Literacy, Hebrew and Arabic bring home the Gospel in Mozambique

By May 7, 2013

Mozambique (MNN/NTM) — The Mwinika believers are searching for people to tell about Jesus.

The stage was set 25 years ago. In the late 1980s, a conflict arose and encompassed most of the countries in the southern Africa. Many Mwinikas fled the fighting and settled in one area. A dispute broke out among the leaders of their predominant religion. Many leaders met together to discuss the issue. Their conclusion: "The problem with our religion is that we don't understand God's Word. We need it in our own language." The leaders prayed and asked God for His Word in their language.

More than 200,000 Mwinika people live in Mozambique. A team of New Tribes Missionaries has begun teaching evangelistic Bible lessons and church-planting but lacks necessary funds to move forward with Scripture translation.

Even so, the missionary team has prepared the groundwork for translating the Scriptures into the Mwinika language. 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. They're also hoping to eventually have the basis for a lexicon and a dictionary.

However, the Mwinika people eventually lost interest in the literacy classes. Then, one of the missionaries had an idea. He showed the Old Testament in Hebrew to the people. Fascinated, they gathered around but found they couldn't read the Hebrew.

Then, out came the Bible in Arabic. This time, the Mwinika group leader read the verses in a chant, but no one understood what he was saying. In fact, the leader himself knew only how to pronounce what he was reading, but didn't understand the words themselves.

Eventually, one of the teachers picked up the Mwinika Scriptures and read a passage aloud. Smiles broke out because the people understood it. More importantly, they understood that God wants to communicate to them in their own language.

Pray that the Mwinikas will see the truth of God's Word and trust in Christ as their Savior.

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