Caribbean (MNN) — It’s only taken a few centuries, but Creole communities are finally getting a chance to hear God’s Word in their heart language.
Gil Moreno with Faith Comes by Hearing says three Creole languages have been recorded in the past few years, and audio New Testaments have been made available. Listening groups have begun in Jamaican Creole and Belize Kriol.
Moreno recently led the training of 60 Listening Group leaders from the San Andrés Creole community. From here, the leaders will set up regular meetings where community members can listen to and discuss God’s Word.
“It was very impactful because Creole languages are not always recognized by translation organizations as worthy of pursuing a translation,” shares Moreno. “But in this case, the translator saw the need.”
The Creole movement
Some in the world of Bible translation won’t recognize Creole and its variations as an actual language. According to Moreno, however, it’s no different than the one spoken by 1.5 billion people worldwide.
“Creole is just as valid as English, because English is also a mix of languages — Latin, Germanic, Greek, French — all these have influenced our language,” he notes.
According to Britannica.com, a majority of Creole languages emerged during the 17th and 18th centuries. Africans brought to Spanish and Portuguese colonies to work on plantation settlements soon blended their native tongues with European languages.
On San Andrés, a small island located off the coast of Colombia, Moreno says the populace speaks three languages: English, Spanish, and Creole.
“They hear, in church, the Gospel being preached in English, or the Bible being read in Spanish,” says Moreno. “They understand it, but when they hear it in their own language…a very unique dynamic takes place.”
Take “Ophelia,” for example.
During the Listening Group training session he led, Moreno played a portion of Romans 8 in San Andrés Creole. “She said for the first time in her life, when she heard it in her heart language…she really felt like she understood what that meant.”
Across the Caribbean Sea, audio Scripture is attracting crowds. Moreno shares the testimony of a woman who speaks Jamaican Creole:
“When I see the joy and anticipation on the peoples’ faces after they’ve listened to the Proclaimer, I am truly thankful to God that He has allowed us to receive such a device. The first time I played the audio Scriptures, I was on a friend’s veranda one morning [where] three of us women normally meet to pray. That particular day, I introduced the Proclaimer; 17 persons ended up on the veranda listening to and discussing the Word of God from the audio Scripture.”
Between 2013 and today, Scripture was recorded and the New Testament was made available in Jamaican Creole, Belize Kriol, and San Andrés Creole. Moreno says in the coming years, another eight or nine Creole languages could be recorded.
These projects will need your support to bear fruit. Help FCBH record God’s Word in Creole languages.