The Promise

The Promise, a booklet WELS Multi-Language Publications (MLP) developed to share the gospel in a simple way for mission and evangelism work, is available in more than 40 translations.

Learn how The Promise was rewritten for use in the Japanese mission field.


A New Promise in Japanese

together-thepromiseNow, a group of volunteer translators from the Lutheran Evangelical Confessional Church (LECC) in Japan has retranslated the Japanese and updated the images of The Promise to communicate God’s Word better with the people of Japan.

Rev. Brad Wordell, Asia coordinator for MLP, explains that the group of volunteer translators, including the illustrator, was recruited from the LECC congregation in Tokyo. It took the 15 volunteers about nine months to complete the project. An additional 15 to 20 people in Japan were involved, including the Japanese pastors. The cross-continental project also consulted with Japanese prospects at the Chapel (the WELS campus ministry at UW-Madison) in Madison, Wis., to read through the manuscript and offer ideas.

There’s much more to translation than simply changing words. The message also has to resonate culturally with the intended recipients. Wordell says,

“We wanted a better resource to hand people. The members did not feel comfortable handing out the current version (even though it has been a tool in the past for helping people understand the Bible). So we decided it would be a great first project for our MLP Tokyo team.”

Volunteer Egawa-san shares her experience with the project: “It was a joy to accomplish our goal of revising The Promise. We have heard from Christians and non-Christians that they like the finished product. Our first edition of The Promise had ‘noise’ in it, which made it harder for people to hear and understand the message of the gospel. For example, the Japanese sentences sometimes were difficult to understand; the colors and general impressions of the illustrations weren’t right for Japan; the photos on the cover were old; and the size of the booklet was too big.

As we worked on the revision together, we tried to create an environment where everyone’s opinion was important. Working together to make the book has also increased our desire to hand it to people. In the process God has increased our Christian love for each other and our sense of mission in his church. Redoing The Promise has also given us ideas about how to get this message out to others. We want to record this book for the blind, distribute it through the Internet, and make it available for reaching out to Japanese-speaking people in other countries.”