Endless savannas, beautiful lakes, and friendly people who love the Word of God – these are only a few of the things that describe Zambia.
We recently returned from a trip to Zambia where we visited all five of the translation projects. Four of the projects are fairly new, but a substantial amount of the New Testament has already been translated. The Soli project has a printed New Testament and the translators are working on the Old Testament.
Most of the villages we visited are very remote and we had to travel for hours to reach them - from the Bwile project, which lies close to the Northern border, to the Luyana project situated in the West. Upon our arrival, most of the villagers would be waiting for us in church – men, women, and children dressed in their Sunday best. The churches are mostly constructed from mud with rows of wooden benches.
The question most often asked – when? When will they get a printed New Testament? We heard testimony upon testimony about how there have already been changes in the lives of people by just reviewing the work the translators are doing. Pastors testified about how the translated sections of the Bible have helped them understand the scriptures and how they are now able to explain it to their people. God is no longer a foreign God to them, but their God, who speaks their language.
The memory of this trip that we will cherish forever is how passionate the translators are about their work and how the communities eagerly await even the smallest section of translated scripture. How, even though we live in very different worlds, the love of God unites us in a very unique way and even though we speak different languages, we belong to the same tribe. We are not that different after all.
Greg & Erica Kirkby