One of the exciting byproducts of Bible translation is seeing the whole Body of Christ come together regardless of denomination! Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and many others all hold the Word of God as holy and sacred and necessary in our faith journey. And the whole Body of Christ needs the holy Scriptures in the heart language of every tribe and tongue!
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bible translation work for the Taabua language has moved slowly at times because of political unrest and community displacements. While the Taabua language has had the New Testament for several years, the Old Testament work continues.
One Pentecostal pastor of the Taabua-speaking tribe, Pastor Chapi, was placed in a refugee camp from 1999-2003 due to war in the country. When the war ended and he was able to return to his devastated village, he continued pastoring—giving hope to his people using the Scriptures available to him. As a chief reviewer for the Taabua Bible Translation Project, he had access to some of the most up-to-date translation drafts. After the Taabua New Testament was published , he received some Taabua copies of the New Testament, he distributed them to his church members. He wrote to the translation team that he needed more. All of his congregants wanted a copy for their own homes!
Last year, Pastor Chapi traveled to Lubumbashi where the Taabua Translation Team is based, looking for the translators, Pastor Kasokota and Pastor Nzika.
He asked them, ‘Have you finished the Old Testament yet?’
The translators replied, ‘No. Not yet.’
Pastor Chapi began encouraging them saying, ‘The church has grown because they have the Word of God in their mother tongue! Some people in the community, who used to get drunk, have been transformed after hearing the preaching of the Word in Taabua and receiving copies of the Taabua New Testament. Without the Bible in Taabua, it would have been very difficult to reach out to the lost souls.’
While the Bible in the heart language of a people brings life to their hearts and daily living, the translators face grueling work for years. The translation teams also need encouragement that their work is not in vain. Having Pastor Chapi visit the Taabua translators and hearing his stories of hope of how the Taabua Bible Translation Project has impacted his congregations gave fresh zeal to the translators!
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