Photo: Maria Festen
Ann Kapteyn, an SIL translation consultant, was in a bit of a hurry as she reviewed a translation of Galatians in the Mpyemo language. This was her last morning in the Central African Republic before she returned to Michigan. She was trying to go over the entire book with Constantin, one of the translators, and make notes of places that might need improvement. Once she was home, she would write up her comments and suggestions and send them back to the team.
She and Constantin were speeding through verse after verse when he suddenly stopped paying attention. Continue reading
The Mpyemo Bible translators were worried. They were far from home, checking their work with a translation consultant in the capital of their nation, the Central African Republic. Their country had been in turmoil for years, and now they were hearing rumors that armed men had entered their home village again.
They tried to call family members but found that cell phone connections weren’t working. What was going on? Had the armed men cut the connections on purpose? The rumors intensified. They heard of fighting in their village, of deaths, and of people fleeing into the rainforest. One translator said, “Why does this have to happen again? Why can’t we just have peace?” Continue reading
The Good News reached Mr. Lee’s village in Southeast Asia 33 years ago. Mr. Lee, who spoke the Uka language, was intrigued. He became even more intrigued when he learned that followers of Christ didn’t need to make sacrifices. His own animistic religion demanded frequent sacrifices, and he was tired of the expensive and time-consuming rituals.
Mr. Lee’s oldest son holding the Uka New Testament
Though he didn’t understand everything he heard, Mr. Lee decided to follow Christ. After a while, a handful of other villagers became believers as well. The new believers began a Sunday school in the village, but they soon ran into a roadblock. There was no Bible in Uka — a language spoken by 15,000 people in four countries — and no one had figured out how to express key biblical terms like “faith” in their language. Without those terms, Mr. Lee and the others were not able to fully explain their faith.
Translators from people groups scattered across dozens of islands come and go from a bustling little building in Kupang, West Timor. The building houses the Language and Culture Unit of the Evangelical Protestant Church of Timor (GMIT).
Quiet enthusiasm runs high as the translators share stories of how God’s Word is impacting lives. In long conversations, they exchange ideas about how to translate accurately, how to encourage people to use the Scriptures, and how to handle logistics and other challenges in their various locations. They discuss their Scripture drafts with advisors and consultants, record audio Scriptures, and pick up boxes of newly printed Scriptures to distribute back in their villages. In the center of the whirlwind, Wycliffe player-coaches Chuck and Barbara Grimes give leadership, advice, mentoring and training. Continue reading
Praying for The Finish Line, January 12, 2017, MAJANG; Ethiopia (40,000)
The Majang New Testament is available in audio format. The JESUS Film is having a great impact. Ask the Lord to protect and strengthen the faith of new believers. Pray for the the printing and shipping of the Majang New Testament–5,000 copies have been ordered. Pray that Bibles arrive safely for their upcoming dedication.
“I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him…” (Revelation 14:6-7 NLT)
THE SEED COMPANY; THE ETHIOPIAN EVANGELICAL CHURCH MEKANE YESUS- ILLUBABOR BETHEL SYNOD
In a small rural church nestled in the mountains of West Timor*, seven families worshiped together. In their homes and with each other outside of church, they primarily spoke their mother tongue, the language they spoke from birth, Tetun. But in church services, following the only model they knew, they used Indonesian**. Their Bibles were also in Indonesian. Because they didn’t speak or handle Indonesian very well, there was much they didn’t understand!
Then came exciting news: God spoke Tetun! Tetun translators, working under the direction of the Evangelical Protestant Church of Timor (GMIT) and guided by Wycliffe advisor Dr. Barbara Grimes, had translated and published the New Testament plus Genesis in their language. Continue reading
As part of the worldwide Bible translation ministry, we have the privilege of translating God’s Word into other languages and sharing it in written and oral forms. But God also expects us to be living translations of his Word, showing the world what He is like by the way we talk and act.
Jim*, one of our staff members, was traveling overseas and landed in an airport he hadn’t visited before. As he went through customs, he looked for the right place to declare an item he was carrying. Suddenly he heard someone call, “Jim! Jim!”He was sure that no one would know him there, but he turned around anyway. A young customs employee came up to him. “Do you remember me?” he asked. Caught completely off guard, Jim said, “I…I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I do.” Continue reading
Morgan Jackson, director of Faith Comes By Hearing, remembers the day some years ago when he visited a Konkomba village in Ghana. His organization partners with Bible translators to produce audio recordings of Scripture, and he asked the Konkomba leaders if they’d like to listen to God’s message in their language.
“If a translation of the Bible exists in a language, it is, or soon will be, as close as the nearest smartphone.”
They didn’t believe it was possible. “God doesn’t speak our language,” they said. “He only speaks English.”
“But God does speak Konkomba,” Morgan said. He turned on an audio player, and the words of Matthew 1:1 in Konkomba filled the air. “This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah….” Continue reading
“Four” in French and Karang
While many of us already access, engage with and think about reading Scriptures on a mobile device, most of us don’t stop to think about how people learn to read and write.
“My Language, Karang,” is a book designed to teach Karang middle school and high school students in northern Cameroon how to read their own language. They already know how to read some French because their public school education is in French. Now at home they can transition to reading Karang so they can record folktales, stories and songs, and read their new Karang Scriptures. Continue reading
Checking the Lubwisi translation
Mulindi, a speaker of the Lubwisi language in Uganda, attended church for 50 years before he heard a Bible verse read in his own language. “People used to say that no one would manage to write the Bible in Lubwisi because it is an unwritable language,” he said.
But then someone did write the language. They chose symbols for an alphabet that fit the Lubwisi language, and they began writing stories and books, including HIV/AIDS materials that benefitted their people greatly. They even created an online dictionary.
Most importantly, they translated the Bible. At the end of July 2016, the Lubwisi people will celebrate the arrival of the New Testament in their language.
Mulinda says, “I am like the old man Simeon in the Bible whom the Holy Spirit promised would not die without seeing the Messiah. God has given me a time of grace in this world so that I can hear the Word of God in my own language, the language which I understand.”