More than 15 million
The Leoma people are an ethnic group of more than 15 million from the middle of their country. Today, Leoma people live in all of the country’s provinces as well as in a neighbouring country. They have adapted well to the extreme environment with soaring summer temperatures and very little rainfall, and they value generous hospitality and loyal friendships.
Life can often be difficult due to poverty and a low literacy rate (50%). Most Leoma are agriculturalists, working as farm labourers for local landlords. Due to the wealth disparity in the area, relationships with neighbours can often become strained.
There is a real lack of educational opportunity for the Leoma. As a result, many are trapped in a cycle of poverty, fear and ignorance. The majority of people also follow Islam. The team is desperate for the whole community, including the small but growing church, to have Scripture in their language so they can be transformed as they come to know Jesus.
A local team has been trained over a number of years and has made progress on translating Scripture portions. They aim to complete the whole Bible in Leoma one day. Since few people in this community can read, their approach is to use a written style that is poetic and easy to understand, as well as producing audio versions. This will give people access to God’s word in a form that is culturally appropriate and accessible.
Translation has to be done discreetly due to the dangers which come with openly being a Christian and each member of the team has overcome many hurdles. In spite of this, more than 90% of the New Testament and 10% of the Old Testament has now been translated. The team is also looking for opportunities to share Scripture in ways that are relevant and sensitive, and they have been working on online resources.
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