Last night, Wycliffe Bible translator Rachelle Wenger blew me away. She rushed into our class with some of her Mennonite family members in tow--in a skirt, with a beautiful scarf wrapped around her hair as a head covering and a face that radiated joy.
In a class of 25 people, you could have heard a pin drop.
|Rachelle is in white at the front of the photo. (wengerministries.org)|
Her talk was colored with stories of tricky translation issues, with the joy of seeing some elements of the Old Testament culture firsthand in Nigeria, and with the adventure of engaging two Fulani to help her in translation efforts.
Many times she is the only Westerner in her area, but when asked if she ever feels isolated, she said no. The Fulani have loved and accepted her so well, although she is different, that she feels peace and joy in her work. I got the feeling Rachelle was born for this.
When I approached her afterward to thank her and to tell her how she shines with God's love, I mentioned that I knew very few women who are interested in studying biblical languages, and she seemed surprised. I mentioned that we need more women to learn them and to offer their unique perspectives on biblical scholarship, and she was unfazed. "Everyone should do this," she said. "Man or woman."
You can't fit Rachelle Wenger into a box or a category. I won't even try. But you can see her mind and her heart are wrapped up in a glorious calling that only the God of the universe could have prepared her for. Now I am happy to say I know a female Hebrew scholar, who resides in West Africa, with a calling that cannot be questioned.
Do you feel it's important to learn the biblical languages? In your opinion, what keeps many women (and men) from attempting this?