My Unplanned, Yet God-Inspired Journey to Becoming a Bible Translator

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“I sense that God’s hand has directed me to where I am today. I didn’t plan it.”

That last statement could describe many people’s lives. Dreams of becoming firemen and astronauts eventually yield to more practical careers. Our lives don’t always end up as we planned.

But there’s probably no occupation that better embodies the “I didn’t plan it” admission than Bible translation work. How many children want to translate the Bible when they grow up?

Ebenezer (Eben) Boafo certainly didn’t. Yet God clearly directed him into this unique ministry.

Born in Ghana, Africa, Eben reached high school hoping to study art, but was advised to study French. This was definitely a God-thing as it soon became apparent that he had an affinity for languages.

“It was then that I developed the love for languages,” Eben admits. “I continued with French to the university level. After university, I taught French and my desire was to do a higher degree in French.”

But God had other plans. When Eben applied for a scholarship in France, his application was turned down.

“My frustration led me to God in a much closer way,” Eben recalls. “I prayed that God would lead me to Bible School.”

Eben’s prayer was answered when he was admitted to the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in Kenya. Acting on faith, he accepted.

“I left for Kenya not knowing precisely what I was going to do. It was in that year that the M.A. Translation program was introduced. I was the first to enroll. I loved the program because of my love for languages.”

A year later, Eben had run out of funds and could not afford tuition.

“That’s when I started asking myself whether I had made the right choice or not. Realizing that I had no choice than to trust in God, I made a simple prayer: ‘God, I know no one in Kenya, so please send an angel to bring me money and place it in my mailbox.’

“I had two weeks to produce the money. On the evening of the last day, I went to the mailbox for the last time and found a sheet of paper in the box. I read it and found that I had been offered a full scholarship for three years!

“It was at this point that I realized God was leading me to his chosen place.”

After finishing school, Eben returned to Ghana to work at the Ghana Institute of Linguistics and Bible Translation. He later attended Concordia Theological Seminary.

At the end of his time there, he learned that Biblica was looking for someone to be the Area Director of Translation in Africa. And before long, Eben was offered the position.

“As I look back in my life,” Eben reflects, “I realize that this path I’m treading has not been my chosen path. This road has been paved by Jesus. I am therefore at ease at Biblica, and I rest in my mind when I work with Biblica – God’s chosen place for me. I am grateful to God for this work.

“This work is what God has called me to do, and it surely meets all my hopes and aspirations.”

Biblica Staff

Biblica, the International Bible Society, is a worldwide ministry that has been helping people read and understand God’s Word for over 200 years. We are committed to providing the Bible in accurate, contemporary translations and formats so that more people around the world will have the opportunity to be transformed by Jesus Christ. We do this through translation and publishing, by making the Bible accessible, and with innovative Bible engagement programs like Community Bible Experience. To learn more about our ministry and how you can partner with us to share God’s Word with people around the world, go to our ministry page.