The Ndendeule people are one of the less-populated language groups in Tanzania, and they live in a rural area in the southern part of Tanzania in the Ruvuma Region. There are about 150,000 Ndendeule language speakers compared to about 15 million Swahili speakers. Their daily lives are very different from the lives of those living in the urban areas of Tanzania. They sustain themselves primarily on maize porridge with vegetables collected from the forests. Their only industry comes from farming maize, sunflowers, sesame, and soya beans.
Ndendeule means “What shall I do”. They shared with us that in their broader culture, the Ndendeule people are thought to be cowards because they don’t like fighting. They are a peaceful people, and they say that is why it was easy for the Ngoni people to push them out of the nearest town of Ruvuma to the remote forests of Lituli, where they are now settled. We are encouraged that Jesus calls the body of Christ to go to every tribe and every tongue and that no people group, no matter how small in number, is by any means small to God.
There has been a huge jump in new mother-tongue Bible translation projects across Tanzania, and we thank God for the two Ndendeule translators, Nicolaus Geho and Pendo Ponela, who felt God’s call on them to train to become translators to work towards translating the Bible into their own Ndenduele language.
We are excited to hear how this project, which started in 2011, has impacted individuals who have come to Christ and the empowering impact on local pastors and evangelists. The Jesus Film that was recorded into the Ndendeule language has brought people together to learn how Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
Nicolaus is one of the translators and testifies to what God has done in his heart and life. He is 44 years old, a husband, and a father of four children. Before he heard the Gospel and put his trust in Christ, he was a Muslim and practiced witchcraft which he had learned from his grandfather. After he accepted Jesus, he repented of those sins, began to follow Christ, and then responded to the call to train to become a translator of the Bible.
The Ndenduele community says that various people were addicted to alcohol; but now they have stopped drinking and have turned towards taking much better care of their families.
One of the powerful aspects of mother-tongue Bible translation is how it supports, strengthens, and encourages pastors and evangelists in the area to preach the Word of God more easily and effectively. This fruit is evident in the Ndendeule area. They say that the elders who preached using the Bible in the National Language could not fully understand the Word. But now, when they listen to the Word of God in their heart language, it has become effortless for them to understand.
- She is 31 Years old
- She joined TWFTW in 2011
- She has one daughter
- She graduated in 2020 with her Diploma in Bible Translation which is offered by TWFTW
- He is 44 years old
- He is married to one wife with 4 children
- He joined TWFTW in 2011, he has worked in translation activities for about 11 years