Located in the southwestern part of Ethiopia, the Sheko people group have an estimated population of 56,000 people. TWFTW’s Bible translation project in Sheko started in 2006. The turnover of translators, due in part to the project having limited financial support, slowed its progress. Currently, three full time translators make up the team and diligently continue working on the project.
The Sheko Bible translation project has proved how the Word of God can have a huge impact in bringing reconciliation to an entire people group. As within many communities, conflicts sometimes arise between people. In the Sheko community, they struggled with conflicts in the area for months. The community leader decided to sort out the issues through the involvement of other leaders in the community. When the leaders selected respected people to represent the community, they selected people from different local churches and from government offices. The community leaders also included people from the Sheko Bible translation project (Philemon Dosha, Melese Dadi, and Sintayehu) to participate in the discussions—an honor for the three translators.
The community leader said, “One of the hopes of our community is the Sheko Bible. Without the translators’ involvement, the peace cannot be maintained. The Sheko Bible translators are some of our key people who can affect our community positively.”
The leader’s declaration indicates that the whole community recognizes the importance of the Sheko Bible Translation Project to the future of the Sheko people!
Because of their Christian faith, changes in the living style, education, ethical, moral and social life of the people has taken place. Before understanding salvation through Jesus, the Sheko community has been known for drunkenness, polygamy and self-indulgences. However, Christ is bringing tremendous change amongst this community! The Bible plays an integral part in guiding the people toward a lifestyle that pleases God. Having only the book of Mark published and distributed in their heart language, God is able to help the Sheko people understand his Word better, and they are able to apply it to their daily lives— seeing the fabric of their society transformed!
The Sheko New Testament translation is close to completion, and already the translators have started on several books of the Old Testament. While the Sheko people feel grateful for the Gospel of Mark and enjoy reading the one book currently accessible to them, they eagerly await the completion of the New Testament and eventually the entire Word of God in their heart language!
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