to connect with the heart of God and be transformed’, she explains. ‘People can be converted without a Bible, but true disciples come from growing into God through the word. The word as Scripture and the Word as Jesus … each reveals the other.’

Nearly 130 people attended the commissioning service, with about 70 visitors joining the 30 Aboriginal and 26 non-Aboriginal members of Ferryden Park. Pastor Bryce Clark said that the congregation was grateful to have the opportunity to be involved in this part of Hanna’s call. ‘We praise God for Hanna and her willingness to heed the call of God in his service’, he said.

Hanna will be working with a group of people who do not have a written language, so she will need to work out a way of recording the sounds of the language in a readable form. But that is only the first difficulty.

‘Bible translation has many challenges, as we are working with an ancient document from another worldview and translating it to another time and place, while keeping the meaning the same’, Hanna explained. ‘Almost every verse will present challenges.’

The environment, too, will present Hanna with many challenges, and not just the threat of malaria and other tropical diseases.

‘Learning how to be a single white woman in a developing nation where freedoms and expectations are so different is going to be a huge challenge’, she said. ‘Thankfully, others have gone before me and can help me on that path.’

Glenice Hartwich urged the LCA to support Hanna as she bravely follows the call of God on her life. ‘Hanna will be going into areas which will be difficult and dangerous, and she needs our prayerful support. We encourage LCA members to regularly include Hanna, and also the ongoing work of LBTA, in their prayers.’

Hanna leaves Australia for her 10-20-year mission with this sobering message: ‘We are privileged in Australia to have access to so many things, including our choice of Bible version, format, size, colour etc. Let us remember in our prayers and in our giving the millions of people who do not have even a word of the Bible in their heart language.’

And also this challenge: ‘May we also get into the word, and let it transform us each day.’

If you would like to consider the opportunity to donate to Hanna Schulz, who is serving as a linguist and translation advisor in Papua New Guinea, you are invited to go to https://wycliffe.org.au/member/hanna/

For more information about Hanna Schulz, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/about-us/who-we-are/countries/papua-new-guinea/papua-new-guinea-hanna-schulz/