Take a moment to think about what it would be like if the Bible did not exist in your mother tongue. Maybe a translation is available in another language or dialect you are familiar with, but would reading the word of God be the same experience? Grace International School parents Chris and Rebecca Hirt would say that no, it’s different. They both felt God’s call on their lives as a couple in 2007, when they decided to apply to a Bible translation organization. They felt a desire to serve God in a cross-cultural context while using the professional skills and gifts God has given them in computers and counseling.
As a licensed professional counselor, Rebecca counsels international Christian workers on a wide range of issues, equipping them for the challenges of life while serving overseas and preventing attrition. Meanwhile, Chris serves as a technical consultant and software developer. He works closely with expat and national translators to facilitate effective use of technology in the translation process as well as develop software solutions to accelerate language projects in Southeast Asia and around the world. Over the past several years, Chris has had the privilege of supporting some of the technical aspects of the Northern Thai New Testament’s drafting, publication, and electronic distribution. Northern Thai is spoken in Chiang Mai and in a number of provinces in Thailand’s northern region, and the Hirts have seen an uptake of the Northern Thai translation in local churches. Whenever people are able to read the Scriptures in Northern Thai, they are often encouraged and find the Word speaks to them more clearly in their mother-tongue.
Chris and Rebecca are thankful to Grace International School for supporting their ministry. It is because GIS exists to meet the educational needs of their children that they may continue their fruitful ministry here in Northern Thailand. “Over the past nine years, GIS has been a blessing many times over to our family. GIS supports one of our children through specialized academic support, something we could not do on our own,” says Chris. “Teachers, coaches, and sports leaders have all poured into our children to help them grow academically and, more importantly, into imitators of Christ in class, on the court, and with their peers.”