Soon a Safwa marching band took the field. Painted turquoise flowers shone fluorescent from their faces. One man carried a big bass drum—of African cowhide, tied with leather cords—on his chest, his beat resonating with the feet of the dancers.
Translating Scripture is no easy undertaking. It takes years of dedication and the patience of many but the end results, are oh so very rewarding. You see, Bible translation is a mixture of hard work and celebration.
Dedications for Scripture are amazing events to be a part of. Whole communities turn up, driven by a curious desire to participate. These are times of great celebration; and why not, God’s word is finally in their language!
From parades to dancers, Join Steve and Mary Pence as they take us on a journey with this brilliantly detailed description of the celebration that followed the completion of Mark’s Gospel in the Safwa language.
Our growing procession wound through the narrow market streets of Mbalizi, a Sawfa-speaking community near our Mbeya translation office in southwest Tanzania. Merchants and their customers stared at us amidst racks of used shoes, sacks of corn, and stacks of shiny pots… (Read Steve and Mary’s full story here).
But there is still much more work to be done:
For Waya, Mwasonzwe, Andrea, and the Safwa people, there is much to feel good about, much to celebrate. God’s Word has arrived. But it has only begun to arrive. Completion of the New Testament is several years away. Literacy rates must rise. Safwa churches and believers need to learn to use God’s Word in their meetings and their lives. But today, in their dances, in their music, in the words of their leaders, Safwa people are now agreeing together that this work of Bible translation is Safwa work.