With approximately 80% of the 404,000 Matengo speaking people in Tanzania identifying as Christian, the need to have the Bible translated into their heart language had become obvious. Currently, the Matengo translation team has completed only 65% of the Matengo New Testament. They continue to work had to finish the New Testament so that they can start translating the Old Testament as well.
The Matengo translation team launched the Gospel of Mark and distributed it to the Matengo speaking people. Finally, all the people could understand the Good News message for the first time! As they started reading and studying the Scripture, many of the women in one village began praying for the translation of the whole Bible. They said, ‘We now understand the plan God has with our lives.’ The people in the community also pray for TWFTW, as they now realized how important it is to receive the Bible in their heart language.
After the launch of the Gospel of Mark, a visit to the people of a Matengo speaking village revealed the joy and freedom the people feel having Scripture in their own language. One young woman said, ‘Life without the power of God is nothing; but the Bible gave me and my sister hope. We are now born again! We desire to read the Matengo Gospel of Mark all the time! The words we find in Scripture taste sweet and contain life!’
Using only the Matengo translation of Gospel of Mark, one young man has begun preaching the Gospel to people in nearby villages! When one Matengo speaking village leader encouraged his people to gather and read Scripture together, the people felt that God deepened their fellowship and community relationships. While they express gratitude for the little Scriptures they have available now, they pray for God to make it possible for the whole Bible to become accessible to them.
The Word of God speaks into the Matengo people’s hearts. Christ becomes real to them and touches the hearts of the people directly when they receive the Word of God in their language. Even with so little of the Bible available to them, The Spirit of God still penetrates the fabric of their society, and the people come to realize that God created them and their language, and wants them to understand his heart for them. The Mantengo people were shocked and surprised because they did not realize that God doesn’t just speak in more dominant languages; but, God also speaks Matengo!
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