Eradicating Bible poverty in this generation

Andrew Tay with his wife, Cheryl

Have you ever felt that God has been preparing you for a long time to do a certain work?


The Psalmist writes: You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Ps 139:16)

After I had served for over 20 years as the board chair of Wycliffe Bible Translators Singapore, it seemed that it was time for me to move on, and I stepped off the board. I thought that my involvement in Bible translation was completed.

However, God touched me on my shoulder to initiate the Asian expression of illumiNations (, an alliance of 10 global translation organisations and resource partners working together to see every person have access to Scripture in a language they think, dream and pray in, and to do so by 2033.

God seemed to be saying: “Move!” Move from serving one organisation to serve 10 organisations. Move from serving just Singapore to serve the whole of Asia. Move from just sending missionaries from Singapore to starting a movement in the Body of Christ in Asia—to take ownership of the work of translating the Living Word to the remaining 745 languages in Asia that still do not have a single verse of Scripture in their language.

After serving in the school ministry and campus ministry when I was a student, the primary focus of my commitment moved to the church—local church, Annual Conference and General Conference. In my local church, I served as Lay Leader and Chair of Evangelism and Missions. At the Annual Conference, I served as chair of the Board of Evangelism; and at the General Conference I served as chair of the Methodist Missions Society. Bible translation was the only ministry that I was committed to outside of the Church for over 20 years.

Through these ministries I learnt the centrality of God’s Word in all that we do. To lead a person to Christ, the Gospel of the Bible is required. To make a disciple, someone who hears and obeys God, the Word of God is required. Can you Imagine life without the Bible?1

God also placed me in the marketplace for more than 20 years in Corporate and Institutional Banking with Bank of America and Commerzbank AG, and in Standard Chartered Bank where I was the Regional Head of Institutional Banking for South East Asia and India.

Why did God place me in the Bible translation ministry and in the marketplace for over 20 years?

An answer to this question was what Dr John Stahl-Wert, the Founder and President at Center for Serving Leadership said to me: “I am most happy to be a part of the Bible translation movement because this is a matter of stewardship. God has given each of us a certain capability to convene people. He has given each of us grace to gather people and we will have to give an account for what purpose and to what end we have used this God given gift of grace.”

It seemed the Lord has prepared me in the church and in the marketplace for over 20 years to grow in His gift to gather friends and networks to bring His Gospel to the remaining 745 Bible-less people groups in Asia in this generation.

It has been said that there are three conversions for every Christ follower: the conversion to Christ; the conversion to the Body of Christ; and the conversion back to the world that our Lord came to save and died for. I believe the Lord desires to lead all of us to the third conversion. Now is the time to move out to eradicate Bible poverty in Asia in this generation.


illumiNations Asia is having an online closing celebration for the “Imagine Life Without the Bible” campaign.

12 Dec 2020 (Saturday), 4 to 5 p.m. (registration required)

illumiNations Asia continues in its work to translate the Bible so that every person in Asia can access the Gospel in their language. For more information, go to

Andrew Tay is married to Cheryl. They have four children—Darren; Adelle; Dillon; and Clarisse—and two grandchildren, Chloe and Blake. He worships at Agape Methodist Church.