Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Three unexpected guests

Monday, July 6th, 2015

How long would you wait for God to move in your community? Here is a great story from Tanzania of three church leaders who, after hearing that work had been started on translating Scripture into their own language of Ndali (something they had been waiting years for!), journeyed from their community to visit the translation team in Mbeya. Mark, a member of the translation team, recounts their visit:

‘After introducing themselves they presented a letter, asking that they be kept informed of the progress of the project, attend advisory meetings, and have access to the books that are being distributed. Their desire for Ndali books was obvious, as they explained how they use Scriptures from the neighbouring Ngonde language in church, despite it being difficult for them to understand.

Seeing some of the Bible books that our office has produced in Ndali, their eyes lit up with excitement! They pleaded that they should at least be able to take home a sample of the books, as they think through how to build a sustainable distribution network. “The people back home will not believe that these books really exist!” they exclaimed, “except there are three of us, so they’ll have to believe us!”

As they were preparing to start their journey back home, one of the men turned to me and said, “I am old, like Simeon in the Bible. Simeon had been waiting for many years to see God save his people, and was overjoyed when he finally saw Jesus when he was a very old man. I tried to start the work of translation many years ago, and now I feel like Simeon, that I have finally seen what I have been waiting for all these years!” ‘

Read the full story on Mark’s blog:

You can help bring God’s word to people in their heart language in many ways! Find out how you can be involved.

Equipping the right people for the task

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Where Bible translation is concerned, a passion for the task at hand is vital, but not all that is required. In order to produce a high-quality, natural-sounding, accurate translation, people willing to do the task need to be given the right training.

Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS) in the North West region of Cameroon has chosen to take an active role in Bible translation. By sponsoring a Bible translation degree programme, they are training Cameroonian Bible translators and expanding the available resources for Bible translation in their country.

Emmanuel Keyeh

Emmanuel Keyeh, CABTAL staff member and an adjunct professor at CBTS, teaches a mother tongue literacy course that is part of the Bachelor of Arts in Bible Translation programme.

CABTAL* staff member Emmanuel Keyeh teaches mother tongue literacy at the seminary. He says the Bible translation programme is an intentional way to help get the right people involved and trained in the Bible translation ministry, so that they have the appropriate skills to serve their own people.

Rev. Nseimboh Johnson Nyiangoh is the current president of CBTS. He believes that the use of mother tongue Scriptures is vital. He works in the area of counselling, and he’s found that many people’s difficulties are tied to their struggle to keep their identity.

‘Our mother tongue is our identity,’ he says. ‘When the Bible speaks to people in their mother tongue, it touches them at their heart. They begin to see God like their God.’

A Translator for Every Language Community

Since the Bible translation degree program at CBTS started, 21 people have graduated, and 18 of these are serving in Bible translation projects.

Efi Tembon, director of CABTAL, says when Cameroonians are trained in Bible translation, their experience and skills stay in the community and lead to a more sustainable Bible translation movement.

And, with around 100 languages still needing a Bible translation, Rev. Mbongko says that much work has yet to be done to train an adequate number of personnel.

‘We want to give each language group a trained theologian and Bible translator,’ he says.

Please join us in prayer:

  • Thank God that Cameroonian Bible translators are being trained and using their skills
  • Pray that God would provide all the resources CBTS needs
  • Pray that God would make a way for CBTS to train people from more than 50 language communities in Cameroon
  • Pray that God would raise up men and women who have a burden for Bible translation


The information for this post was taken from Developing Deep Roots in Scripture by Elaine Bombay. Read the full article here.

* CABTAL (Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy) is a participating organization in the Wycliffe Global Alliance.

Photo by Rodney Ballard

Everyone needs a helping hand

Friday, June 26th, 2015

I recently had a conversation with a friend and colleague who is at the start of her home leave after four years working in a difficult environment in Africa. Weary and a little frustrated she described to me the situation she had left. Her passion for Bible translation is still strong but some of challenges she faced had left her discouraged.

A YWAM Bangui staff member, who is from Cameroon, walks with his toddler son.

A YWAM Bangui staff member, who is from Cameroon, walks with his toddler son.

The branch she works with is understaffed. She told me that for the entire four years that she was overseas, there had been no one in their personnel department. This means that there were no trained personnel on the ground available to care for workers. As a result, she told me, at least two families had returned home or left earlier than they would have had they had better support.

Everyone in their branch is doing more than one job and so feels pulled in many directions. Consequently they have less time to give to their primary work. It doesn’t matter how well trained, dynamic or capable we are, at times everyone needs a helping hand.

It may not be immediately obvious but the Bible translation team needs many support workers. Like the personnel staff that my colleague mentioned, they are a vital part of the team and without them the rest of the team cannot function as it should.

Please pray:

  • That God would provide people to fill all the empty human resources positions around the world. There are particular needs in Africa.
  • Praise God for itinerant personnel staff who travel between several countries to support staff, run workshops and offer help. This work can be draining; please pray for their physical strength and spiritual vitality.

‘He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”‘ Luke 10:2 NIV

Check out specific vacancies you can ask God to fill. Find out how you could serve.

No longer ‘enslaved to sin’

Friday, June 5th, 2015

The word of God is powerful and transforms lives. For that reason, we believe everyone should be able to access the word of God in their heart language. Sometimes, even a very small amount of God’s word can bring about big transformation.

IMGP9629A Lutos man from Central African Republic (CAR), was forced to move temporarily to Bangui, where the Lutos translation team were working at that time. The man was present while the Lutos team translated a pamphlet called ‘The heart of man is enslaved to sin’. He was very touched by what they discussed, and this is his account of how God changed his life:

‘One day at around 5:00 am, when I was still in bed, I was awakened to people banging on my door. I got up and called out, “What is it?” One of them responded to me, “If you don’t get out here quickly  you’re going to find a grenade in bed with you.”

I immediately began calling out protection spells to keep these people out. However, they were still able to break in. They took me to the place that mobs go to administer vigilante justice. They tied me up so I couldn’t move. I realized that I was in serious trouble, so I began to call out to the God I didn’t believe in, to forgive me for all the wrong that I’ve done.

I was accused by the mob of bewitching a young pregnant woman. Now I knew that I had nothing to do with that but I knew that it was because of all the witchcraft that I was involved in that I was being blamed for it.

I was eventually released. After reflecting on all that happened and on what the Lutos pamphlet said, I realized that I was far from God and truly my heart was enslaved to sin. Today I live in Bangui. I certainly would love to be home but Bangui is the only safe place for me and my family. I have abandoned all my traditional practices so that I can truly follow Him.’

CAR is a country that has been crippled by civil war, ethnic and religious strife. It is still unstable.

Praise God for the power of his word especially in this man’s life. Please pray:

  • that scripture that has already been translated would impact many lives in CAR and many would encounter the power of God through it.
  • that God continues to enable translation projects in CAR to move forward despite all the challenges that they face.
  • for peace in CAR and peaceful elections later this year.


Love to pray for the world? Follow @wycliffeuk_pray on twitter for daily prayer needs and more.

One Single Hand Cannot Break Open a Cola Nut

Monday, May 25th, 2015

This month marked the 25th anniversary of SIL’s work in Chad. To celebrate the amazing work that has happened for the different language communities in Chad over these last 25 years, a ceremony was held and attended by representatives of local language communities, several government agencies, the university of N’Djamena, church partners, other NGOs and civil society organisations.

Group photo

It is an immense joy to give a sincere testimony regarding the partnership between the Federation of Associations for the Promotion of Guera Languages(FAPLG) and SIL Chad. SIL helped FAPLG be born and grow up in the difficult Guera region. — Mr Adjbane Akouna Djimet, Vice President of the Federation of Associations for the Promotion of Guera Languages (FAPLG)

I rejoice in all the accomplishments in the development of Chadian languages… the result of a fruitful collaboration with the Chadian state, national church organizations and other non-governmental institutions. Today we celebrate the proverbial truth that ‘one single hand cannot break open a cola nut.’ — Dr Michel Kenmogne, SIL International Executive Director Designate

Read the full story from SIL on the celebration of twenty-five years of partnership with Chad’s language communities.

Here at Wycliffe, along with our partner organisations such as SIL, we believe in partnering with local communities and translators to work together in bringing their languages into written words that they can read and understand. Ultimately we share the goal of bringing Scripture to people in a language that resonates with them the most – their heart language. As this celebration in Chad shows, by uniting and working together, by sharing our resources and committing to each other – amazing things can happen!

Find out how you can support and be involved in this amazing work.

Stepping out in faith

Friday, May 8th, 2015

You may have noticed that almost all of Wycliffe’s members are not salaried, but funded by individuals and churches who support them. Raising support can start out as a real challenge, only to turn into a faith-building adventure as God provides, often from unexpected sources. Churches and Christian friends all have the opportunity to be part of this adventure with God, either by going themselves, or by supporting someone who is!

In the West, we have an historic understanding of this pattern of support. But it’s another story for our colleagues from other parts of the world. They have the same needs, but face the additional challenge that the church there is more used to receiving missionaries than sending them.

A woman gives for the missions offering at her churchTwelve of our colleagues from Nigeria are in this exact position. Pam Hollman, a Wycliffe UK member in Nigeria, explains further:

‘This month is a very important one for twelve of our Nigerian colleagues working with SIL Nigeria – 15% of the group’s staff. They are “Nigerian Missionary Staff” (NMS). That means they are seeking to be supported by their local churches and individuals just as we are from the West. Ultimately this is the only way to sustainability for the language development, translation and Scripture engagement work. However, the idea of local church support for missionaries is a fairly new concept here and these colleagues have not been finding it easy.

So, starting today (Monday 4th May) and during the whole of this month a specific course has been arranged to help them with this – to provide ideas, tools, help with making contacts with possible supporters and so on to encourage them along. They will not be doing their normal work but will be able to concentrate wholly from Mondays to Fridays on this activity. Coaches are available to work with them and support them and each one has at least one designated prayer supporter behind them. From mid-June to mid-September they will be putting into practice what they have learned with the goal of raising their support. ‘

Please pray:

  • that the training course will be very useful and faith will rise as a result.
  • for local churches to gain a full understanding of the importance of their support of  ‘national missionaries’, whether financial and prayer support or in other more practical ways.
  • that God will abundantly provide for the twelve who are taking this step of faith.

Read ‘the elephant in the room’ and discover the challenges Wycliffe members face in raising their support.

The method of writing tone

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Translating the Bible is just one part of what is needed to bring God’s word to a community. Another important aspect is to teach people to be able to easily read what has been written!

Many languages are tonal – the sounds of vowels can be high and low (and sometimes in between).  Making sure that a writing system denotes this clearly is critical for the fluent understanding of the readers.  This is where Tone Orthography Workshops come in. To put it simply, tone orthography is the method of writing tone. These workshops help translators develop accurate writing systems so that people can read the Bible fluently when a translation is finished.

This brilliant video from Cameroon gives you a glimpse into life as a Bible translator and a brief look at what happens in these Tone Orthography workshops.  Have a watch and share with your friends.

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Find out more about the work of Bible Translation and how you can help.

Trials and testing

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Many translators work in very difficult situations. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been through years of civil war and rebel activity. Such insecurity has a ripple effect into everyday life impacting the availability of food, good medical provision and schooling, to name just a few things.

Omi team and Kabucungu

Kabucungu (back) with the Omi team

Just recently Congolese translation consultant Kabucungu and his colleague Sarah visited the Omi project, in the DRC, to check some of portions of the New Testament that the team have drafted. Sarah describes just a few of the issues they face:

‘The Omi translators work in an isolated situation and have faced big challenges in recent years, including insecurity caused by rebel activity, and the departure of a series of leaders from the project. Last year the two most experienced translators in the team suffered big health setbacks. Pario was off work for several months because of an operation for cancer, and Alimadri has just come to the end of a six month absence caused by a heart condition. Their computers were paralysed by viruses for several months – a very poor internet connection meant that they were not able to update anti-virus protection. A lack of available translation consultants means that Omi drafts of various New Testament books are stacking up waiting for the necessary checks. Translating the New Testament can sometimes seem like a test of endurance in the desert.’

Despite all this the team continues work and progress is being made. Back to Sarah:

‘Our time together was intensive and uplifting. Kabucungu and I took turns to lead the checking sessions with the team, and we managed to complete the books of 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy. It was a great bonus to have Kabucungu with us. His own experience as a translator in tough conditions, his pastoral heart and his infectious sense of humour were a huge help in encouraging the translators to keep persevering in challenging conditions.’

Please praise God for the checking that Kabucungu and Sarah were able to do with the Omi team.

Please pray:

  • for perseverance, protection and continuing progress for the Omi translators.
  • for more translation consultants to work with the Omi and other teams in DRC, so that translation drafts can be finalised.
  • for opportunities for more Omi people to hear God’s Word in Omiti, and that it will bring new life and faith.

Find more ways to pray for the DRC using our Frontline Prayer module.

IMG_4788Sarah Casson is a translation consultant and spends most of her time training translators at Shalom University, Bunia. To better equip her for this work, she is currently based in London and doing doctoral studies. She loves cricket and beautiful gardens.


Pray for the persecuted church

Friday, April 10th, 2015

More and more frequently on the mainstream news, we hear about the persecution of Christians; beheadings in Iraq, kidnappings and killings in Nigeria and much more.

Praying handsIt’s easy to be overwhelmed by the horror of these events and feel unable to make a difference. Yet we serve a God for whom nothing is impossible. As I’ve found out more about Christians under pressure, the overwhelming message that I’ve seen is this: the number one, most significant thing we can do for persecuted Christians, is to pray for them.

Yet it’s hard to know how to pray. For that reason we’ve compiled a Frontline prayer module which is available online free to download, called ‘Pray for the Persecuted Church‘.

This module will give enough material to inform you and help you to pray for about an hour. You’ll take a whistle-stop tour to many areas of the world where despite persecution the Christians are standing strong and Bible translation is happening. We give you facts and figures, videos to watch which help you understand the situation and motivate you to pray, as well as lots and lots of prayer needs. The module will help you grasp the issues and challenges facing Christians who are persecuted and resource you to pray intelligently. It’s ideal for use with groups of any size.

Hebrews 13:3 tells us ‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Will you pray for those members of our Christian family that are suffering today?

Check out the downloadable resource, ‘Pray for the persecuted church‘.

If you are interested in the persecuted church there is a great opportunity to find out more by attending the World Changers event ‘Church under pressure‘, in Reading on 18th April. The day is free but places are limited so please book.

Big impacts from small beginnings

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Christmas and Easter are wonderful opportunities to share small portions of translated Scripture. When people first hear God’s word in their own language the impact is often huge resulting in amazing revelation and transformation.

Karon Christmas story SD cardsTranslation in the Karon language of Senegal has recently started. In preparation for Christmas a dramatised reading of Luke 1 and 2 was recorded along with 8 Christmas songs composed using these chapters of the Bible. 250 SD memory cards were duplicated, along with a booklet of the printed chapters, a small glossary and lyrics of the 8 songs. An elderly man was dying and listened to the recording over and over all day long. Before he died he gave his life to Jesus.

The Aghem project started in 2005 and one of the first things they produced was the Easter story so that the Aghem people could celebrate Easter fully understanding the power of the resurrection of Christ.

Aghem Easter Story Flyer

10 years later and the whole of the New Testament is drafted. More and more churches are using the portions that have been published. A song book has now been printed and an Aghem dictionary is near to completion. However, it is often in the final stages of translating the New Testament and preparing it for print that teams face the greatest opposition. Please stand with the Aghem team so they can meet their goal to launch the New Testament in 2016.

Please pray:

  • for all the language communities around the world that will hear God’s word in their heart language for the first time this Easter.
  • that God will prepare the hearts of the whole Aghem community to receive his word.
  • that God would intervene and bring stability to the nations impacted by the actions of Boko Haram.
  • for safety when travelling, good health and protection for all the Aghem team and their families.
  • for functional literacy classes; that many in the Aghem community will learn to read and write in preparation for the publication of the New Testament.

The Aghem project is overseen by our partner CABTAL. Go to the CABTAL website for more information about the project.