God Speaks Chikunda

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Moses Kaputi is a middle aged man from the Chikunda speaking community of Kanyemba in the Dande Region of Zimbabwe. He is married to Fungai Dumba and they are blessed with four children, two boys and two girls.

Chikunda is spoken in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique. There is already a New Testament in Chikunda which has been published and distributed in the Kanyemba area. Moses says that before they had this New Testament in Chikunda, they would just try to guess from the Shona Bible (Shona is also spoken in Zimbabwe) what God was saying to them, but now that they have the Chikunda New Testament it is like God speaks Chikunda, and they can understand Him.

“Now I understand that before everything was, God was,” says Moses, “and all things came into existence through God. Therefore if I find myself in any difficulty, I know that God is all powerful, since nothing existed or exists outside of Him.” 

The Chikunda New Testament has also helped them in the making of the Jesus Film in Chikunda. The Chikunda people were delighted to watch Jesus speaking in their heart language! The elderly people in the community can now also read the Word in their mother tongue, and now they finally know that God is not only for the white people or the Shona people, but is also for the Chikunda people!

Story and photo supplied by Piniel Tawanda Zimbizi.

Training for the Vision

Translators from several different TWFTW Bible translation projects in Lusaka, Zambia share their recent experiences with us! They had a great time during training for a new edition of Paratext, a computer program that helps to speed the process of Bible translation. All of the translators who work on different projects are rarely in the same place at the same time, and it was also a wonderful blessing to them to spend time with each other in between training sessions.

See how our projects in Zambia are doing.

Spreading the Word

This past week, we had a wonderful time of training and team building with some members of The Word for the World’s Department of Promotions in Lusaka, Zambia. We are the ones behind the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, who bring you all of these stories and testimonies on a regular basis!

The challenges we sometimes face are unlike what most organizations’ marketing teams need to overcome. Lack of reliable internet, less than ideal travel circumstances, and geographical distance from each other can make our work interesting to say the least. Much of this reflects what others in The Word for the World have to deal with as well. However, that always creates an opportunity for innovative and creative problem solving, and makes us all far more reliant on God.

Our time in Lusaka was blessed and precious, and a great time of encouraging each other as well as learning from each other. We covered some further training in photography and videography, as well as solving some problems like internet and travel difficulties. Most importantly, we connected with one another again and were all reminded of why we do what we do: so that every man, woman, and child can have the Word of God in their mother tongue, and know that Jesus speaks their language.

Thank you for your prayers and support! We are excited to continue bringing the Bibleless people of the world closer to your heart.

Veronique Krüger

 

Connect with The Word For The World

Excellence and Perseverance

In November of last year, 49 students representing 16 translation projects attending a training event in Lusaka, Zambia. During the month that the training took place, 9 different subjects were taught, including Principles of Bible Translation, New Testament Exegesis, Hebrew, and Textual Criticism.

Despite the intensity of the subjects being taught, all the students who attended completed their courses and received their credits at the end. Not only that, but 20 students from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe graduated with their Diploma in Bible Translation on November 23rd!

We are thankful for the successful training and congratulate those students who graduated! To keep up with our training events, take a look at our Training Calendar.

We Give Thanks to Him!

 

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.”

-Psalm 100:4


 

This has been a year full of the blessings and abundance of God and we are filled with thanksgiving for His goodness, His provision, His strengthening, and His faithfulness! Here are just a few of the things that we are thanking God for:

  • The release of the Sakachep New Testament and the distribution of over 15,000 copies in Southeast Asia!

  • The amazing impact that the Word of God has been having in the Matengo community in Tanzania as translated portions of the New Testament are released to the people.

  • In Zambia, the widely celebrated and much anticipated release of the Soli new Testament despite the translation team experiencing illness, drought, and death. We praise God for their perseverance and for the Lord sustaining them through their work!

  • The joyful anticipation of the Kalanga and Kore Kore people groups in Zimbabwe as the translation teams work hard to bring the Bible to their people in their own language.

  • The many testimonies of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing that have occurred in communities that now have the Word of God in their mother tongue!

  • The 26 successful training events that we’ve held in 8 countries over the past year, and the 2 that are still to come before the end of 2018.

Last but surely not least, we are thankful beyond words for you; your prayers, your unending support, your encouragement, and your unwavering belief in the work we are doing. As you gather with family and friends, may you have a blessed, restful Thanksgiving and receive the abundant blessings of God in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Veronique Krüger

 

Connect with The Word For The World

A Soli Celebration!

It is a warm, Friday afternoon—the day before the Soli New Testament Launch—and six of us are tightly packed into a car, traveling through the Soli-lands, east of Lusaka, Zambia. I have never travelled through this part of country after the rains, and my heart is happy to see fields of corn and flowers stretching as far as I could see; all underneath the striking blue and white of the cloudy and endless African sky.

The rest of the day is busy with preparations; meetings with the High Chieftainess, headmen, and Soli Committee; and ensuring that nearly four thousand Soli New Testaments are delivered and secured. As I return home late that evening, I find myself still basking in the excitement—for tomorrow we celebrate something truly special: a people receiving something that is both a result of their own dedication, as well as the generosity of others—something which took faith and hard work—a longed for destination which is also the start of a new journey of discovery and understanding. The Soli New Testament is truly a gift from God, and the Soli are literally and metaphorically about to turn the page, and begin a new chapter in their walk with God.

The program reads as a tightly-packed, two-and-a-half-hour event—but you should know, there is no Zambian celebration that fits into a morning session! Dancing, music, and speeches abound—and we hear stories of victory and loss—of blessing and sacrifice. Throughout the many, varied, and colorful presentations, the heart and hand of God becomes clear—for the Soli people have come, just as they are, and they are loved by Him.

Joel Brown

Eyes of Light

Soli New Testament to be Released Soon!

Jesus made some pretty profound statements while he was here on this earth. Often times, a simple-seeming metaphor is not just food for thought, but a complex, sixteen-course, dining adventure for your mind! One of the great tasks for a Bible translator is to unravel these complexities and to make them clear in his or her own language and culture.

While working through the Gospel of Matthew, Soli translators working in Chongwe, Zambia got stuck on one such passage. In chapter 6, Jesus compares our eyes to lamps and says, “if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” The Soli words for lamps connotate electricity, wires, and switches, so do we have Jesus talk about turning on and off lights? Do we change the metaphor or educate about Jewish lamps? How can we say the same thing differently? And, the questions are not only about a word, but the concepts too—how can light be darkness? Is this talking about the medically blind or the spiritually lost? What does God want to say to the Soli people?

Well, He not only gave insight to the translators but this passage became a larger metaphor for the project itself. Instead of talking about physical lamps and bulbs, the translators were inspired to talk about “sources” of light and darkness. This took on special meaning for the translators, because the Soli Bible Translation project has been a source of light shining in some dark places and situations.

You see, these translators have been working through a period of drought—physically and spiritually. The Soli are subsistence farmers; life with limited water has increased economic hardship and decreased general health. Even though Soli people and churches have embraced Christ-like values, preaching and counseling against polygamy and ancestor worship, hard times breed temptations to seek help anywhere, anyway, and anyhow. The spiritual darkness that was pushed back when the Soli started turning to Jesus Christ has been creeping back into daily life.

The spiritual battle is not just a generalized one either. Over the course of the past few years, the translation team itself has been beset with tragedy. A founding team member died from health-related issues. Another translator was poisoned while working with local churches—later saying that, “I really felt the big man standing in for me.” Recently, members of the translation committee were involved in a horrible car accident—two persons dying from the injuries. However, the team has faithfully sought after God in the face of these troubles, and have found the peace and strength needed to carry on.

Alongside their work completing the New Testament, and using skills they’ve learned while pursuing Diplomas in Bible Translation, the Soli translators have been able: to release a Soli version of the Gospel of Mark, translate and show the Jesus film in Soli, support radio stations and newsletters with translated Soli scripture; begin to gather support for a literacy program; and support local church ministry endeavors. In so many ways, they have become “eyes” for the Soli community, looking into the Bible and revealing God’s truth in deeply meaningful ways. The translators have become a source of light in their dark times.

Now, with great joy and celebration, we get to announce the release and dedication of the Soli New Testament soon. The Soli Translation Committee has received a truckload of New Testaments, and for the first time in their history, the Soli people—children and adults, teachers and students; pastors and leaders—will have the New Testament in their own heart language.

This is a landmark occasion for the Soli people! When crowds were first able to see and hear the Jesus film in Soli, many were awestruck, saying, “Jesus speaks my language!” Now, with the entire New Testament available, Jesus’ powerful and oft enigmatic words can be heard and understood in new and amazing ways! Yes, Jesus speaks Soli and now the New Testament messages of truth, love, and light are available for the Soli people to understand clearly—in their own language.

Please, pray for the Soli Translation Project. Pray for the families affected by the recent accident. Pray for safety and wisdom for the translators as they continue to the Old Testament. Pray that the hearts, minds, and eyes of the Soli people will be open to the light of Jesus Christ!
If you want to get involved, start here.

Joel Brown

Launch of the Lambya New Testament in Malawi

A group of around 85,000 people in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania who speak Lambya as their mother tongue have just received the New Testament in their language for the very first time in 2016! Pastors from all denominations are preaching from it in their churches, and believers are reading the Bible in their own language for the first time. What an incredible thing to finally have the Word of God in your heart language!

As for the Old Testament, it is also well underway! 20 books, from Genesis to Proverbs, have already been checked by consultants, and the book of Daniel is currently being checked.

Audio Bibles in Lambya have also been distributed, and they have been so popular that there are no more available! People are so hungry for the Word of God in their heart language and audio Bibles are a wonderful way for the Lambya communities to access scripture. Please pray with us that more audio Bibles can be made available to every single person who wants one!

Sadly, John Kadalinga, who started the Lambya Bible translation project, passed away recently due to medical issues. Although we are greatly saddened by the loss, we know that the work he began was not in vain, and under the guidance of project leader Robert Mulagha, it will be completed. Please continue to pray for all of our translators and their families as they do this incredible work.

The Jesus Film in Chikunda

After recording the part of the Jesus' film when Jesus asked Peter to give him his boat so that he can preach to the crowd, we decided to have a real experience of getting into a boat. Not in the Jordan River, but in the mighty Zambezi River!

The team is still busy filming the movie. Already the excitement among the Chikunda people is growing. The anticipation of watching the Gospel of Luke on film in their heart language is something they hardly ever expected would happen.

The translation team is advancing fast to the completion of the whole Bible in Chikunda. The New Testament has already been published. All the books of the Old Testament have been reviewed by mother tongue speakers of Chikunda from Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The team is working with consultants (Greek and Hebrew experts) to ensure quality translations.

The Ila New Testament Launch, Zambia

The Ila New Testament, a first time translation, was launched on 11 July 2016.

All the churches were represented, by bishops, pastors, and church elders. There were representatives of the government, and Ila Chiefs and Headmen participated. Other guests included TWFTW partners (The Seed Company, the Bible Society of Zambia, and Every Tribe Every Nation), the COO of TWFTW International and personnel of TWFTW Zambia. Members of the Alabama Baptist Church which has been supporting the Ila translation project through the Seed Company since the inception of this project were also present. (This same group played a very important role during the distribution of these New Testaments, involved in handing them out to the people.)

The launch was preceded by an awareness march from the Post Office in Itezhi Tezhi to the Roman Catholic hall.
 
When the time came to hand over the New Testaments, Chief Shimbizhi and his people came walking in with spears, carrying a box with Ila New Testaments. All the people stood up and there was great jubilation, with people spontaneously singing and clapping and doing traditional dances. The translators were the first recipients of the published New Testaments.

No sooner had some people received their copies than they started reading, and one could hear pages being turned over. It was a joyful moment to see even children queuing outside for the Testaments. Food and soft drinks were provided for everyone.

Thank God that the Ila people now at last have the New Testament in the language God gave them. Work is already progressing on translating the Old Testament also.