How I wish all of you could have been with us on Monday night [22 September 2014]. Over five hundred people, mainly Christian leaders, came to London for the dedication service of Elam's new translation of the Bible in Persian. Over a hundred had flown in specially for the meeting from about forty different countries. The meeting was a magnificent proclamation of the global church's commitment to the Bible.
It was a tremendous honour that Juliet Michaelian, the widow of Rev.Tateos Michaelian, was with us for the dedication. In May 1994, right at the start of this Bible project, Elam's director, my father Sam Yeghnazar, had written to his friend Tateos Michaelian, Iran's most experienced translator, asking him to take a leading role in the work. He accepted the invitation, but one month later Tateos Michaelian was shot dead. He was murdered for his faith.
It was fitting that the translation project was then called, 'The Michaelian Project'. It was a very emotional moment on Monday evening when my father gave the very first copy of the new Bible to Tateos Michaelian's widow, Juliet. The next copy was given to Tateos Michaelian's grand-daughter. Copies were then also given to the members of other families who had endured the martyrdom of a loved one in recent years.
My father also presented the new Bibles to the project co-ordinator, Rev. Dr Mehrdad Fatehi and his wife Mojdeh, the chief administrator and also an exegetical checker. They led a team of over thirty translators and specialists for nearly twenty years. Every single verse was checked to ensure the text was the most accurate translation possible from the original Hebrew or Greek.
Then the Bibles - which are beautifully bound - were handed round the whole auditorium. There was then an intense time of intercession for the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who will soon receive this new translation which is known as the 'New Millennium Version'.
The title for our evening was, 'New Bible, New Iran'. We believe that when a country receives a new translation of the Bible, the church is always strengthened.
On behalf of Elam and the church in Iran I would like to thank all of you who have stood with us over the last twenty years. With your prayers and generous giving you have played your part in making this new translation a reality.
In His Grace,
1. God's protection on the Bibles as they flood Iran.
2.Thank God for this first printing of the new translation.
3. God's blessing on the lives of all those involved in the translation.