This blog has photos and information about the Nyungwe Bible translation project in Tete, Mozambique.
Last week the translation team made a trip to Mpakasa about an hour out of town. They wanted to check some of the newer translated passages with a new church that they hadn’t visited before. One of the pastors at the meeting showed them his Gospel of Mateu in Nyungwe. “Where did you get that?” asked the translator.
“My friend from Messaua gave it to me,” he responded. “Now I don’t use the Shona Bible to preach from any more. I use this to preach. Everyone can understand it and I don’t have to have a translator for the preaching.”
This is the third story like this that I have heard in the past week! We have waited years to have this kind of reports of pastors using Nyungwe Scripture to teach their congregations. We gave out thousands of copies of the Gospel of Matthew in Nyungwe… praying that the pastors who received it would not just hold on to the box of portions, but that they would pass it on and give it away to others who can use it. They are doing just that!
I just got an email from someone reading this blog. She’s an American and her son recently moved to Nyungwe-land half an hour North of town with the Peace Corps. He told his Mom that in church last Sunday the pastor was preaching from Mateu… a Nyungwe translated Scripture portion! I got tears in my eyes hearing that. God is faithful. His Word will bear fruit. His people are sharing the good news and it will take root in their lives.
Also last week, a missionary from several hours away came into town. She has been using 20 copies of the Mateu in her area as well. She says that everyone understands it. It is much better for her groups than the neighboring language of Chichewa. They are reading Nyungwe and preaching from it and doing Bible studies.
I didn’t promise weekly updates, but sometimes news is very good and we just want to share it! I expect we will have more and more stories like this to share with you in the next few months. In the mean time, remember that this is the beginning of the hot dry season in Tete. Last year there wasn’t enough rain. It is a hungry time and still a few months until the rain is expected. Please pray for Nyungwe families as they stretch what they have and trust God to send enough rain in the right time this year.
Yes, we have neglected this site for too many years. I have reset the password and will now commit to posting once a month again. Thanks for your continued prayer for the Nyungwe Bible translation! It is still going on… it is still on schedule to finish in 2017! We have lots of happy and exciting news to share. I will start with MATEU!
Our Nyungwe churches were blessed with a partner in the USA who funded the printing of 20,000 copies of the Gospel of Matthew! It was a bumpy road- literally and figuratively. It has been a tremendous blessing!
In 2013, the publishing was typeset. Late in 2014 it was sent to a printer in the North of Mozambique. In 2015, the rains wiped out all power to the town where our print shop is located… and many other towns in the North, as well! For over a month, there was no power to print. Finally, three large high-tension towers, hundreds of miles from the printer were repaired. 5,000 copies were printed! There was no more paper since the roads were cut off and bringing paper made no sense when people needed food. Very soon, 200 copies were placed on a plan and sent urgently to Tete. We had waited for months and the partner was anxious to hear how the money had been used and how people liked the new Mateu book.
It was a joy to report that they loved it… but sad to report that overland travel from the print-shop to Tete was still impossible. 200 copies were carefully allotted to partner churches with a promise of more to come. Some went to district church leaders to share with their congregations. Some went to city churches where denominational leadership could share the good news with their far-flung brothers. Some went to government offices and officials to share the hope of God’s Word in places that don’t see it often enough. It was a small sample of what was to come.
A decision was made to print the remaining 15,000 in South Africa and send them overland from there. The roads to the south were still passable. Import duty on books is 0%. So shipping costs would be covered, but it was the quickest way to get them. And by September, we had them. A show huge truckload of boxes of Mateu with light blue covers unloaded into a container outside the translation office.
In the following months, the translation team has visited communities for testing new passages of scripture in far away communities. They bring readings from newly translated epistles and the book of Acts… and they give each church present at the testing time a box of 100 copies of Mateu. In Moatize District. In Changara District. In Cahorra Bassa District. In Marara District.
The last 5,000 made it to Tete shortly after. We are so pleased that 19,800+ copies of the Nyungwe Gospel of Mateu have been freely distributed to hundreds of communities in Tete Province. Some people have bought copies for a minimal cost at a market stall. Some have passed them on to friends and family. We pray that this first BIG spread of Nyungwe Bible Translation will reach the homes and hearts of the far corners of Nyungwe-land! Keep praying with us!
Visiting Matambo with the team. Four churches gathered together to read through several chapters of newly translated Scripture. The readers each received a copy of Maliko to use themselves and to share in their communities.
Please pray that new printing projects will be possible. There is a hunger in remote communities to know more about God.
Thanks for praying for the safe and timely arrival of Mark. The dedication ceremony went well. Our local government, churches, and friends have expressed their encouragement in the translation work. These are good signs as our program progresses!
Sunday, the 1st of August, the translation team visited six local churches during their services. Each congregation received copies of Mark’s gospel in Nyungwe, copies of several previous printings from Luke, Titus and Jonah, to name a few.
Please be in prayer with the team as these visits to church services continue on Sunday mornings until they have managed to give out Scripture in the 27 churches who have faithfully followed translation progress over the years.
Other good news from Nyungwe churches in rural areas:
North of Tete City, 20 copies of Mark have been purchased by villagers near Moatize and the womens’ group is asking for more! These are being purchased by the same people who bought Luke. I think that means that they have seen that God’s Word is valuable!
South of Tete City, 50 copies have been requested by the Baptist Churches to use in Bible studies, church services, and preaching in several villages where they have planted churches.
Both of these areas are served by missionaries. We have seen that foreign missionaries are often more ready to value local language than the Mozambicans! Why? Maybe because the local people have such a low view of their own language and culture. They were told for many years that their own language was inferior to Portuguese.
When foreigners come, they need to use Nyungwe to help people really understand Christ’s message of love and salvation. This seems strange to people who feel they are worth less because they speak a minority language. BUT they are NOT worth LESS! Jesus died to save each of them, just as He died to save each of “us” foreigners. Praise God for showing us how to embrace diversity as much as equality!
The Nyungwe Translation Team thanks you for your prayers. God bless you for supporting this work among the Nyungwe people of Mozambique.
Coming soon to the Nyungwe churches in Tete, Mozambique! We have just heard that our printing of Mark’s Gospel in Nyungwe is complete. We will have 1000 copies soon delivered to us here in Tete. Please pray for the following short list:
transportation for the 1000 books to be smooth and reasonably priced
planning of an event to introduce the book of Mark to local leaders and churches
God’s preparation of the hearts of the people who will read this message for the first time
We will try to keep you updated on Maliko’s journey to the heart of Nyungwe people in Mozambique.
We appreciate your prayers and faithful support of this Bible translation project. Mark is coming, but also in the pipeline for printing are the Gospel of John, Ephesians, Genesis and Exodus. We are a bit behind on Genesis and Exodus, but still hope to have them ready for an end-of the year printing. To get them ready in time, we may not be able to draft Hebrews that was scheduled for this year.
One of the most difficult parts of translation programs is the balance between getting it done and getting it right. Looking over Genesis this month, the translators have found a lot that needed revising… the simple read-through proved that there was a lot of interference from a neighboring language (ciChewa). Genesis was done at the time of trying out a new adaptation method, but moving faster back then hasn’t paid-off in the end. Now… do we stop and rework Genesis or do we plug ahead with Exodus drafting having learned from the mistakes? In the meantime, what happens to Hebrews?
Please pray for the team as they grapple with these important decisions! Again, we count on the prayers of our faithful friends. Thanks for being one of them!
Just a note to explain our silence. Switching authors led to some technical difficulties, but I’m hoping this post will show that I’ve got it figured it out.
This week we are welcoming the Nyungwe translation coordinator and administrator back from Nampula. They have been away from Tete for a week at a training and information event especially for Mozambican language project leaders. I hope to be able to introduce you to the whole translation team later in the month.
Here in Tete, we are working on several projects to reach our goals for tranlslation, literacy, and getting the Word out to the local church. We are preparing the Gospel of Mark and Ephesians for printing this week! The team is working on Exodus the first half of this year. We are actively looking for a translation office that will give us visability here in the city. We are also pursuing active partnership with the Department of Education to support their Nyungwe Biblingual education initiative this year.
So, thank you for your faithful interest in Nyungwe Bible Translation! We ask for your continued prayers as we move ahead in this ministry to the people of Mozambique. It would be very encouraging to hear from you if you are praying for us. The team would love to know they are being remembered by brothers around the world!