Posted On: 08/18/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
Ethiopia: a diverse country with unique people and a variety of different languages. Three religious groups - Christians, Muslims, and Jews - live together in one nation, although many Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel. There are over 80 different ethnic groups in this one, fairly small country, and they speak languages from at least 4 different language families that fit into either the Cushitic or Semitic branches. The script used in these languages, called Ge’ez or Ethiopic, is one of the oldest scripts in the world. It is a fascinating place, to say the least!
You may know Ethiopia for its 11 churches that were carved out of stone and its famous emperor, Haile Selassie, who ruled from 1930 to 1974. The Ethiopians believe that he and his predecessors were descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and there is a very strong connection to Judaism throughout the country. During colonialism, Ethiopia was the only country that managed to stay independent and fight off the colonists. It has always been a strong, independent, and resilient nation.
TWFTW began its involvement in Ethiopia with the Maale project in 1999. At the moment, we are involved in 16 projects, each of which aims to translate the entire Bible into that particular language. The Dawro, Goma, Gofa, Guji, and Maale projects are almost finished, and only need consultant checks to be completed before they are ready for publication. Each of these 16 projects represents a group of people who do not yet have the whole Bible in their own language, and who will soon receive it thanks to the hard work of translators from these people groups and of consultants. Thank you for your support and prayers.
Posted On: 07/29/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
We often talk about our translation projects, but rarely about just how many steps are involved in the process of translating the Bible! First is the preparation and planning stage. A language and its speaking community must be evaluated to determine whether a translation of the Bible is needed and whether it will be utilized. The Word for the World only translates into languages that do not have a translation of the Bible yet. People who will play the roles of the translators, consultants (who check the translations), project leader, exegetee (experts in interpreting the Bible), review committee, and publishers, among others, must also be found and, if necessary, trained. A project plan is drawn up and translators are recruited to begin the process. After translation, at least one or two consultant checks and an evaluation by a review committee as well as testing among the people for whom the translation is done.
There are also many linguistic elements that play a part in the process. Research must be done about the most prominent, most widely used dialect, the stability of the language, the social conditions of the language speakers, and many other factors. Some languages have no orthography (writing system), and TWFTW works with the language speakers to create an orthography. Sometimes there is an existing orthography, but it is not adequate for a text like the Bible, and it must be revised and expanded. When it comes to the orthography of a language, government support is crucial so that the writing system is not eventually discarded. When necessary, TWFTW also works with translators and community leaders to launch a literacy campaign and/or to compile a dictionary and grammar for the language.
The steps of preparation, translation, and publication are each highly involved and are made up of many other steps that require a variety of people with expertise and experience in many different areas including exegetical, linguistic, and sociological. The most important step is, of course, when the people finally receive a Bible in their own language! At the moment, the average time it takes for a TWFTW project to be completed, from beginning to end, is around 15 years. We have drastically reduced the time required, and it is only made possible when everyone involved works passionately and wholeheartedly to accomplish the translation of the Bible. Our vision is for everyone to have a Bible in their heart language, and we are working steadily toward that goal.
Posted On: 06/18/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
Derek Feldman, a photographer, spent a few months of 2012 traveling with The Word For the World through Europe and Africa. He took pictures for TWFTW in the various countries he visited, and met, as he said, some truly unforgettable people. Recently, he and Lorah were married, and instead of giving their guests little gifts, they made a donation to TWFTW. Here is what they told their guests:
"Instead of giving you silly little items, we’re making a donation in your name to an organization that’s making an impact in the world. The Word For the World is a unique organization that trains native-speaking translators. These translators then translate the Bible into their native languages. They are currently translating the Bible into sixty-five languages, with more in the works. The work Derek saw and the people he met made a huge impact on him. It is incredibly important that everyone is able to read the Word of God in their own language, and we want to support this ministry. We are, therefore, making a donation to TWFTW for each of our wedding guests… and that’s where your wedding favor is! Somewhere in Africa! Or maybe Slovakia… it’s hard to tell. Just know that it’s going to a good cause! You can learn more about The Word For The World at TWFTW.org, and you can see some pictures from that trip on Derek’s website: DaysOnTheMove.com.
Posted On: 05/27/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
“Reverend Stout was a close friend of Eduard H White II, the astronaut who completed the first spacewalk on Gemini IV in 1965 and the senior pilot of Apollo 1 killed in the pre-launch fire. White had voiced that he had taken a small Bible with him on his historic spacewalk and that he dreamed of one day taking a Bible to the moon. After the fire of Apollo 1, Stout took it upon himself to achieve White’s dream. In 1971, a complete Lunar Bible, microfilm in gold frame, was flown to the moon on Apollo 14.” (Photo Ardon Bar Hama)
Today, while still here upon this earth, with billions still without the Bible, TWFTW wants to be instrumental in translating the complete Bible into 500 languages by 2050.
If you would like to partner with us through your prayers, finances, skills and services, please visit TWFTW.org.
Posted On: 05/13/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
Take God’s word in your hands. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). The Word is Jesus. Take Him in your hands. Feel the pages. Read the words. How much of our relationship with God is contained in this book! It is through reading the Bible that we get to know Him; who He is, what He does, how great His love is for us, and how we should serve Him. Would you still be able to understand all of this if you were reading the Bible in a second or third language? So many people around the world have access to Bibles, but they have to resort to reading the Bible in a language they are not fluent in.
When the Bible is translated into someone’s heart language, they are able to fully understand what they are reading. They can know that God speaks their language, and they can get to know Him more intimately. Through the work of Bible translation, we are not simply dealing with languages; we are dealing with the hearts of the people who will receive these Bibles. Join with us as we help to make it possible for everyone – every single person, everywhere – to be able to get to know God in their own langauge.
Posted On: 04/28/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
There is a beautiful passage in Luke that describes how people brought their children to Jesus for him to lay hands on them and pray for them. It says, “When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’” (Luke 18:15-16, NIV). He wanted them to be able to sit at his feet and hear his words just like everyone else in the crowd. How happy and excited he must be today when children read their Bibles, and grow in their relationship with him!
As of 2013, thanks to The Word For the World, 359,000 Sena people now have a complete Bible in their own language, and 8,871,000 speakers of Taabua, Chikunda, Guji, Maale, Dawro, Gamo and Gofa have a New Testament. The children growing up in those communities will be able to read their Bibles in their own languages and come to know the same Jesus who welcomed the little children over 2,000 years ago.
Posted On: 04/17/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
A truck full of Maale New Testaments is pushed by the Maale people. An enthusiastic crowd is waiting for God's Word in their own language!
The Maale Dedication of the New Testament.
What will we be doing over Easter?
The bees were playing when Jesus died.
One Ethiopian Bible translation team translated “At the time of day when the bees come out to play, Jesus died.”
People of this particular tribe tell time by events in the natural world. Bee-keeping is one of their main occupations, and so three o’clock in the afternoon to them, is the time when the activity of the bees changes from what seems to be purposeful, work-directed, to seem to be playful. It is the time of day when the bees seem to buzz around the hives, rather than flying directly from and to the hives.
In a sense the whole world was “playing” as Jesus died, oblivious to the greatest work in the history of the world being done in behalf of all people.
This weekend, as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, many people will be “playing”. In countries where the Easter weekend is still honoured by public holidays commemorating the events, many will flock to places of recreation and relaxation. In many countries Easter will pass as an event on the church calendar, with hardly any interruption of business activities.
What will you be doing over Easter?
Let’s take time this weekend to contemplate the greatest event that ever occurred on this earth: The Son of God dying that our sins may be forgiven, and rising from the dead, so that we may be justified. Surely the magnitude and significance of that event warrants our thanksgiving and adoration?
And as we play, let our playing be as Spurgeon once said, “holy inaction and consecrated leisure.”
Posted On: 03/26/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
Two candidate consultants and their supervisors meeting in India.
One of the greatest needs in Bible translation is for Bible translation consultants. They are the experts who ensure the quality of new translations by comparing them with the original versions of the New and Old Testaments. At present, the most effective Bible translation teams of The Word for the World (TWFTW) are translating on average 10% of the complete Bible per year. The average rate of consultation, on the other hand, is around 4% of the complete Bible per year.
TWFTW works towards relieving this need in various ways, one of which is by making accelerated training of consultants available through a program of academic training combined with internships in consultation. Selected candidates from the pool of trained and experienced Bible translators are admitted to this program. Satisfactory progress academically, and successful completion of an internship with an experienced consultant offers suitable candidates the opportunity to develop into a consultant.
In partnership with the South African Theological Seminary, TWFTW offers a Master’s as well as a PhD to assist candidates as they develop academic foundation and practical skills required by the International Forum of Bible Agencies (FOBAI).
Posted On: 02/24/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
According to the 2001 census, the population of this language group (which we cannot mention due to security risks) is just over 1 million. The population is divided into various castes, each enjoying a different social status. The people live in extended families in villages that consist of loosely grouped homes surrounded by farmlands. The main occupation is agriculture, which is supplemented by raising buffaloes, cows, goats and sheep. The principal crops are potatoes and rice.
Some of their beliefs appear to be similar to that of the Jews in the Old Testament. Following the Hindu calendar, on the 14th of the first month of each year, each family slaughters a goat and sprinkles its blood on doorposts. They believe that by doing this, they can ensure that evil spirits will not trouble them. They have an ark, similar to the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament. It is a wooden box, covered with silver, containing five precious stones and one stick. They believe that this box represents God’s presence among them.
They consider Christianity as a foreign religion and regard Christians as being untrustworthy. Members of the nation who become Christians are suspected of receiving large amounts of money for becoming Christians. Existing as a tribe and living as a close community facilitates the speedy spreading of any news good or bad.
TWFTW members working in this people group have to exercise great caution. The fact that the region is dominated by the HIndu religion presents great challenges to Christian workers. It happened that in a certain village, some villagers gathered with the intent of attacking our translators. Thankfully, some villagers helped our translators to escape from the situation, thereby preventing the situation from becoming life threatening. This is just one example of a variety of discouraging events. However, it is encouraging that some villagers are open to listening to the Good News
Two translators trained by TWFTW are currently awaiting their graduation upon completion of their training. They are already translating the Bible, most of the time under very difficult circumstances. Progress in the work of translating the full Bible has been as follows:
Please remember to pray for this people group and the people who are translating the Bible into their language.
- The Gospel of Mark has been published
- The book of Acts has been approved for accuracy by consultants and is awaiting being printed
- The translation of several other books is near being completed
- 25 songs have been written in the local language
Posted On: 01/29/2014
Posted By: TWFTW
In the southeastern part of Tanzania on the African continent lives a friendly group of people called the Makua. In 1876, the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, a missionary society from the Anglican Church, sent missionaries to the Makua people making them the first tribe in Southern Tanzania to receive the gospel. Because of missionary efforts, about 65% of the population are Christian. And yet, despite evangelism efforts for almost 140 years, this group of people has never had the Bible in their own language—not one scripture. In 2009, the first ever Gospel of John launched in the Makua language.
Because The Word for the World supports full translations of the Bible in languages that do not have any translated scripture, the Makua now have some books of the Bible completely translated in their own heart language.
With only $35 per month, you will enable a translation family to continue their valuable work in translating the Bible for their own people.
Click here to donate to a Translation Family!