A Bible translation project in Suriname supports the church.

By November 7, 2003

Suriname (MNN)–Suriname is one of the smallest independent countries in South America, bordered by Brazil and Guyana.

Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975. In 1989, the military overthrew the civilian government, but a democratically-elected government returned to power in 1991.

In this former Dutch colony, Dutch and English are the primary languages, making the Gospel readily available. However, the smaller dialects were somewhat neglected. JAARS’ Bob Mantell was involved in the Saramaccan (sarah-mock-an) New Testament translation project. Aside from being a smaller tongue, the illiteracy rate was a challenge for evangelism.

“In a lot of the projects, the majority of the people cannot read, or they would not want to read Scripture, because of their religious backgrounds. We were using non-print things like the JESUS Film, and music and radio programming to communicate the Gospel and the translation of the New Testament to the people.”

Mantell says they’ve since completed their work, and turned it over to the nationals. A visit this month shows that their project remains a critical support for the indigenous church. “They’ve continued in using the translations that we did, and also the music tapes and scripture on tape, and the JESUS Film in many of the languages there that I was involved in (translating), and the church continues to grow.”

JAARS speeds Bible translation by providing quality services for Wycliffe Bible Translators and others.

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