The launch of the Soli New Testament in Chongwe, Zambia is coming up on April 28! Leading up to this and in preparation for the distribution of the New Testament to the Soli people, we recently had a meeting with the outgoing Archbishop Tresford Mpundu and her Royal Highness, Chieftess Nokomeshya Mukamambo II. The Archbishop said that he would stamp some of the copies of the Soli New Testament, which will then be distributed to the Catholic church members on the day of the launch. The Archbishop will also pray over the New Testament copies before the distribution date. We are thankful that already there is such eagerness and excitement to receive the Word of God in their heart language! Celebrate with us as we lead up to this momentous occasion.
Approximately 2,500 language communities already have some or all of the Bible. That leaves over 4,000 languages with no access to God’s Word unless someone steps in and changes history.
VISION & MISSION
The Vision: The glory of God through transformed lives by the power of His Word in everyone's heart language. The Mission: To empower indigenous persons and organizations for Bible translation.
What will your legacy be? Please consider a contribution to The Word For The World! Become part of the vision to bring God's Word to all people in their heart language by 2050.
The Word for the World is currently working on 111 full scale Bible translation projects, each one representing a language. For 111 projects, there are only 10 full-time translation consultants! They have their plates full checking the translations against Greek and Hebrew, usually in person, but sometimes over Skype or email.
Barry Funnell, one of TWFTW’s international consultants, travels approximately 10 times per year to Asia and Africa doing consultant work, which totals about one third of the year in time away from home. He also has been doing Skype consultation in between with the Roma team from Slovakia, as you can see in the video.
Mary* is another consultant with TWFTW and has just returned from a trip to Asia, where she worked with six language teams to check their Gospel of John. The Paratext computer programme enables Mary to check six languages simultaneously because she can look at an English word-for-word translation generated by a computer of all six languages even though they are written in a script she can't read or understand. Please pray for Mary as she goes to Malawi soon to check Psalms and other Old Testament books in the Lambya project!
Please also pray for Nel Claassen, who will be in Ethiopia in May consulting on the Pentateuch, and who will also be doing an email consultation on a project in Southeast Asia. We thank God for technology that makes what we do more accessible and efficient!
If you would like to know more about becoming a consultant, visit our Volunteer page at twftw.org/volunteer.
The calling and work we are involved in can often be overwhelming. In my experience, this is a good thing because it forces us to rely on the Lord to direct our paths as we step out in simple obedience.
One of our great challenges in the work of Bible translation is teaching people to read and write their own language so that they can read the Scriptures. Since many of the languages we are working in are only spoken, an alphabet needs to be devised for each language, which is based on their unique sound system. Using the writing script of the state or national language as a base, an alphabet is designed for each of the individual languages. The next step is constructing primers to teach reading and writing in the villages. These primers are produced during workshops where teams representing numerous minority languages work concurrently on their highly individual sets of literacy materials: instruction books with lessons, story books etc.
When running a workshop of this calibre, it is like the feeding of the 5,000. It is at times like this that all I can do is to start. Every time I’ve done these workshops in the past, I have been amazed to see that starting was all I needed to do. Just start. It is a step of obedience and a statement of trust in God to simply do what is required of you. One of my favourite quotes is, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp… or what… is a heaven for.” (The Amateur Cracksman.) The miracle is His doing!
Jeanette van As
As Easter approaches, Christians all over the world are getting ready to reflect on Jesus’ death on the cross and celebrate His resurrection. For most, this means gathering together with family, going to church, reading the story of His sacrifice and His victory, and being reminded of God’s infinite love and grace for us.
What if you couldn’t read this story in your heart language? Would you really and truly understand what it meant for Jesus to die for our sins and rise again, thereby making sure that we could have a relationship with God? Probably not. You would have to rely on what other people explained to you, and your understanding of God would be based on secondhand information.
There are 4,000 language communities that will not be able to read the story of how God saved us this Easter. As you celebrate with your family and loved ones, please keep these people in your hearts and in your prayers. And as you partner with us, we will continue to do the work of Bible translation so that one day, every believer will be able to read the story of our salvation in their heart language.
An elderly couple went to the launch of the Makua New Testament in 2016. After reading Scripture together in their heart language, they began to share it with family members. When reading John, they gave their lives to Jesus.
In another village, one woman became an evangelist and have group discussions on the Bible every Saturday and Sunday.
The chief of a village started to read the Bible every Saturday and Sunday. The group has grown from 5 to 21 people.
In the midst of experiencing all of these benefits of receiving the Word of God in their own language, the Makua people realized that their language was a wonderful tool. This provided the ideal way of expressing their new-found energy and joy.
What a blessing to hear of people among the Makua people of Tanzania writing their own songs, and worshiping God in their own language. No wonder there is a surge of energy leading to evangelism and many people coming to faith in Christ Jesus.
This is God’s work! But in a very real sense it is our work, working with God. It is your work also, through the support you lend to the work of eradicating Bible poverty
Soli Deo Gloria!
Story submitted by George Chombo
TSC states the following on their website: “God became man. Jesus was the first translation. Through God’s Word, all people can intimately know Him and His gracious gifts of freedom, mercy and hope. God is at work today. With an urgency no one could manufacture, He is recovering, restoring and redeeming His people. We are grateful He’s invited us to join Him.”
Do you want to partner with us to bring God’s Word to Bible-less people groups around the world? Visit www.twftw.org/give.
TWFTW is actively involved in the training of indigenous Bible translators and consultants. The consultant development plan includes post-graduate studies and internships especially designed to help indigenous leaders become Bible translation consultants. At present, there are 10 individuals enrolled for post-graduate studies with the South African Theological Seminary (SATS). TWFTW provides academic supervision for the students pursuing Master’s and Doctoral studies.
In addition, we have 19 consultants-in-training (CITs) from Africa and Asia. All of our post-graduate students and CITs are contributing to the work of Bible translation in various ways.
It is exciting to see the Lord growing this facet of the Bile translation process.
One of TWFTW’s consultants wrote the following about her recent consultation in Asia:
“We edited the Gospel of John in six languages. After two weeks everyone was exhausted and happy. We stayed at a centre outside the city with an abundance of coconut palms, squirrels, bats and a variety of birds, butterflies and dragon flies.
The hard truth of Bible translation was always that one had a long wait before one’s work could be published. The teams in Asia, however, made their translations available as a cell-phone app. Each time a book has been approved, it is added to the app and can be downloaded with or without sound. They have also created a Christian songs app.”
If you want to help bring God’s Word to the Bibleless people in the world, consider giving to this worthy cause. Visit www.twftw.org/give.
Geresu, married and a father of four children, is one of the translators working on the Basketo Old Testament in Ethiopia. He came to Christ in 1981 due to his father’s illness. When Geresu saw that his father was healed of his illness after becoming a believer, he decided to also give his life to Christ and follow Jesus. Geresu himself had many life challenges that he desired to be freed from. Christ did that for him.
Geresu has been serving for a long time now as a leader in the Kale Heywet Church in Ethiopia, and was also one of the translators for the Basketo New Testament for the past 15 years. They are now working hard to translate the Old Testament for the well over 90,000 Basketo speakers. Their culture has been adversely affected by years of demon worship and witchcraft and they sorely need the freedom that Christ brings!
You can make a difference to this people group through sponsoring the translation team. Visit twftw.org/donate.
All Bible Translators working with TWFTW gain a broad foundation through interdisciplinary studies alongside of their translation work. They have either completed or are working towards our Diploma in Bible Translation (DBT), a de-centralized and accredited study programme that combines formal training in intensive modules with on-the-job training and self-study under the guidance of a mentor.
To achieve the goals of the DBT programme, we need people who can teach and mentor aspiring Bible translators from minority languages who do not know English in the 20+ subjects. That is how the idea to offer fast track training was born. In 2015 we enrolled 15 suitable nationals, mostly graduates with relevant experience in SE Asia, in our first fast track DBT training. They were to build the core of permanent training teams with the necessary language and cultural skills in various locations. The first group has just completed their final module. These key people are now training non-English speaking members of Bible-less communities in the 20+ DBT subjects, in 5 different languages of wider communication, making a path for millions to meet God in their heart language!
This is what they had to say about their training experience. (Please bear in mind that none of these trainees are English-speaking.)
- “It was a wonderful time of learning the subject Lexicography. Even though the duration of the training was only three days, the lecturer took good effort to make it understand for the students. Everybody learnt how to make a dictionary. The examination and assignments were completed before everyone left the training centre.”
- “It was a useful time in my life to learn Lexicography. I have been using many dictionaries but this training gave me an understanding of how to make the dictionary. I also realized the hard work behind dictionary making. “
- “It was a very good training for me and I learnt something completely new; The Flex software is very useful. It helped us to apply the knowledge we gathered in the first part of the class, such as determining the head word, forms of the lexeme, gloss, morphological type, derivational, inflectional, grammatical information, grammatical categories, semantic domains etc.”
- “This was my first experience with fast track DBT training, and I found it very useful. As a linguistics student the assignments were really helpful for me to prepare for my examinations. Through the dictionary making project plan I got a brief idea about how to collect data before working on a dictionary. I am looking forward to attend a dictionary making workshop to get more practical knowledge on this.”
Please invest in TWFTW training programme!
The following words seem appropriate to the work of Bible translation in our time:
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat.
And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
(William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3)
More accurate statistics on the need for Bible translation, technological advances, greater degree of cooperation among Bible translation agencies, new innovations in the methodology of Bible translation—these are some of the reasons why we are extremely positive about opportunities to accelerate the work of eradicating Bible poverty.
Praise God for these God-given opportunities to see many more people experience what someone once said: “Jesus comes to me through the pages of the Bible.”
Thank you for being part of this work that is close to the heart of God.
Véroni Krüger, President