I am a Child of God!

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Kofi John is a disabled man in the Pogoro-speaking village of Isongo, Tanzania. Although he has been disabled since birth, he has a full life, with a wife, five children, and a variety of livestock. He and his family make their living through farming the land and keeping chickens and ducks. He shares with great excitement about the goodness of God in his life since he read the Word of God in Pogoro.

“It is a great benefit to have a Bible which was written in your mother tongue, because it speaks directly to your heart. God is the owner of all languages. We feel so happy in our hearts when we read the Pogoro Bible because we know that God is speaking to us.”

After the release of the Pogoro New Testament, Kofi was also released from his loneliness. He started meeting regularly with a group of people to discuss the Bible and to pray with them. Now that they have the Word of God in their mother tongue, they are eager to fellowship together and study this Bible that they can now clearly understand.

“The Pogoro Bible made me see that I am very important to God,” Kofi John told us. “I read about Jesus and Peter and John healing cripples, and the love God has for us, and I know now that God did not create me by mistake. It has renewed my mind and I know that I am a child of God.”

Please, I Need Jesus

The Word of God continues to penetrate the hearts of many people when they hear or read it in their mother tongue, and they are changed by it.

In December, I took a trip with the Pogoro project leader, John Kahonga, to visit the Pogoro people in some of the villages of Tanzania. We ended up speaking with some of the youth in one particular village, telling them about God and answering their questions (some of which were very difficult!).

Then I told John to read them the Bible in Pogoro. Before we read to them, I showed them the Bible and said, “This is Jesus for you. When you read this today, you will see Him.”

John started reading. The Pogoro language has a very sweet, genuine sound. As they heard the words, the young people said, “What you said isn’t a joke, this is real!” One of them stood up and was almost crying.

“Please,” he said, “I need Jesus.” I asked him what had happened to make him say this, and he replied, “I don’t know, it is difficult to say. In my heart I know I need Jesus.” Five others also stood up and said, “What we have heard from you today has touched our hearts. Please help us to follow Jesus.”

We prayed with them and they all gave their hearts to Christ. Since we left, they have been keeping in contact with the Pogoro translators and have been going to church regularly.

Glory be to God!

Story and photos supplied by George Chombo.

The Bible in Our Heart Language

“It is the right time for God's Word to shine into the hearts of Pogoro people,” says Barnabas Sigwasa, the pastor of Pentecost Church in Tanzania. “When my wife and I started our church, we had five members. But then some people brought the gospel of John in Pogoro into our village and started reading it, and I brought it to use in my church.

“It was a miracle! At the first Sunday service where we read the Bible in Pogoro, 6 people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. The next Sunday, 8 more people came to believe in God. I can see that there is great power in reading the Bible in our own language. Nowadays, people come from far away just to hear us read the Bible in Pogoro, and now our church has 22 members because of it.

“My wife and I rejoice and thank God for the miracle of the Pogoro Bible. To read the Bible in our own language will save many lives.”

Story and photos supplied by George Chombo.

Music in Our Heart Language

The people in Mukumbura, Zimbabwe speak Kore Kore, which falls under the Shona group of languages. The Word for the World is currently working on the Kore Kore translation project.

Nisbert Chagoka, who lives in Mukumbura, accepted Christ earlier this year and is still learning about the Bible. The joy of salvation is still fresh and burning inside him. 

"I'm feeling very happy that the Kore Kore Bible will soon be here,” he said. “It will help us if there is a Bible in Kore Kore so that we can understand it even better.” He has a passion for music and he has several Christian which he has composed himself in Kore Kore, and he hopes to one day record them.

When the Kore Kore Bible becomes available, it is not only going to be beneficial for reading in church or at home but it will also enable young people like Nisbert Chagoka to be able to compose songs in their own Kore Kore language for the benefit and edification of the Kore Kore people. Many Christian songs and music have been penned, composed or derived from the Bible. Music forms an integral part of Christian life and there is no better source for this music than the Word of God itself, in the language that we understand the most, our heart language!

Story and photos supplied by Piniel Tawanda Zimbizi.

The Word of God is God’s Story

illumiNations Bible partners with several Bible translation organizations, including The Word for the World, to provide God’s Word in everyone’s heart language in a format they can engage with so their lives may be transformed. To learn more, visit their website here.

When the Chaga people of Tanzania see Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world proudly raised at 20,000 feet, they boldly declare their only reasonable response: kibo, which means “wow!”

As we reflect on this illumiNations weekend, kibo feels like our only reasonable response to all we experienced. God is opening doors like never before for the Word of God to reach the nations. Jesus is showing Himself strong on behalf of the unreached.

Louie Giglio shared with us, “God meets our obedience with His faithfulness.”

There were so many kibo moments from our weekend together. Friends, we celebrate the stunning generosity and faith-filled obedience you demonstrated. Thank you for your response to pour into the nations what lasts forever.

This Book is Alive,
Mart Green and Todd Peterson
illumiNations Bible

The Feet That Bring Good News

Sometimes George Chombo, who works with The Word for the World’s Promotions department, carries Bibles on foot so that he can reach places and people that are unreachable by car or motorcycle. Recently he did this to bring some of the Nguu people their completed New Testament, and they were ecstatic to receive the Scripture in their own language! Many of the people are Muslim, but they are filled with joy that something like the Bible has been translated into their language, and they even gather together to read it.

One elderly man told George the good that God has done in his life since he received news of the Nguu Bible translation project. In 2016 he was very sick and could also not see with his left eye, so he had to rely on his right eye. Just before he went for an operation to improve the eye, he had a dream.

He said that he saw someone give him the Nguu Bible, and the person who gave it to him said, “You will not go for an operation for your eye, but instead you will be healed. But tell of this and speak with the older people in your village about the Nguu Bible.” When he woke up the next morning, he realized he could see out of his left eye! So he went right away to the church to tell his pastor about the dream, and the pastor told him, “Jesus Christ was the man in your dream, and He has healed you.” Praise God!

Story and photos supplied by George Chombo.

Revolutionizing Translation

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Historically, the model for Bible translation was this: a (usually) white, Western missionary would go and live in a village, spend time learning the language, and then set about the mammoth task of translating the entire Bible by himself. It was a process that could easily take a lifetime to complete. And, as incredible it was that those people finally had some scripture in their language, the translation often wasn’t as natural as it would have been had a mother tongue speaker completed it.

The Word for the World is a Bible translation organization, yes – but one that is driven by the vision of training and empowering mother tongue speakers to translate the complete Bible into their own language. These translations are accurate, clear, and natural, which is vital to people’s understanding of the Word of God! The process is usually also cut down by a considerable amount of time, and those people groups are able to receive the Bible much more quickly.

To find out more about our training, visit twftw.org/training! We thank you for your continued prayer and support as we work to bring the Word to everyone in their heart language.

Veronique Krüger

A Bible in My Language

I'm Mrs Regine Masuku and I live in Dombodema with my husband, Peter Masuku. I'm joyful to hear that the Bible will now be translated into our language of Kalanga. We normally use English or Ndebele Bibles, but it is so difficult because there are elderly people here who do not understand English. So I find this translation to be a good work that has been planned. We ask and desire that God may bless us with this and we also thank the person who came up with this idea, because this person has remembered us. May he also give us wise people who are fully equipped who will make it possible for this Bible to be produced. Let us unite as Kalanga people and see that our Bible is produced, because if we don't have our own Bible, it's like we are lost. It is said that a child who does not cry will die of hunger, so let's cry together, crying as we act, as we work, and as we help each other.

Story and photo provided by Piniel Zimbizi.

Persecution and Perseverance

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Bahadur*, our translator from a community in South Asia, was facing a lot of resistance from his friends, relatives, and elders of the village. However, he continued with the translation and used to share from the books of the Bible that the tam had translated so far. Their community has no other written material in their own language. Fascinated by the text in their own language and Bahadur’s commitment to the project, his people continued to visit and talk to him.

The governing body in the village, hearing of his determination, took him to task. They decreed that he should either leave the Christian faith or face excommunication. This meant that he had to leave his house, family, relatives, and friends to go somewhere else to start his life anew. Since Bahadur has been translating the Bible, he drew strength from it and decided to stand firm for the name of Jesus. He bid farewell to everything he had known so far and without hesitation left the village.

Bahadur’s daunting and courageous stance convinced his parents and some friends of his faith to trust Jesus. Reading from the Word of God lent credibility to his words. The story of Jesus, his persecution, and death mirrored the situation they saw in the case of Bahadur. In time his sister and brother-in-law began to see the hope of salvation in Jesus and became believers. Soon he started getting visits from others who kept their faith in Jesus a secret. Over time, inspired by Bahadur's stance they started making their faith public. They have now decided to voice their right to live and believe in Jesus, in as much as those who oppose them. They are preparing to start a church in the very village that once excommunicated Bahadur!

Our hopes and prayers are that the Church, based on the Word, will be an enduring hope for those seeking truth and salvation in that community.

*pseudonym