Contributions to TWFTW Bible translations ensure that the Word of God is available at no cost to the tribes that receive the Bible in their heart languages. Distributing the translated Scriptures means that the books are given at church gatherings, community gatherings, neighbor-to-neighbor, and other providential meetings. God knows who needs his Word and when the time is ripe for someone to hear his Spirit’s wooing.
Sister Agatha Nombo (pictured above) speaks Mpoto (her heart language) and Swahili (the trade language) with her family in their village in Tanzania.
She talks about how she first came to read Scriptures in her native language of Mpoto: ‘The first time I received the Mpoto book of Mark, it came from my daughter. She was on her way home from school and someone gave her this book written in the Mopoto language. She said it was someone on the road that was passing by and they instructed her to give me the book and I would understand. I tried to ask my daughter if she knew the person who gave her this book, she told me that she did not. I started to read book of Mark in my Mpoto language, and I came to know Jesus and how much he truly loves us. I couldn’t believe that Jesus would love me enough to have a stranger give my daughter this Bible and ask her to then pass it on to me. This book has brought light to my family through my daughter’s willingness to accept this Bible and pass it along. We are now filled with peace, joy and love. We now read the Mopoto Bible together with our entire family.’
Sister Agatha continues, ‘Many neighboring tribes have not experienced in their languages the Good News that we have available in Mpoto. We thank God daily for this gift, and we pray for God to bring blessings to all people so that everyone will have a chance to know God and to understand his word in their native tongue!’
Other challenges with Bible translation have to do with literacy. Many of the languages do not have a written form, so the translation teams have to develop one for their people. Because the written form is new to the culture, TWFTW also sets up literacy centers to help teach the people the written form of their oral language. However, many have not learned to read their language, so hearing the Word of God spoken is necessary for them to understand God’s love for them.
One elderly woman who speaks Mpoto had heard about the Mpoto Bible translation work. She had asked around her village if she could meet people ‘who spread the Word of God in the Mpoto language.’
When a translation team visited the village, they went to her home and talked with her about the meaning of Bible translation, and she asked them to read her the Scripture passages. After they read to her, she said, ‘I feel very strange hearing the Word of God in my Mpoto language. Jesus is so good to Mpoto language! I need Jesus because his Word speaks to my heart!’
Now, after deciding to follow Christ, she prays for others, and thanks God often for the Mpoto Bible translators and their work in seeing the entire Word of God available to their tribe.
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