More than three million people live in a rugged, remote part of Tanzania, East Africa. They have never seen the Word of God in their own language. But these three million people don't represent a single language group . . . they represent 10 language groups.
When Christians in the region begged Bible translators for the Word of God in their own languages, the task seemed impossible. Translation into just one language would take at least 10 years.
Then the language experts made a remarkable discovery. In some parts of the world—including this part of Tanzania—various distinct languages have enough common characteristics that it is possible to translate multiple languages simultaneously: in translation teams made up of missionaries and nationals, not by way of individual translator/scholars.
And, the translation of all 10 languages may be accomplished quickly—due to the recent discovery that these languages belong to the Bantu family of languages.
The Mbeya Cluster translation project in Tanzania is underway, with some 30 full-time workers and another 50 or so part-timers. In fact, nine of the ten Mbeya Cluster translation teams are thrilled that the books of Ruth and Jonah are published and available.
“Hang on to your hats” reports an Mbeya New Testament Cluster consultant. “The Mbeya teams’ recent accomplishments will lend a real air of satisfaction to anyone who loves to see God’s Word taking shape in languages that never before had it.”
The Wanji translation team, buoyed up by the dedication of seven Bible books in their language, is now translating the Epistles. The Kinga, Malila, Ndali, and Sengu teams rejoice that Mark’s Gospel has been printed in their languages in answer to prayer. And, now the Bena team’s progress is cause for thanksgiving: Mark’s Gospel is completed and checked. The team has also revised 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.
However, the Safwa team has had a setback. Translator, Edmund, was savagely beaten, robbed and left unconscious in the street while on his way home from church. Edmund and fellow translator Aaron were due to begin checking the book of Acts that week!
Translation teams often face obstacles at key moments in the translation process. Pray—please pray for peace, perseverance, and protection for the Safwa translation team. And, pray with us for this extraordinary ministry opportunity—the opportunity to share God's Word in 10 languages, not just one!