Getting the Word Out
On his visa application to one region, he described himself as a “translator.”
“I arrived in that country,” he remembers. “A man sat down beside me and quietly asked, ‘What do you do for a living.’ ”
Thinking he was an undercover agent, Jim Dearman replied, “I translate materials.”
When Dearman confirmed the man worked with another Christian organization, he sent him a Fire Bible, Life Publishers’ study Bible being translated as a one-volume Bible library for Christians around the world.
The Fire Bible is equipping pastors and church leaders in regions where other Christian materials are hard or impossible to come by. Recent Urdu and Farsi translations have been warmly received. Where possible, other materials are developed to supplement the Fire Bible. In 2016, a team from Life Publishers created a 14-book pastor’s toolkit in the major language of a restricted-access Asian nation.
“We gave the toolkits away to local pastors and made them available to a regional Bible Society and other evangelical groups,” Dearman says.
Jim and Nancy Dearman served four terms in West Africa before joining Life Publishers in 2008. During their years in Burkina Faso, Togo, and Sierra Leone, they saw the desperate need for literature and the power of printed materials to promote discipleship and church growth.
“As Americans, we take for granted all the printed materials we have,” Nancy says. “We saw the great value placed on the printed word and particularly on Pentecostal resources.”
Besides teaching English classes, Nancy was the librarian at West Africa Advanced School of Theology in Lomé, Togo, and at the AG Bible school in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She worked closely with the AG’s Africa Library Services out of Springfield, Missouri, to equip the Freetown library when the school reopened after years of civil war.
“A student at the Bible school in Freetown once showed me a magazine he had found,” Jim says. “He thought it had good material, and he wanted to use it for his studies.”
The magazine was the regular publication of a cult, whose missionaries were also trying to reach into the West African nation. Jim explained to the student that the magazine should be avoided, and then took him to his office and gave him biblically accurate materials.
“The Fire Bibles we gave to students in Sierra Leone were required textbooks for their classes every day,” Dearman says.
As the Dearmans continue their ministry with Life Publishers, Jim travels widely to organize additional Fire Bible translations and establish printing and distribution avenues around the world. He helps train local translators, works with on-site or nearby printers, and arranges for shipping of the final product.
“We see the church as a living organism, and people are being born into the church every day,” he says. “Many are called into ministry, whether full-time or lay ministry. They want printed material to help them tell others about Jesus. That’s where the Fire Bible comes in.”
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IMAGE - Jim explaining the Urdu FireBible to a pastor.