Transcript: Michael Johnson / World English Bible - Insurgent Missionary & Bible Translator
Michael Johnson is the lead translator of the World English Bible, the largest, modern, public domain Bible available today. In addition to his Bible translation work, Michael is a missionary in Papua New Guinea and assists other insurgent missionary groups around the world in bringing Bibles into "creative access" countries where they are outlawed, and in some cases, carry the penalty of arrest or death.
In this episode, we talk about the personal risks he takes in bringing the Bible to some of the most remote and dangerous places on Earth, as well as the red tape and logistical problems that persist around Bible copyrights (as well as his campaign to bring free Bibles to the world!). Michael is genuinely one of the most interesting people I've ever spoken to. If you would like to learn more about him or donate to his work, check out his links below.
[00:00:00] Taylor: On today's episode of According to your Purpose, we have Michael Johnson. He has accomplished something that very few people have ever done. He's translated the entire Bible from start to finish, and he's given it away for free to anyone who wants it. In addition to that, he also does some very high risk missionary work that we get to talk about in the episode. Here's my conversation with Michael.
[00:00:21] I appreciate you doing this. I appreciate you coming on the show.
[00:00:26] Michael: No problem.
[00:00:27] Taylor: Why don't you start by telling me a little bit about the World English Bible. And just, I guess Bible copyright in general, because I became aware of y'all's project because I've been looking for a public domain Bible and I happened upon you guys, and I was really pleased to find you because not only is it a public domain Bible, which you can tell people about, but it's a well done one. It's a very readable Bible. And we were really excited to find it.
[00:00:54] Michael: World English Bible - it started when I was. I just had on my heart to come up with some digital Bible distribution I was into electronic computer bulletin board hobby before the internet was a thing.
[00:01:13] Taylor: This is like before AOL
[00:01:15] Michael: Way before AOL. This is we're talking ancient history here, okay. I grew up with computers at a time when my first computer programming was done with punch tape on an electromechanical teletype terminal.
[00:01:31] Taylor: Oh man.
[00:01:33] Michael: Okay. So I'm not exactly a spring chicken here, but recognized the value of digital Bible distribution and being able to reproduce quickly with the word of God and for people to be able to freely share and things because of the technology - making a copy of the digital file was a whole lot easier than printing a book. And so I had it on my heart to do that. And I had a copy of The King James version of the Holy Bible on my computer bulletin board, but I thought, yeah, I'd like to distribute something more modern.
[00:02:12] And it turns out that all the popular, modern English Bible translations, and even all the unpopular modern English Bible translations were copyrighted, and I couldn't get permission to use any of them. So I asked God what to do about this. he told me, you do one - almost audibly. I knew that anything the Lord asked me to do, I could do. Peter can walk on water. I can do a Bible translation. So if that is what God wants to it shall be done.
[00:02:45] Taylor: So what year was this?
[00:02:48] Michael: That was in 1984.
[00:02:51] Taylor: This is early. This is before Kindles. This is before any sort of, this is -
[00:02:56] Michael: Oh yeah.
[00:02:56] Taylor: This is early. So were there any -
[00:02:58] Michael: This was before smartphones? This was -
[00:03:00] Taylor: Yeah. Were there any internet Bibles available at the time?
[00:03:07] Michael: The King James version was available at that time and internet was an experimental academia only thing. It wasn't...You asked the average person what the internet was. They wouldn't know.
[00:03:22] Taylor: What did your process of translating the Bible look like? Is as far as starting it, so you get, are you going from the original Greek? Are you doing it from like a public domain English version? How did you translate it?
[00:03:36] Michael: Actually, I, there were two starts to the project. first one resulted in what's now the God's Living Word translation, which you probably have never heard of. I was going from original languages to English, with reference to other translations, just to make sure I wasn't going off into some weird heresy or whatever. And that slow. And I got through John - 1st, 2nd and 3rd John, and was starting on Revelation. And I extrapolated how much time it was taken me per verse and how long it would take to finish the whole Bible. And I said, Lord, I may not live to be 130 years old. Which is what it would take at this rate. Is there a faster way? so God showed me a faster way. And that's a related dialect adaptation of the American Standard Version of 1901 into modern English using computers to accelerate the process. And that I did.
[00:04:48] Taylor: I guess let's take a step back. So most people aren't even aware of the copyright problem. I'm only aware of it just because I run a Christian company and we ran into a similar problem where we were trying to use the Bible. We wanted to put just a Bible to read in our app and we were having to go out and actually shop it. And it was a very different experience than what I anticipated when I was trying to share the Bible with people. We looked at trying to get a translation ourself. We tried to - It's a mess. That most people are very unaware of. I was telling friends that you were coming on the program and it was a totally new idea to them that somebody quote unquote owned the Bible.
[00:05:33] I was like, yeah, it's a big problem. It's a problem for Churches. It's a problem for missionaries. It's a problem for anybody that wants to make an interesting printing of the Bible. There's all these different types of red tape. So what you were doing was trying to put a public a Bible in the public domain. So it's freely available for anybody to print, anybody to download - is that fair?
[00:05:54] Michael: Right. Yeah. Most of the people who realize there's a problem are the people who are involved in publishing - like a Bible study. Maybe they want to do a Bible study or a book that has a lot of scripture quoted in it. And you start trying to get bpermission from a Bible copyright owner. They start wanting to know how Orthodox are you compared to our beliefs. Are we gonna let you and no. I don't think we're gonna risk it. And yeah, here's what you owe, in royalties and, oh, there's a bunch of cases of that.
[00:06:31] There is a of friends who wanted to minister to Muslim background believers to those who were going to be saved, shall we say, out of Islamic religion and they had this copy of the Quran and they put all kinds of footnotes in it with Bible quotes. Extensive Bible quotes saying how this related to that and where it agreed, where it disagreed and all kinds of stuff.
[00:07:02] And Bible publishers heard this, mixing the Bible with the Quran I don't want to touch that one. They actually type, set and printed the thing and then got in trouble and had to pay royalties. They ended up redoing the thing with the World English Bible and then were able to print So yeah, there's another friend of ours who wrote a book called Just Jesus, where she put in the front part of the book, just the quotes of Jesus, just the red letters what's traditionally printed in red letters. then she put this extensive index of what Jesus said about various things in it. And that's where our main value added came over just reading the Bible - this big index and stuff. But the book was, well over half just scripture quotes and to get permission from a traditional Bible publisher to do that was a no by traditional Bible publisher, not only Thomas Nelson and Zondervan and all those guys, but the American Bible society and others like that. No go. And then she found the World English Bible.
[00:08:19] Taylor: We actually had a case, so I won't name names, but we reached out to a Bible publisher. And we were going to do an entire audio Bible highly produced. And I said, "You guys can have it. I just want the permission to do it. We'll put it up on our app. Y'all can also use it." And they wouldn't agree to it like an entire audio Bible. And then I, and they said, we'll get, we will potentially give you permission, but you have to pay royalties and then on top of that you have to turn over the entire thing - once it's complete and then we'll up or down. Yes or no, if we'll do it at that point. It's like well I can't pay to have it done. And then you tell me no, after we've already completed the whole thing.
[00:09:06] But yeah it's a strange problem and it feels - there's something, it just feels like the antithesis of what the Bible should be. And it's this weird kind of red tape problem that has come out of the modern I guess iteration of copyright, but it wasn't, it feels like it wouldn't have been there historically. With, the democratization of the printing press and all that sort of stuff.
[00:09:34] Michael: Historically, you go way back to Deuteronomy 17, 18, God commanded kings of Israel to hand write a copy of the Bible for themselves out of the copies before the priests. Okay. This is like the opposite of a copyright. This is a copy-do . This is -
[00:09:57] Taylor: You should be copying it.
[00:10:00] Michael: And then you look at the great commission. Go and make disciples, teaching them everything I've commanded you, Jesus said. It's really tough to teach them everything he, Jesus has commanded without a copy of the Bible. Don't You could argue as to whether it's possible or not, Seriously, you're gonna need Bible copies and you're gonna need to make audio copies and print copies and spread them around to obey the great commission.
[00:10:32] So there's that. That's the Christian side of it. That's the God word side of it. That's what God himself says about his own Word. Now, if you take the the man word once the printing press was developed there were attempts to say you can't print anything unless its licensed by the government or something like that. That eventually loosened up.
[00:10:58] But in the case of the Bible, one interesting little tidbit is that King James gave a perpetual exclusive printing right to the Royal Printers to print The King James version of the Bible or the authorized version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer only by the Royal printers. And that was effective in England and Wales. And it's still effective in England and Wales.
[00:11:27] Taylor: Really?
[00:11:27] Michael: That is still in effect. Really.
[00:11:30] Taylor: That is crazy.
[00:11:32] Michael: So it's like a precursor to copyright. It's still in effect for something that's in the public domain in the United States but it still affects people if they want to print Bibles and import them into England or Wales or the UK in general.
[00:11:47] It's actually not a, an oppressive sort of thing. Permission is usually granted by the Royal printers. If they're convinced that the copyright is, or the copies are faithful copies. milking it for money or anything like that, but it's, that's like the precursor.
[00:12:06] when the United States constitution was drafted, it granted Congress, the power to make limited time exclusive copyrights that would last for a certain amount of time giving the author a guarantee of some income off of their creative works.
[00:12:27] And they've changed the law several times. So copyright law is some of the most confusing law in history because how long a copyright law lasts is so complicated that the simplest definition I found is on a Cornell law website. And it's this huge page of all these ifs, and when it was published, in what country, if copyright was registered and renewed or not and now copyright law is
simple, but oppressive in a way in that copyright applies whether the author intends to or not.
[00:13:07] Taylor: Oh, really? That's interesting.
[00:13:10] Michael: Yeah. If you were to write something that you want to spread widely, sermon, a Bible study, a bBible translation, anything that you wanna spread widely, the instant you write it down, it's copyrighted and the copyright belongs to you. Or if you did it for hire to whoever hired you. And that copyright lasts for your lifetime plus 75 years or in the case of a corporate work for 95 years.
[00:13:40] And so it locks up a lot of Bible translations and because a copyright is a legal monopoly designed to guarantee it means that you can apply to Bible translations, the same rules you apply to fairy tales or whatever that you author today. You've got a copyright for the rest of your life plus probably good portion of the life of your kids and grandkids, which is great for income generation, but not so great for evangelism.
[00:14:16] Taylor: Yeah, it's funny. The Bible's not in the public domain, but Winnie the Pooh is. And that's an interesting problem to have.
[00:14:25] Michael: Actually the Bible in the original languages is in the domain. some of the older translations are in the public domain, but once you make a translation, that's new translation, that translation has a new copyright.
[00:14:38] Taylor: So it was 1984. When you started the World English Bible using a related dialect translation. What exactly is that?
[00:14:45] Michael: 94 actually. It was 1994.
[00:14:47] Taylor: 94. Okay.
[00:14:49] Michael: Yeah. I may have misspoke earlier, but yeah.
[00:14:53] Related dialect adaptation, that's where you take basically archaic English and translate it to modern English. And the rules for the conversion are simple enough that you can do most of it with computer program. And I did.
[00:15:11] Think of it as like spell checking of the American standard version.
[00:15:16] Taylor: So it's almost like a 'find and replace' type of deal.
[00:15:21] Michael: Yeah. Kinda like that. Only a massive list of finds and replaces.
[00:15:26] Taylor: Exactly.
[00:15:30] So how long did it take you to start from 1994? How long until you completed it?
[00:15:34] Michael: I got the first draft done in about three months.
[00:15:38] Taylor: That's impressive. That's shocking.
[00:15:41] Michael: Got the rest of it done in about 36 years.
[00:15:46] Taylor: The first draft was fast. That was a good effort on the first draft.
[00:15:50] Michael: That was the computer aided part. rest was pretty manual with the checking against the original languages, the insertion of quotation marks, the formatting poetry and prose properly. The first draft was a little wooden sounding. It was usable. It was right. You could read it and it was scripture. But it wasn't really good modern English.
[00:16:17] Taylor: It lost a little bit of the artistry of it.
[00:16:20] Michael: Yeah. There was a lot of checking. A lot of checking for typos. A lot of checking to see where the automation may have gone awry a little bit. here are, were a couple of cases where it could have. And there are some things that I just had to stop - and wait, "what?" - like the word caulkers C A U L K E R S. You know exactly what it means, right?
[00:16:51] Taylor: Yeah...I was like," I don't think I do" but...should I know what this word means? I don't know.
[00:17:02] Michael: It's a word found in a version of the Holy Bible referring to those who repair seams in ships.
[00:17:11] Taylor: Okay.
[00:17:11] Michael: With caulk.
[00:17:12] Taylor: Interesting. That's yeah, that, that's something I'd have to look up on, on that one.
[00:17:19] Michael: Sometimes you have to use more than one word, to replace a word, to make sense.
[00:17:24] Taylor: Did you go learn Greek and Hebrew to do your spot check? Is that something you've learned since starting this project?
[00:17:33] Michael: Yeah I use it with crutches. I have some digital crutches I use.
[00:17:38] Taylor: Okay.
[00:17:39] Michael: And I actually had some genuine Bible scholars helping with the project. It wasn't all me. Part of the beauty of it was the internet collaboration between a lot of people, more people than I can count. And it's like this global village chat going on, where people from all over the world have sent in suggestions and corrections and whatever. And it was like this massive flood of suggestions coming in.
[00:18:11] Taylor: It actually reminded me of Wikipedia. The way that you have it structured, it felt very much like a Wikipedia, communal knowledge kind of effort, which I really respect. But also I think is just if -The intention behind it feels right for the Bible for your project, it just feels - it's attractive. There's something about it that's attractive knowing that it is this communal effort to share the Word of God with the world. I think it's a really neat project and experiment that you're doing. But bit's really special. How many people did y'all have, do you have any idea? A guesstimate on how many people y'all had work on it?
[00:18:57] Michael: I totally lost count. And part of it was any records I had early on of how many people had contributed were lost in a disc crash. I've since become much more paranoid and well, not paranoid, but careful in my backup strategies. It is actually difficult to destroy important data on this project now. Seriously, you could fire bomb my house and the data would survive. Please don't do that. I need a place to live but...
[00:19:32] Taylor: How did your wife feel about you taking on you, you explained to her your new hobby was to translate the Bible. Was she on board for the project or she was like, maybe pick up golf instead?
[00:19:43] Michael: Yeah, I think it's better than bar hopping or something, so.
[00:19:46] Taylor: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:19:49] Are you guys so y'all are missionaries by trade or has that kind of been something that y'all done as later in life or have y'all always been missionaries?
[00:19:59] Michael: life has come in phases. When I first got married, I was in the United States Navy as an officer serving on a nuclear powered submarine.
[00:20:11] Taylor: Oh really?
[00:20:12] Michael: And I was saying that as soon as they would let me, which wasn't that soon, but because I wanted to come home and spend time with my wife rather than being sealed in a steel tube with a nuclear reactor out under the ocean somewhere...
[00:20:29] I also was sort of mission minded then too. I served as a lay chaplain on board of the submarine. Then after that I got a job as a software engineer and worked several different software engineering jobs before going into full-time missions. I got trained as a Bible translator, but did support work for Bible translation. We moved to Papua New Guinea, and we there like eight and a half years total. that was definitely different.
[00:21:02] Taylor: can imagine so. I don't know how much of my understanding of - Is it Papua? Is that technically correct? Papua New Guinea?
[00:21:13] What I've seen has primarily been documentaries. I don't know if they're salacious in nature compared to how it actually is, but it seems like... tribal wouldn't do it justice. There's over a hundred, 850 languages. There's tribes all over the place.
[00:21:34] Tell me about your experience -
[00:21:37] Michael: Yeah.
[00:21:37] Taylor: Living there and your time as a missionary.
[00:21:41] Michael: It took a while to get our visa. It made us late to our Pacific orientation course that we went to. But we just snuck in on that. Pacific orientation course is also referred to lovingly as "jungle camp", which is accurate.
[00:22:10] Anyway, after the Pacific orientation course, we went to a mission base, Ukarumpa, which is the largest evangelical Christian mission base in the world, on Bible translation. Ukarumpa is in the highlands of Papua New Guinea in the Eastern Highlands province. it's an interesting place.
[00:22:30] My wife the school there and my kids went to those schools. went there with three sons and came back with an extra daughter we adopted while we were over there.
[00:22:43] But while I was there, I started this kind of a side job of doing electronic scripture publishing by putting some of the Papua New Guinean Bible translations up on a website. And that's an extension of what I did with the World English Bible - just expanded orders of magnitude more.
[00:23:05] Taylor: And you're trying to get into every individual dialect? Is that the goal of the project ?
[00:23:12] Michael: As much as I can.
[00:23:12] Taylor: Is it, what are they dialects or is it independent languages? How much do they share in common between the languages of different tribes?
[00:23:20] Michael: There's over 850 independent languages.
[00:23:25] Taylor: Okay, so fully independent.
[00:23:26] Michael: Yeah.
[00:23:27] Taylor: That's crazy.
[00:23:28] Michael: The language versus a dialect - dialects are mutually intelligible, like Scottish English, and text and English, maybe a little iffy there, but you can understand both of them if you know English your dialect, the languages and tribes, even tribes next to each other are like as different as Chinese and French.
[00:23:50] Taylor: Has that historically been the problem with missionary work in Papua New Guinea? It's that nobody can speak to each other?
[00:23:59] Michael: Yeah. And then when they can, it's in a trade language that don't know as well, so it doesn't sink into their heart as well.
[00:24:07] Taylor: Was there ever a concern for safety? Because online you hear about cannibalism, head hunting tribes. Is there still a level of that, level of aggression, or is that kind of faded? Because I know that missionaries, at least through the early 1900s, had issues with some of the tribes. Was there a concern with the going out and meeting new tribes or a concern for your family?
[00:24:36] Michael: The short answer is yes... The longer answer is there has been some improvement in areas where the Gospel has been longer, but we don't go there to share the Gospel with people because they're already acting like Christians. Theft, murder, sorcery, all these things are problems. robbery is not just an expression there. It happens. It's dangerous.
[00:25:04] Taylor: Is there any government involvement at all, or is it primarily gang oriented or is there not even that level of order?
[00:25:13] Michael: You're used to having a competent government with an efficient police force that is not corrupt and is not easily swayed by the bad guys. It's nice. I appreciate getting back to that when I left there. in Papua New Guinea and they have some police, but in some areas of the country, the police are out bgunned, out-manned and out-smarted by the bad Wild west" is a term that comes to mind. We relied mostly on divine protection.
[00:25:48] Taylor: Why Papua New Guinea, as opposed to, I don't know - it seems like there's lots of countries that don't have cannibalism as a thing that occurs.
[00:26:01] Michael: Well we both agreed that's where God was calling us. So we went. The safest place on the planet to be is where God calls you to be. You can go to Chicago and get killed you could be killed on the highway anywhere in the United States. Dead one way, or dead the other is still dead. the safest place to be is wherever God wants you to be.
[00:26:25] There were times when the threat was more real than others and when it was distressing. war broke out around us a time or two. was an attempt by armed robbers to rob us one time when we were on this dirt road between Ukarumpa and Kainantu. was in a Toyota Hilux diesel powered twin cab, short bed pickup truck. Kind of old, but reliable. I had a cover on the back and a couple bench seats and had my sons in the back. And this guy stepped out on the road with a gun and another guy with a big bush knife, a machete, to get us to stop. I thought that's not a very smart idea.
[00:27:09] Taylor: Did you stop?
[00:27:13] Michael: No, I floored the car. Aimed straight at the guys with no sign of slowing down, which took them aback. They didn't expect that. They stepped back. The guy with the machete raised up like this, and it was like a, an invisible hand stopped him and we passed by quickly and around the corner.
[00:27:37] And by that time, I was too busy to be scared we were around the corner and then once I was around the corner, there was no point in being scared .
[00:27:46] Taylor: Man. That's a different level of trust. That's that's true trust. That's a physical safety trust.
[00:27:56] Michael: Of course.
[00:27:59] Taylor: Do you know how many Bibles that y'all had downloaded to date? I guess World English encompassing any additional language translations that are modeled on that?
[00:28:12] Michael: I don't know about modeled on the World English Bible but there's a page. My computer keeps track of this for me. Let's see. 191,477,664 so far.
[00:28:30] Taylor: That's amazing. It's it's a shocking number of people using your Bible that has to have some level of satisfaction. That's just as a project. That's an amazing return on time spent.
[00:28:46] Michael: It is that's one advantage of the digital Bible distribution over print distribution. If I were to be mailing Bibles - printed Bibles. Think of the cost just in shipping alone, let alone are printing, let alone figuring out which Bibles and which languages to go, where, and then shipping them randomly. No, with the internet people. Find what they want and download that. So it's much more efficient at reaching people at that scale. And the cost for Bible is much lower.
[00:29:17] Taylor: Is the bulk of your translation work into other languages in Papua New Guinea? Or do you distribute in other countries as well?
[00:29:27] Michael: The Americas would be number one, then Europe, then Asia, then the Pacific, then Africa by count. But you gotta consider that impact on the Pacific is probably higher as a proportion of the number of people there. And as a proportion of the of each language group reached. Because I have actually a lot of deliveries of small language groups. A couple thousand people may be the size of the language group all together. And a significant number of deliveries in that language group may only be a 1,000 or 1,500. But for a language group of 2000, I call that significant
[00:30:16] Taylor: Just in terms of the proportional, as a percentage reach, for those people.
[00:30:21] Michael: Right. God loves all the people, regardless of the language they speak, no matter what size their language group is.
[00:30:28] Taylor: Do you prefer to focus on those smaller language groups as far as your contribution?
[00:30:34] Michael: That's my main focus is the small language groups, the language groups in creative access countries and the and the people who are just not yet convinced of the value of the Holy Bible and therefore unlikely to go pay for a copy, but they might read a free copy if they can find it.
[00:30:57] Taylor: do you mean by creative access countries?
[00:31:00] Michael: That's where you have to be creative to access it because there might be local laws of man that are contrary to God's laws. There may be some other religion or atheist groups who are persecuting people who are reading or following the holy Bible.
[00:31:20] Taylor: What countries are you in that require creative access in terms of distribution?
[00:31:27] Michael: Most of them.
[00:31:30] Taylor: Really? So that would encompass all of Papua New Guinea? All or most of the villages there?
[00:31:38] Michael: That's not so much a creative access in terms of persecution. That's a creative access in terms of technology because internet is sparse there expensive, but there are some creative things that we do.
[00:31:51] There are little boxes up this big that provide an internet hotspot that doesn't actually go to the internet. It just goes to a local server and provides access to Bible downloads. And you can go around to various places with those. MAF does that. does that. They have these little Bible boxes or "know about God" boxes, they call 'em.
[00:32:15] Taylor: Is there any risk that if somebody was found with a box like that, that, that would have the same potential danger to them as being caught with a Bible?
[00:32:26] Michael: In Papua NewGuinea, there's really no danger in getting caught with a Bible. In North Korea, yeah. You could be killed.
[00:32:33] Taylor: Do y'all work with people in North Korea?
[00:32:36] Michael: I can't confirm or deny that.
[00:32:39] Taylor: Do y'all work with insurgent missionary people in, in countries like that?
[00:32:45] Michael: Yeah.
[00:32:46] Taylor: Is there anything that you can share in terms? Not specifically that, but just in general?
[00:32:52] Michael: Yeah. First of all I'm not gonna give specifics on a podcast. I'm just gonna say that we're reaching out wherever we can. And that there are places we go that are very hard for the government to censor control. The levels of control differ significantly. There's some countries that just try to regulate Christianity and say, okay, you can only use this approved Bible translation and you can't sell it except through officially registered Churches or something. And there are others that say, " What? No. Keep that out of here". It's blasphemy or there are others that say religion we don't want, because they're officially atheist or there's another one where they want the official religion to be something that is world religion, and that's what the government wants everybody to be. And so they discourage everything And that discouragement may be active, persecution of various sorts.
[00:34:01] Taylor: I'm assuming that the governments in these countries have State run internet service providers. So are you encrypting files? Are you providing any sort of software masking to what they're downloading to protect them? Or how does that work? Do y'all just work with individuals to distribute that independent of ISPs or whatever it may be?
[00:34:27] Michael: It's a mix. Cryptography, virtual private networks - these things can come into play. All the things that make it hard for censorship. And some countries, they don't actually try to 100% stop the Bible from coming in. They just wanna make it hard to get to and hope that most people will ignore it and keep it down to a little roar. It's interesting. There, there are ways to get scriptures in there.
[00:34:53] Taylor: We have a few downloads in China and I think it's because our app is registered as a health app and not under religion because it's meditation. So , I think we snuck through the filters there, which is interesting. I was surprised when we saw that, but that's that's amazing work. That's very, do you feel any personal risk there or is it purely do you feel no risk just because it's not directly connected to you. I have to imagine that some people aren't thrilled about what you're doing.
[00:35:29] Michael: There are some places that I probably should not travel to for safety reasons, but when I'm sitting here on us soil, that's surrounded by the Pacific ocean. I feel like I'm in a castle with a very large moat and I can with impunity, post Bibles to my heart's content, Last year, about this time, there was a huge surge in a certain area of Asia in downloads. And since I was traveling at the time and trying access my computers in my office remotely to see what was going on, but couldn't. I found out when I got back, it was all working. It was just overloaded. It just couldn't respond, cuz it was overloaded, but the Bibles were going out. It was like this huge surge of a certain of Bible translations downloaded in a certain persecuted group in Asia. Either there were a lot of people suddenly interested in that group downloading or it was their government trying to do a denial of service attack.
[00:36:47] Taylor: Oh man. I guess first you, you should probably explain what a DDoS attack is and then you can tell me if you've had other attacks of that sort.
[00:36:57] Michael: DDoS or denial of service attack is where somebody floods your server with a whole bunch of junk requests, usually from different IP addresses coming in from bots that are compromised machines, that they've taken over with malware. And the objective is to take down your site. It can happen. I've got several requests in the last couple of weeks to offer me a tax services to take down competitor's website. Oh, really? Yeah, for a mere 2000 rubles they'll attack anybody you want.
[00:37:40] Taylor: That's crazy.
[00:37:41] Michael: And yeah. I've had attacks, but.
[00:37:46] Taylor: Do you think it's primarily governments or do you think it's hacking groups?
[00:37:53] Michael: It's hard to tell? Mainly the response is the same, regardless of who's done. I just strengthen my sites and strengthen the security every time to make sure that the same kind of attack doesn't work. So if they're gonna attack again, they gotta try something different or try a stronger version.
[00:38:16] Taylor: Michael, I appreciate what you're doing. We believe in it. We're gonna try to help you guys out as much as we can and gonna write some blog posts. And I I appreciate you coming on the show, but this is amazing. I have the Bible here. I ordered one of the few physical copies that are available, but it is the World English Bible. I believe in y'all's mission. It really is. It's a beautiful Bible. Y'all did a good job. It's very readable. I've been waiting for it for a long time. And I think what you all are doing is amazing. I really do believe in what you guys are doing, and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
[00:38:57] Michael: Thank you and glory be to God who enables us to do all the good things.
[00:39:01] Taylor: Absolutely.
[00:39:02] Why don't you tell us the best way to contact you and the best way to find out about your site. Do you do any fundraising?
[00:39:09] Michael: Oh yeah. To find out more about me and my ministry, mljohnson.org. It is the kind of our missionary information URL. And it's contact information on there.
[00:39:24] Taylor: Do you prefer people to download the Bible from your site or do you, if they want to support you financially, do they buy the book through Amazon or do you prefer donations? Is there ways that people can support what you're doing?
[00:39:37] Michael: I prefer the donations actually. I get a teeny tiny bit of money from the sales on amazon.com, but it's not significant honestly. If the objective is just to support the ministry, then yeah just send money and it'll help get the Bible to other people. It's like public radio, a few people pay so a lot of people get to hear.
[00:40:07] Taylor: All right, Michael, I appreciate it. I'm sure we will be in touch, but I encourage everybody to go get the Bible support the ministry, the movement. It is due time that there is a really well done public domain Bible. And I encourage everybody to go download it.
[00:40:26] Michael: Sounds good. God bless you.
[00:40:29] Taylor: If you're interested in supporting Michael and his missionary work we're going to link to his website in the show notes. We're also adding some additional resources that we've made about the World English Bible on our website. And if you're interested in supporting this show, you can subscribe here on YouTube, or you can go and check out our website and mobile app Hope Mindfulness & Prayer, which is available in the Apple and Google play app stores.