“Yes, there are many things happening in Zambia tomorrow, but here in Chongwe, the day is all about celebration, as we receive the New Testament in our OWN language, and the Soli can read the Bible in Soli for the FIRST TIME EVER! Praise be to God!”
These were the words of one of the Soli translators as he was being interviewed on the radio the day before the Soli launch. The morning of the launch was filled with excitement, but for me, there was one moment that said it all: the first time the Soli Bible was read publicly to the Soli people.
When our lead Soli translator took the stage, with tears in his eyes, a watchful quiet started to rise. The silence gained strength as he opened the Bible and started reading; and when those first Soli words were read aloud, something amazing—reminiscent of Pentecost—occurred. A moment of intense silence instantly stuck the crowd as a palpable spirit of understanding, astonishment, and joy spread like a wildfire amongst the gathered Soli.
Even up to this moment, some were skeptical, asking themselves—Can I ever really understand what’s in this Bible? Can these local Soli men really translate the holy book? Will we be abandoned or forgotten? Does God actually speak my language? It was in this moment that their skepticism was dismissed, and the astonished silence gave way to the most jubilant and resounding cheers of the day as God made it abundantly clear, “Yes, I speak Soli!”