Ethnic unrest in Kenya affects Bible translation

By January 31, 2008

Kenya (MNN) — The top US envoy in Africa is warning of Bosnian-style "ethnic cleansing." That seems to be backed up by a pastor who is communicating with Mission Network News. We'll call him "Samuel."

Samuel says, "Please pray with us as we have hundreds of orphans in the church here. My house was set on fire, and right now I am in a rental house. In fact, it is very bad simply because the president comes from our clan. The houses [we] have were burned, [and so were the] churches."

A World Bible Translation Center worker is also being affected, says the Africa Director of Translations David Stringham. "She lives in Nacuru, and this is one of the areas where they've had such major unrest recently. Her family has basically had to stay in-doors. Some of the youth are going around creating a lot of problems. They've had church burnings and all these things."

More than 850 people have been killed in post election political and ethnic unrest. Something to unify the tribal groups is needed. World Bible Translation Center is hoping language can do that.

WBTC is translating their Easy-To-Read Bible into Swahili. Stringham says, "It has now become one of the major languages for use in Africa, and several of the countries in East Africa are wanting to have all of their communications and such in Swahili. It's being used as a language for pulling together the various tribal groups of East Africa."

Stringham says it will also help unify many of the East African countries. "The Scriptures readily accessible in the language that's easy to understand can help combat the problems that we see; such was what we're seeing in Kenya with the tribal groups, so that when difficulties arise, people learn the proper way to respond."

The program is moving forward, but there's no way to tell when the full Easy-To-Read version will be completed. "The difficulties that we face in unstable areas of the world, that's a challenge to be very specific on that. There are just so many things that can interrupt our work," says Stringham.

He says the fall of the American dollar and the need for additional computers are other concerns for the project.

Pray that God would provide the safety, funding, and technology to complete the project. It could take up to eight years to complete.

If you'd like to help fund the project, click here.

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