Sam Anderson was five years old in 1975 when he put a pin on a world map where Easter Island was located. His parents worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators and were living in Nevada working on a translation for a tribe of people who didn’t have a Bible in their language. Sam’s parents encouraged their children to pray for a specific Wycliffe translation project somewhere in the world and give a tithe, ten percent, of their allowance to the project.
The only problem with Sam putting his pin on Easter Island was that there was no one there from Wycliffe doing translation work. About the same time Sam started to pray for a Bible translation on Easter Island newly married Bob and Nancy Weber, both children of Wycliffe missionaries, were praying where God would have them serve.
Some time later Sam’s parents got a letter from a friend who mentioned that the Weber’s were being assigned to Easter Island to strengthen the Rapa Nui language, on the verge of extinction, and then translate the New Testament into Rapa Nui. Sam started to send the tithe of his allowance to Wycliffe, designating it for the work on Easter Island.
Bob and Nancy Weber would send notes of thanks to all of their supporters, including Sam. Nancy said, “We had no idea that he was just a child [at the time] or that he had started praying for us when he was a very small boy, so we wrote our thank-you notes to a ‘Mr.’ Sam Anderson.”
In early 2019, over 40 years after their work began, the Weber’s were at the Wycliffe headquarters in Orlando, Florida, celebrating the completion of the translation of the New Testament in the Rapa Nui language of the people on Easter Island. Sam Anderson was there as part of the celebration!
Sam said, “Growing up as a missionary kid, I knew that a Bible translation is a huge undertaking and takes a long time. It was amazing to hold the Rapa Nui New Testament in my hands and to see living proof of God’s faithfulness in answering prayer.”
God calls us to participate with Him in what He wants to do in our world. One way He has us do this is by praying. God listens to what we have to say, to what we ask for, and He responds. Of course God doesn’t give us everything we ask for, just as a wise parent doesn’t give their children everything they ask for. We leave it up to Him to do what’s best with our request.
The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” Prayer can unleash God’s good working! Prayer changes things!
“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds…” Psalm 65:5a