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Miracle in Guinea: The Trembling Translator
By Dave Franco - April 7, 2011

Brittany was preparing to go to Guinea on a mission trip with Impact 195 with some trepidation. She was excited to see God do great things, even miracles, just as he had on a recent mission trip to the nation of Malawi. Yet this time, it felt different. She was battling with fear.

Upon arriving, her fears intensified. Conakry, Guinea was experiencing a devastating episode of rioting. There was chaos in the streets. When she heard herself say, “Everything is OK,” it was only because she was trying to convince herself that God was in control. Deep inside, she was terrified.

She asked the team to pray for her. It brought little relief.


The group had brought a video they intended to show the Guineans. When the government learned of it, they forbade it. They explained it would surely incite the anger of Guineans which was already in the stratosphere. They might even come after the team, they warned.

“Yes,” thought Brittany. “Let’s definitely not show it. That will help keep it safer around here.”

But when the Impact 195 leaders began to discuss whether adhering to the government’s demands was in line with God’s will for their mission trip, Brittany began to panic.

What?! You’re actually considering showing it? Did you hear what the government said? We could die here!

It was more than she could bear. She had hoped to avoid danger. Now her own leadership was considering bringing it into their camp.

The team gathered around her once more and laid hands on her trembling shoulders.


The next day, one of the 195 leaders was standing with a man with whom he wanted to communicate. “Brittany,” he called out. “Can you translate for me?”

Brittany had told the group she had some knowledge of conversational French, but wondered if perhaps she had overstated her ability. She didn’t know French that well and she certainly didn’t know the Guineans fragmented and odd-sounding version of it. Yet, she stepped forward. “Help me, Lord,” she said.

Moments later, Brittany was in deep conversation with the man. All of a sudden, she realized that she was no longer going through the novice translator’s proces of hearing a sentence, searching her mind for the English meaning, then doing the process in reverse to speak. Not this time. For all intents and purposes, she was just...chatting.

How could this be? She understood the man perfectly. She was speaking and being understood perfectly. They were like two old friends.

She walked away from their time together feeling light as a feather. What a rush! And there was no way to explain it!

Brittany was hoping to see a miracle. She never anticipated that one would happen through her. Perhaps the intense prayer had prepared her for how God was to use her.

The days ahead offered new opportunities to translate and each time she was called on, the miracle was there. She began to like it. She began to look forward to it. She even started to feel like she could do it.

That was a mistake.

Too much confidence in her own ability began to cause the process to labor. Where before she was speaking with ease, now she was having to fall back on the methods of a novice, such as listening, thinking of the English translation and so on.

But once she realized that her abilities had everything to do with God and nothing to do with her, the miracle returned.


A week went by and the trip had come to an end. It was time to fly home. However, the team had to make one layover: France.

Brittany couldn’t wait put her new ability to speak French to work with the Parisians. A little chit-chat would be fun. But the miracle had run its course. Her ability to speak, even in a dialect with which she was more comfortable, was gone.

It was a powerful reminder that not only was her ability to speak not from her, but it was not for her either. It was by God for His people and His purpose. And although she missed the chance to carry on with the Parisians, that was fine with Brittany.