The first part of 2016 has been a great time for TWFTW’s translation projects, namely the Konta, Melo, and Oyda projects in Southwest Ethiopia. In the Konta project, consultant checking of 15 New Testament books was completed, which is incredibly exciting! The team members are enjoying working with the word of God in their own language during consultation, and their family members are also enjoying it when the translators read the word of God to them in their own language. A testimony of one of the team members in his own words: “I remember when we went to the community for the field test, one student took our translation and read it. Then he asked us to give him the whole Bible in our language. We asked him ‘why do you ask for the whole Bible? Do not you have Amharic Bible?’ He replied, ‘I have but this one is clearer.’” What an amazing testimony of the impact of having the Bible in one’s own language.
We look forward to seeing their progress over the next quarter!
Excerpts from the most recent newsletter of Antoinette van der Meulen, a Bible translation consultant:
“Asia: I was fortunate to leave the extremely warm weather in Pretoria, South Africa for some wintry weather. The men wanted to start working at 10am each morning because early mornings were so cold, but there was little time and a heater with a cup of ginger tea put things right. We revised Genesis and it was soon evident that we wouldn’t be able to finish this. The solution was to work an extra hour or so each evening and as requested by the translators, we worked six days a week. We couldn’t even spare a Saturday to visit the Himalayas, but hopefully I will get the chance someday. We worked in three languages – one with a population of 150,000; another with 40,000; another with 7,000,000. We lived and worked in a Christian hospital. This was very comfortable and an advantage was that it meant that I could have contact with other missionaries.
A new development in Bible translation is that local translators are being trained as consultants. In the beginning I was concerned about the quality of the work, but now that I’ve seen how accomplished the people are who have been selected to do this, I have become a supporter of the idea. It is usually a person who has completed a Bible translation in his own language and who is doing a Masters or a Doctorate on some aspect of Bible translating. For this reason we were supported this time by a person who is a consultant in training. It helped a great deal as he knows and understands the languages in which we were working
God willing, I will be leaving for Ethiopia on 28 March. This is a month before their Easter which means that the loudspeakers of the Orthodox churches and the Mosques will be competing each night with each other. Please pray that I will be able to sleep well so that I will be able to do my work. Also pray for wisdom in dealing with difficult sections.”
TWFTW Staff members: Martie Krüger, Director of Promotions; Doreen Kabwe, Financial Manager Tanzania; Reuben Kabwe, Regional Director Southern Africa; Véroni Krüger, International President.
It is with humility that I present the following highlights of The Word for the World Bible Translators (TWFTW) in 2015. Gratitude in the first place to God Almighty who afforded us the privilege of serving in the work of Bible translation and blessed our efforts. Gratitude also for the persons who were directly involved in this work, and the many others who supported through prayer and financial assistance.
TWFTW regards it a high privilege to be living and working in this age. We want to continue to position ourselves as a service organization working alongside others to fulfill the Great Commission. We believe it can be done!
Recently, Bible translators were trained with the aim of equipping them to get started with Bible Translation in their respective language groups. Due to security and sensitivity, we must use pseudonyms for these language groups: Sigar, Hapi, Sidi, Soga, Goli, and Lani.
Subjects that were taught:
• Bible Translation and Mission
• Process of Bible Translation
• Principles of Bible Translation
After the training, students from these language groups were asked to translate the book of Jonah into their respective languages using the methods they had just been taught. This material will be tested in their villages to test whether or not the people in these communities will accept it. It is a first-time translation in all six languages.
The training will continue over a period of four years.
Testimony from the Hapi language group
The Hapi community call themselves the Waghri Community. The wider community considered these people as ”Rag Pickers” and beggars. They are in fact “Shikaaris” or hunters by nature. Students were blessed through this training as they were able to take a bold step forward after they translated the book of Jonah into their language. One of the students shared that some time ago he had a vision that all the people of his language group were burning in fire and that there was a sense of helplessness all around. God looked down on them from above and was telling him “Save my people” repeatedly and saying that He wanted His Word to reach all of them. It was with this burden and desire that our brother underwent this training
Vision of TWFTW
The main goal of TWFTW is to see that every person gets the life-giving Word of God in his or her native language. We believe that God will accomplish His work in due season and that His Word will never, ever return void. We want to see not just the translation of the Bible into these languages, but also the transformation of lives through Bible translation.
The Word for the World Celebrates 35 years today! We have more than ample reason to praise God for blessings on all aspects of this ministry. Overall TWFTW has done well in partnership with so many of you. We cannot but give God the glory for enabling us to:
Continue to pursue our Vision
Reaffirm our stance as service organization
Execute our altered Mission statement to expand our service to empower not only individuals but also organizations for Bible translation
Further decentralize functions, responsibility and authority
Continue to adhere to our approach to Bible translation
Maintain our unity
Thank you to each one of you for continuing to do what you believe God has called you, and us collectively, to do. Nothing we do for God escapes his notice, and nothing we do for Him is ever in vain. May He richly reward each one of you!
TWFTW is currently involved in 91 languages spoken by approximately 29,551,762 people. This map represents TWFTW involvement in India.
The Zigua people in Tanzania recently received the New Testament in the their language, in print as well as audio. The people were overjoyed! They can now read the Word or listen to the AudiBible. The JESUS Film was also dubbed into their language.
The people plan to meet together in an evening class to spend time with the Word of God. They repeatedly expressed their appreciation to everyone involved to make this possible.
Words from the Lord that came to mind as we celebrated the dedication of the New Testaments in Tanzania:
“… more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
… sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb” (Psalm 19.10).
“…the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4.12).
The prayer of our hearts: That the Word of God may penetrate the very fabric of society and bring about real transformation in individuals, cultures, and nations. As we pray for those who have just received that Word in their own language, let us pray that the Word of God will also impact our own lives, cultures and nations.
After leading TWFTW for 34 years, Véroni Krüger has expressed the desire to be relieved of his duties as the International President, although he would still like to be involved in Bible translation. The projected date is December 2017. TWFTW Executive Management Team and International Board have started the process of identifying a successor. The International Board decided at their recent meeting to encourage everyone in the TWFTW family (all partners included) to fast and pray about this momentous transition. The EMT will start providing names of possible canditates between now and 30th July. Please also pray specifically for God’s wisdom and presence at the Executive Management Team’s next meeting in September, where the matter will be discussed in depth.
Twenty five years ago our vision was that the Shire valley of Malawi, where the 370,000 Sena people live, would be flooded with the Word of God! Materially, they are the poorest people group I have seen in the world, yet one of the happiest. The Shire Valley is sadly not flooded with God’s Word at the moment, but has recently experienced the worst flooding in living memory due to torrential rains.
Though confined to a wheelchair, I set off in 1992 for Malawi with my wife, Julia, to train Sena speakers to translate the very first Bible for their own people. By God’s grace, the entire Sena Bible was completed and consultant approved for publishing in a record 10 years. Several thousand portions of Scripture have been produced over the years and thousands of New Testaments have also been distributed, but to date only 8000 Bibles have been distributed among the Sena. The last distribution of 5000 Bibles took place in December 2008. New Bibles have not been available to them for nearly seven years. Literacy classes have been running for the past fourteen years in about 50 centres in the Sena speaking areas of Malawi and also neighbouring Mozambique, but “Where can we get Sena Bibles for new believers?” is the cry!
Hope is on the horizon as 5000 new Sena Bibles have just arrived in the warehouse of Bible Society of Malawi. It took us about 5 years to raise the $37,500 required to purchase these Bibles. Funds came from several donors, as well as sponsored marathons like the Comrades in Natal, South Africa, and my 1000 mile Land’s End to John O’Groats hand cycle ride in 2011 in the UK. Praise God, Bibles are on their way again to the Lower Shire. Let us pray that the trickle of funds to make Bibles available to the people of Africa, and the lesser reached areas of the world, will soon turn into a flood, so that “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God, as the waters cover the seas.” Hab 2.14.
“I am a fresh Bible translation consultant with TWFTW. I have done my first independent group checking in the Ila and Soli languages, in the very hospitable country of Zambia. I keep jumping from white winter and ice skating into the heat of summer and back for cold Christmas; then again into the hot rainy climate in February. Since I am coming from the North (Poland) I find a lot of things new, fascinating and challenging: the huge insects, the way of cooking, the colour of the ground and warm, violent rains. The translation teams have been very gracious to their “Madam consultant”. The Gospel of John, part of the 1st and the whole 2nd Epistle to Corinthians became our great journey across centuries, lands and cultures. We stood together at the feet of the cross, we struggled to understand the message of Paul and his frustrations. We worked hard in mutual trust and humility. It was a very moving beginning of my consultant’s career when they read: “In the beginning there was The Word”