Africa (MNN) ― In the mountains and plains of southeastern Africa, more than 3 million people from 10 languages do not have God's Word in their mother tongues.
A few years ago, African church leaders initiated Bible translation projects in order to bring the Gospel to their own people, who stretch across Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. The 10 languages are in the same family of languages, but are different enough that they each need their own translation.
The Seed Company's Roger Garland says they've recently joined the work, to provide training, funding and prayer support that are needed to see this project go forward. " There are huge numbers of Bantu languages throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and this will provide a good model for working together to get God's Word into those languages and then to provide that to people who desperately need the Word of God and the comfort and the help that that offers as they face the challenges of Africa."
Leaders recognized that the closeness of the languages would benefit from the various groups working together in translation efforts. The teams have already begun studying their languages, developing writing systems, compiling dictionaries, and are in different stages of drafting and revising Scripture portions.
The partnership of so many people coming together will have great impact, says Garland, and he hopes to see this partnership inspire other leaders to share resources and bring the light of God's Word into an area of great need.
"That will bring God's Word to the mother tongues of approximately 3 million people in Tanzania and the adjacent areas of Zambia and Malawi. Those translations and the partnership that's modeled there, we're hoping, will also inspire leaders in hundreds of other Bantu languages of Africa to share resources and bring the Scriptures to their own people."
It's a particular need as the church in Africa faces the AIDS pandemic. Garland sees these translations as an integral part of confronting the crisis. "And you know something of what's happening there with the challenges they face with AIDS and orphans and the impact on families. And they feel like this will be a tremendous effort, a tremendous aid to helping the churches there deal with people, people particularly devastated by the impact of AIDS and all that has meant to the people of that area."