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Gombe workshops train national Nigerians to translate the Bible into their own languages.

By February 24, 2005

Nigeria (MNN) — Within the three countries of India, Indonesia and Nigeria, there are 2600 living languages that do not have Scripture translated into those people’s heart languages. They are some of the neediest countries in the world.

In Nigeria alone, there are 500 languages that do not have one verse of Scripture in their own language.

The Seed Company is addressing that need in a creative, new way. Their model of translation is different than the historical model of translation work. Through workshops, they are training and equipping national Nigerian believers to be the translators.

Roy Peterson is the President of The Seed Company. He says they are working in the Northern region of Nigeria, called the Gombe region, through creative networking that has brought together 30 people who are being trained simultaneously. They will be working on translating the Gospel of Luke into nine different languages.

With sectarian violence and unrest present in Nigeria, Peterson says that’s the importance of this method of translation work, because, “The strategy to train and equip the Nigerians – that they can be the Bible translators – is so essential today, so that the work can go forward whether or not we can stay in the country.”

The Seed Company’s training workshops have been met with enthusiasm. Peterson experienced one village’s reaction, “I have been to Bible dedications around the world where Scriptures have been completed and delivered to the people. But I’ve never been in a community at the beginning of a translation, when they were saying ‘Yes, we want this to happen. We will support it. We will get behind it.’ And the entire community was there to sing and celebrate and thank us for bringing the training, so that they might become the translators for their people group.”

It’s a strategy for evangelism, working together with the Body of Christ in Nigeria to help spread God’s Word to those who do not know Christ. Peterson believes this could be the breakthrough they’ve been praying for.

“One of the Nigerian national leaders who attended the workshop stood up and said to me, that he believes as other language groups throughout Northern Nigeria hear what’s happening in these Gombe workshops, they’re going to be coming to us in record numbers asking for the same training, for the same transfer of skills so that they might become translators for their own language groups also.”

Pray for this exciting time in Nigeria as God’s Word goes forth.

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