Saturday, April 9, 2011

True hero killed in Jerusalem bus bombing

Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share your master’s happiness. (Matthew 25:23)

Mary Gardner, originally from Orkney, Scotland, spent 20 years working with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the West African nation of Togo where she completed a translation of the New Testament for the first time into the language of Ife, which is spoken in Togo and Benin. She then planned to also translate the Old Testament into Ife and had just spent six months studying Hebrew at the Homes for Bible Translators near Mevaseret Zion, close to Jerusalem [1]. On March 23, 2011, a bomb exploded at a bus stop in Jerusalem, injuring about 30 and killing one person, Mary Gardner. This was the first major bombing in Jerusalem in seven years. A bag had been left on the pavement near the central bus station [2]. The language of Ife (also known as Ana, Ana-Ifé, and Baate) is spoken by about 182,000 people in West Africa [3]. The people in Togo and Benin who pick up a New Testament, for the first time now in their native language, may forever be grateful for the work of Mary Gardner.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven. (Matthew 5:12)

Wycliffe Bible Translators have made more than 700 translations available since they began in 1942, with several hundred more currently underway [4]. John Wycliffe was a reformation leader who completed a translation of the first English Bible from the Latin Vulgate in 1382. After he died in 1384, Wycliffe was declared a heretic and his bones were disinterred, burned and thrown into a river.

[1] Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Mary Jean Gardner”, 23 Mar 2011,
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[2] BBC News, “Jerusalem bus bomb: Mary Gardner’s family pays tribute”, 24 Mar 2011,
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[3] Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International.
[4] Wycliffe Bible Translators, < >

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