Gleason Ledyard gets the urge to write

Still traveling, but beginning to feel aimless, one night  they pulled  off a dirt road  in a remote  area  of British Columbia   and  Gleason  got out  some translations    and  other  books they  had with  them.  Filled with a purpose that he could not explain, armed with  a notebook  and  small torch,   he began to translate the  Sermon  on the Mount, (Matthew chapters  5, 6, and  7), into a series of simple  easy-to-read   sentences.

He was amazed that in a  few evenings  he had completed   the task,   and read the results to Kathryn who also was pleased.  The  result   was very gratifying and he   felt that  the  Lord wanted him to continue, and so with God as his right hand, he wrote furiously translating the New Testament.

What had originally been thought of by him as impossible now become possible.  He saw for himself that God empowers  you when  he calls you to a task and without further adieu the translation   of the New Life Version  of the Holy Bible had begun.

Instead  of reaching people personally  in remote areas,  the  Ledyards   now devoted  their  energies  to sitting  at a desk  and translating  the books of the New Testament.   It was  quite  a change, but they diligently  pursued   the new challenge  God had given them.

They  set  up  some  significant    guidelines   for the  work:

  • do a lot  of research;
  • try  to use  only  one  meaning   for  each  word;
  • use  short phrases   to translate   all difficult  words;
  • keep the sentences   short  as much  as possible.

As parts  of the  New Testament   were  completed, they   sent   to  their completed manuscripts to fellow missionaries   for  their response and see what they felt that they did not address or had ignored. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the work  continued.

The task  of translating    the entire  New Testament   proved  to be a daunting .  They had   estimated   that it would be a two-year  project, but  the work  actually   required   four  years   of very  long  days.

The total  word  count  at the  completion   of the  project  yielded  only 850 words  plus proper  names making their goal of a Bible vocabulary simple complete.   Now though they had to find a venue to publish their work.  To this end, they created a non-profit  organization,    Christian   Literature    International,   to publish  and distribute   the New Life New Testament. Soon  125,000  copies  were  in the  hands   of Indians   all  across  the U.S., Canada,   and Alaska.    But circulation   was not limited  to North America.  People from around  the world were  asking  for copies, and the  new version  soon circled  the  globe.

The  huge   success   of the  New Life New  Testament  raised   a significant  question:  Should  the Old Testament  be done as well?

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