Answered prayer paves the way for Bible translation in Mozambique

By January 13, 2012

Mozambique (MNN) — Mozambique's history is stained with the blood of many conflicts. The scars still remain as the nation
struggles to recover from its last war, now nearly two decades past.

In watching the
healing of other nations, the pattern of the past can clearly be seen just
below the surface. That is, unless God
intervenes.

That's exactly
what happened among the Mwinika living along the coast. 25 years ago, the group fled fighting in
their home villages and wound up congregated elsewhere. They began exploring their beliefs, shaken in
light of the events of their recent past. 

When it came to the Bible, however, the
leaders couldn't make heads or tails of what it said because it wasn't in their
language. Mike Henderson, church-planting consultant with New Tribes Mission, says, "It
was just amazing to us to see how God directed our desire to go there and reach
people who want to hear. [We were amazed by] their desire to be able to examine it themselves,
to hear the facts, and then make the examination and the judgment on their own,
based on what the Bible said."

A field survey in 2003
proved there was great interest among the villagers. Building for the missionary compound began in
2005, and translation work has been ongoing since then. "We were wanting to come in and live with
them, to learn their language, to translate the Old and New Testaments and explain the meaning of that, and then to teach them how to read and
write," says Henderson. "That was the basis for us coming.""

People forgot about that initial appeal to God, but one of the
village members eventually told the story so that others would remember,
too. Then realization dawned that God
had been moving even then to answer their prayer. Henderson says, "They'd been
praying, prior to these people even moving in there–I mean when these
guys (the current missionary team) were just kids–just fervent prayer to
understand the Bible had been started by the people themselves."

More than 200,000
Mwinika people live in Mozambique. Along with the translation work, a team of
NTM missionaries has begun teaching evangelistic Bible lessons, literacy
lesson, and church-planting training. It's exciting growth, held back only by money. The team still needs $240,807 to
see the project fully funded.

The translation
project will extend over the next 15 years, including printing of the Old and
New Testaments, and continuing translation and literacy preparation work. The
local team has taken ownership of the painstaking process, notes Henderson.  "As the people grow and mature in their
knowledge and knowing that God does want to communicate, they become more and
more careful, more and more critical of it (the translation), in order to make
sure that communication really is going across."

Enthusiasm has carried the team through the Gospels, and the book
of Acts, but there's a lot more to do. 
This year, Henderson says, "I think the goal will be to get the
book of Romans–at least the key portions of Romans–translated and taught, then
Ephesians, First and Second Thessalonians, Revelation, and
then go back and do other books."

Pray that the Mwinika translation team is able to craft a
translation that is clear and accurate.

Please pray for the Mwinika people and for these believers who are
seeking openings to share their faith with others. Pray that the Lord would use
a reminder of this long-forgotten meeting to encourage many people's interest
in studying God's word.

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