About DTS

Keith Forster

Keith ForsterAs they left the mines after a day of grueling work, the workers squinted at the brightness of the day. Although it was near dusk, the light outside blinded them momentarily. Somehow this seemed to mirror the state of their souls.

Keith and a few other teenagers stood outside the mines with literature to give these men that told them about Jesus Christ—the light of the world. The workmen came from all over Africa. Each spoke his own language, and was only able to communicate with fellow workers on a limited basis through the trade language. Keith and the other teens had literature in 14 African languages, but occasionally a worker's "mother tongue" was not represented. That man walked away empty-handed. Keith would write to Scripture Gift Mission for tracts in that language. Without fail, the reply would come, "Sorry, no Scripture has been written for that group of people."

"I was struck with the fact that they walked away to a Christ-less eternity," Keith said. "The experience … turned my heart to the need for Bible translation."

In college, Keith led a men's Bible study, and preached in East Indian, African and "colored" churches. He also organized mission trips to outlying areas, and after college he realized that God was calling him to the mission field, instead of the field of accounting as he had thought.

He and his wife, Wilma, joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in the late 1960s and were assigned first to Colombia. In 1971 the Forsters were transferred to Panama to work with the Border Kuna people, who number about 25 hundred, on the border of Colombia—Panama. They lived in the jungle town of Paya, Darien until 1979, when they were forced to retreat to the city.

"After two years in the city the government did not renew our visas and we had to leave Panama. We had not expected to be able to return to Panama, but God graciously took us back in 1982."

Although confined to the city, they were able to complete the translation of the Border Kuna New Testament by 1992.

"During our years in Panama City we were approached by San Blas Kuna believers who asked for help in translating the New Testament into their dialect."

San Blas Kuna is a dialect that is spoken by about 85 thousand people on the Coral Islands off Panama's Caribbean coast.

Keith worked with a San Blas Kuna pastor on the first 30 percent of the New Testament, in tandem with the Border Kuna Project. In 1992 the Forsters came to Dallas to typeset the Border Kuna New Testament. In January 1993 they resumed work to polish the manuscript of the San Blas Kuna New Testament, which was dedicated in March 1996.

"After the completion of the San Blas New Testament I felt the Lord would have me translate the Old Testament for the Kuna people." In order to prepare himself for that assignment, Keith attended the M.A./BEL program at Dallas Theological Seminary from 1996-98. They began work on the Old Testament translation in 1999 and expect it to be a ten-year project.

In addition to studies at the Seminary and translation work, the Forsters have been involved in various Scripture use projects for the Kuna people, as they endeavor to help them get into the Word in depth. Such materials as the Kuna version of the videos "Jesus" and "The Book Of Acts," the Kuna New Testament on audio-cassette, and various tracts, study guides, and booklets have proven valuable tools for the people.

"A semi-annual pastors' conference is proving to be a dynamic tool for getting pastors into the Word for themselves."

The Forsters have three children. Their oldest child, Wendy, is a bilingual high school counselor in New Orleans where she lives with her husband. Valerie is a surgery resident in Dallas, and Stephen is a sophomore at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.

"Probably the phrase that summarizes my life's goal more than any other is: May the Lord keep me pure in my life, true in my doctrine, and unflagging in my love for Him until I meet Him face to face."