Posts Tagged ‘Togo’

When the heat is on: finishing the Bassar Bible

Monday, February 10th, 2014

We know, as Christians, that there will always be spiritual opposition to what we do to serve God. It has been our experience that when a New Testament or Bible is near to completion that spiritual opposition often increases. This story from Togo is a good example:

Samuel's car after the accident‘Praise the Lord for his protection of Bassar translator, Samuel Kpagheri. On December 23rd Samuel was driving to Kara for a final revision of hyphens and word breaks for the Bassar, (also called Ntcham) Bible. All of a sudden the steering wheel locked, the vehicle left the road and plunged into a ravine. The car was totally demolished, but by God’s gracious miracle Samuel, his computer and the pages of the manuscript were saved. Praise God! Samuel did have a minor head injury, but the outcome could have been very different. Samuel and all those involved with the project see this as part of the spiritual warfare they are engaged in. There is spiritual opposition to the completion of this Bible.

  • Ask God to continue to protect everyone and all aspects of the work.
  • Pray that they will succeed in completing the manuscript and having it printed soon in South Korea.
  • Pray also for the Bassar language association as they seek to organise a dedication ceremony for this whole Bible in November 2014.’

Praise God that Samuel has finished proofreading the Bassar Bible and it has been sent to South Korea. Please join us in praying for all that needs to happen before the Bassar people can hold the full Bassar Bible in their hands.

Download The Finish Line, a Wycliffe USA publication to help you pray for translation projects that are nearing completion.

Discover more about Bible translation in Togo.

 

Safe arrivals in Togo

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Yesterday, five folks from Wycliffe’s Youth Network (WYnet) arrived in Togo, where they are due to visit the Bassar project, which they have been supporting for many, many years. Their latest update:

‘We have made it to Togo! The journey was very good; there were no delays of flights, we made our connection and security checks were not a problem. Our luggage made it too, in Lomé we found it all whilst we waited for our visas to be granted.

‘We are now at the SIL guesthouse in Lomé (SIL is a partner organisation of Wycliffe Bible Translators). Food was waiting for us; couscous and chicken in a green sauce, we then turned in for an early night after thanking God for the day.

‘Today has been very relaxed, a late-ish breakfast, a nice lunch, a few card games in between. Steve had to go out in the morning to change our Euros into CFA Francs and do a bit of shopping for our time in Bassar. Tonight we are spending some time with a member of Wycliffe called Becky who has been here for five years, helping to produce a dictionary in a local language – this will help standardise the language, aid new speakers of the language and improve the accuracy of Scripture that’s produced. In the last couple of years she’s helped to do personnel work for SIL.

‘Tomorrow at 7am we will start our journey to Bassar in a minibus. The journey normally takes around seven hours.’

Some people, like the translator in the Bassar project, do Bible translation by translating. Some do Bible translation by producing dictionaries and doing personnel work, like Becky. Some, like the WYnet team, do it by supporting projects through prayer, finance and encouragement.

Keep the team in your prayers as they travel. Find out more about how you can be involved with furthering Bible translation around the world.

Remembering Mary Gardner

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Today we fondly remember Wycliffe worker Mary Gardner, who died in Jerusalem one year ago today, and celebrate the continuing work in Togo.

Mary teaching Greek in Togo

Mary had worked with speakers of the Ifè language, in Togo since 1990, and had been involved with developing a writing system and dictionary, starting literacy classes and preparing materials, and working on the New Testament translation with Togolese mother-tongue translators. In 2009, the New Testament was dedicated.

In the early part of 2011, Mary had travelled to Jerusalem, to The Home for Bible Translators, to study Hebrew. Learning Hebrew was part of her training to become a translation consultant, so that she could support the Ifè translators as they translated the Old Testament. It was on one of her days off when that a bomb exploded at a bus shelter where she was waiting.

We praise God for Mary, for her service and her love for the Ifè people. Her death has not stopped their work.

A Togolese organisation, ACATBLI (The Christian Association for Literacy and Bible Translation in the Ifè Language), runs the work of translation and literacy classes in the area, and progress is being made. Their literacy programmes have flourished: 6 areas are covered (including Ifè people in Benin), making up 100 study groups in which 4,000 people meet twice a week. As well as equipping them to read and write in Ifè, classes teach maths and French (the national language). Increased literacy has helped to share information about health issues, including HIV/Aids and Guinea Worm.

Members of ACATBLI shared this about remembering Mary:

“This March 23, 2012 will be the first anniversary of the death of our dear Mary Gardner Mariya from Ifè project wich becom ACATBLI today. Dear Mariya, ACATBLI and Ifè people will not forget you. Rest your soul.”

You can find out more about Mary from our biography of last year, and more about ACATBLI on their website (fr).

The Ifè are learning to read God’s word in their language. 350 million people still can’t, because they don’t have God’s word in their language. What can I do?

A Togolese Adventure

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

A couple of months ago, a small group of young people headed off to Togo to visit a Bible translation project that they have been supporting and praying for through WYnet, Wycliffe’s Youth Network. One of the adventurers, Nathan, reflects:

“I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect before I went to Togo. I’d never been that far away from home before or even left Europe, so culture shock was probably unavoidable. Several things immediately hit me when I arrived: the heat, the humidity and the road safety (or lack of it!).

On the first full day in Bassar, when visiting a church, I was captivated byseeing how the church service was conducted. Although the style of sermon and the arrangement of the church were far removed from what I’m used to, the Lord was definitely working.

I enjoyed sampling a new culture, with new customs and practices. Buying from the local market was certainly a new experience! Other activities like farming and cooking traditional meals helped give a better idea of what the culture and everyday life is for people there.

Seeing how the Bible translation happened was a highlight of my time there. I had a vague idea of how Bible translation worked but having the opportunity to get hands on and fabricate some Scripture booklets was great. It made the trip worthwhile to have something to distribute to people.

The Lord has really given me enthusiasm for evangelism and world mission since this trip. I’ve been praying for Bible translation in Togo for about three years now, but this trip gave me a far better picture of the actual situation and the specific things that need prayer.

The final thing that I took away from the trip was a new appreciation for the beauty, grandeur and majesty of the world that God has created. Seeing the stunning hills and landscapes there was just amazing. It became clear to me that God made such a wonderful world because he is such a wonderful God. That was probably one of the last things I thought I would take away from the trip, but for me was actually the biggest thing I learnt and the thing I will remember most.”

WYnet are devoted to supporting Bible translation and encouraging each other in their walks with God. If you’d like to know more, visit wynetuk.org. You can support Bible translation – even if you’re not quite of WYnet age anymore – through Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Celebrations in Nyamngan

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

The Gangam people in northern Togo and Benin are getting ready to celebrate the launch of the first New Testament in their language. Work started in the language more than three decades ago.

Celebrating a New Testament Launch in nearby language Moba

Celebrating a New Testament Launch in nearby language Moba

The New Testament has been completed, revised, typeset and now the tentative launch date has been set in November. Work on the Old Testament began as soon as the New Testament went for typesetting, such was the excitement and anticipation for the complete Bible in the Nyamngan language.

The Gangam people — who speak Nyamngan — number more than 80,000 living in both Togo and Benin. They make their living mainly from herding cattle and camels and from subsistence farming, growing millet, beans and guinea corn.

The agricultural nature of life hints at what the biggest obstacle to Scripture use will be after the launch: the literacy rate in the mother-tongue is estimated to be below one percent. So, even after the launch, work will continue to develop and distribute audio Scripture and the new Scriptures will be used to develop more literacy programmes. Find out more about the Gangam people from thewordislife.net.

The completion of a New Testament is a cause for great celebration. But the 80,000 Nyamngan-speakers are only a small proportion of the millions of people without the Bible in the language they best understand. You can be part of sharing God’s word with them.

Mary Gardner 1955 – 2011

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Born in Nairobi, Mary was the eldest of 5 children.  She started her education at the Kenya High School in 1967.  The family moved to Scotland when she was 15, where she continued her studies in Aberdeen and then at St Andrews University, graduating in 1977 with an MA hons in English/French.

Mary Gardner on her way back from JerichoShe then worked for 2 years with CMS teaching in Kenya, returning to spend a season at Lee Abbey Community in 1980.  From 1981, she continued teaching in Orkney as an itinerant French teacher, travelling between schools by plane and boat.  In 1986 she commenced further training at the Bible Training Institute in Glasgow, joining Wycliffe Bible Translators in August 1988 stating at the time, ‘The Bible has always been important to me and played a large part in my own conversion.  I am convinced of the value of the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators and that other aspects of mission such as evangelism and church planting are greatly strengthened by having the Scriptures in the language people know best.’

Embarking upon specialised linguistics training with Wycliffe’s British training programme, her preparations for life overseas accelerated.  After a valedictory service at St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Stromness in January 1990, she headed off to Cameroon for her orientation course, and then arrived in Togo in April 1990, the country that was to become her home for the next 20 years.

She was involved in a language called Ifè, developing the orthography (writing systems), working on a dictionary, holding literacy classes, and preparing materials including graded reading primers and maths books.  Bible translation began in 1994 leading to the Scriptures in print and on cassette, and the production of the Jesus film.  She became the leader of translation team, and trained national translators, working in a mixed team of expatriates and nationals.

At one point, whilst checking part of the translation of Romans, the group she was working with came upon ‘Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another…’ (Romans 13:8).  She relates, ‘The small Bible study group was struck forcibly by this verse.  Debt is a way of life in Africa.  Almost everybody owes money to someone, whether for goods bought on credit.  The Christian teaching that debts should be repaid as soon as possible was what challenged this little group as they read God’s word in their own language.  It was so applicable to their own experience, and reading it in Ifè gave it a new impact and a new determination to put it into practice.’

By 2000 the Ifè/French dictionary had been published; Mary was one of the two editors, and 17 October 2009 was the cause of great celebration as the Ifè New Testament was dedicated, nearly 30 years after the project first began.

She was training as a translation consultant, which requires a good grasp of Biblical studies, in order to help with Old Testament translation.  Thus she travelled to The Home For Bible Translators in Jerusalem in early 2011.  Those who studied with her can testify to her keen interest in hillwalking, and her appreciation of wild flowers. Halvor Ronning, (Director) says, “Mary was really enjoying the camaraderie and fellowship she had found in Jerusalem. She told us that until she got here she did not realise how alone and isolated she had been living for years in a remote village in Togo, the only European for miles around.”

Eddie Arthur, Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, said: “I cannot tell you how highly regarded she was. She was an extremely gutsy person, highly intelligent, with huge drive and the ability to stick with the project for 20 years in far from comfortable conditions. It must have been incredibly isolating at times. But she was completely dedicated to her work, and to the Ifè people.”

Mary had shared in one of her newletters, ‘When a person hears clearly what God is saying, it changes lives.  And so we persevere in translating the Bible into Ifè, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book.  We continue to teach people to read in their own language.  We hold courses for church leaders to help them use the Ifè Scriptures in the life of the church.  Why?  Because we long to see changed lives that glorify God.’

Mary’s own life was one that was changed by the Scriptures and which glorified God.  Tragically killed in a terrorist explosion in Jerusalem on 23 March 2011 aged 55, she is survived by her parents and siblings.

Worker dies in terrorist explosion – Jerusalem

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Wycliffe Bible Translators are sad to announce the death of their member Mary Gardner in a terrorist explosion in Jerusalem on 23 March 2011 where she was studying Hebrew at The Home for Bible Translators.

Further photos are available with the press release.

More on Mary’s life and work in this later blog post.

Follow overseas summer teams on Twitter

Friday, July 4th, 2008

We mentioned on Wednesday that the Wycliffe Transform team to Mali has arrived safely in the country, and showed you some things that you can pray for them.

You may also have seen on the Wycliffe UK front page that we have a WYnet team of teenagers who are in Togo for 3 weeks. They too have a page where we’ll be posting latest updates.

Those using Twitter can follow the teams’ feeds and receive updates immediately – here are the links for the Mali Transform team and the Togo WYnet team. The feeds will also be diplayed on the teams’ prayer pages, and on the Wycliffe UK front page if you’re not a twitterer!

WYnet team about to leave

The WYnet team getting ready to leave the UK

Ethnomusicology with the Bago of Togo

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Rob is an ethnomusicologist working in Benin, West Africa. He has just posted about a research trip he took a few months ago where he spent some time in a remote village in neighbouring Togo, looking at the types of music and musical instruments the Bago people use.

…the first job was to find out which instruments are used and also which song genres exist in the village. This included doing some observation and recording at night time, which was very atmospheric and lots of fun!

He goes on to describe some of the Bago instruments – the Gbale, the Sakasse, the Okoyise and the Lunga.

Bago village

Take a look at Rob’s post about his trip, including some of what he discovered, and some youtube videos of dancing in the village.

Within Wycliffe the aim of ethnomusicology is often to encourage people to create scriptural songs in their own language, and in their own music style. To find out more about how this is done, have a look at Rob’s workshop with the Moba people earlier this year.

Moba New Testament Dedication

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

After years of hard work, the dedication of a translated New Testament is always a moment of great joy for the community and perhaps a moment of relief for the translators. Rob Baker captures the vitality of the Moba New Testament dedication in Northern Togo in March this year.

As well as photographs of the event, Rob also links to a few YouTube videos of Moba music. A couple of the songs are ones which Rob, an Ethnomusicologist, helped Moba Christians to write. These songs set the words of Scripture to music, helping people to memorise the words and to apply them to their lives.

It is very important that the Moba people do now start to use and apply the Scriptures; having a translated New Testament only makes a difference when people start to learn from it and to see God shape their lives through it. Please pray that the Moba people will make the best of this wonderful resource that has been provided for them.

2 Tim 3:16 song on YouTube

Romans 15:4 song on YouTube