Imagine having some classes in a foreign language then traveling to a country that speaks that language. Often, the concentration needed to understand what is being said creates mental fatigue. Now imagine trying to understand the Bible—which has stories of places and people that already are unfamiliar to your culture—in a language that is not easily understood to you.
TWFTW’s translators travel to communities and villages to present the translated drafts of the Bible. Often, they present them at church gatherings and preach on some of the verses that have been translated.
Tagel, one of the Basketo translators, went to a village for field testing the Scriptures the translation team had worked on recently. He had been invited to preach in one of the local churches. He read verses in the Basketo language from the book of Ruth, and preached a sermon based on the verses.
The people excitedly listened to the Word. When Tagel asked the congregation after the service to provide him with feedback about what it meant to them to hear him preach from the Basketo Bible, the congregation gave many positive comments.
One of the leaders, named Ejgu, said, “We have been seeing people leave the church during services while the preacher was preaching, because they had a problem understanding the message in Amharic [one of Ethiopia’s official languages]. So they just give up because they didn’t understand. However, today, no one left the congregation early as they had been doing!”
Tagel observed, “Having the Bible in the Basketo language is critical needed in the community. If God´s Word is preached in their own language and touches the hearts of the people, they wouldn´t leave early from the congregational service. From now on, we have to continue using our own language to serve the congregation! “
Sometimes, when the Bible is not available, God still works in the lives of people. Geresu, one of the Basketo translators, started following Christ in 1981 because he saw that God healed his father, who was a believer. After Geresu decided to commit his life to Christ, he eventually became a leader in his church in Ethiopia. God called him to Bible translation work where he worked for 15 years on the New Testament, and the team is now working had to complete the Old Testament.
The Basketo community are living proof that hearing the Bible in their heart language helps them to understand God’s heart for their people. Churches need access to the Bible in the language of their congregants. The Word of God brings life to the people when they know that the Spirit of God speaks their language!
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