Worth more than many apples

April 18, 2014 in Africa, Bible translation, Front, Mark, Tanzania, Wycliffe by Mark

One of my favourite parts of my new job is the fact that I get to hear reports of what is happening in Tanzania’s Dodoma, Katavi and Mbeya Regions as our colleagues are working alongside 20 language communities. While a lot of what happens in our project offices is often routine – analysing phonemes or grammatical constructions, drafting and checking Scripture passages, filing finance records, maintaining IT networks etc – it is always exciting to hear of how the work is impacting the lives of individuals and communities as they engage with materials in their local language.

Recently I heard the following account, told by the Team Leader for the Mbeya project, Pastor Mwaikokesya:

ApplesLast week a very old man, an Mzee, came to our compound selling apples. They were not very good apples, and they were very small.
First I said “No, Father,” but I wanted to encourage him, so I told him I would buy one apple.
“Take two,” he said. “They are very good apples. I raised them myself.”
So I took two apples, but I paid him for three. Then I asked him “Mzee! Do you go to church?”
“Yes, I go to church” he said.
“Mzee, do you know Jesus as your Savior?” I asked him.
“Yes, I know Him” he said.
“Then I have a gift for you.” I told him. I went back into my office and got a Scripture portion in his language. The old man was Kinga, so I gave him a Gospel of Mark in Kinga. He thanked me and left.
About ten minutes later there was a very loud knocking at my office door. It was the Mzee. He held out to me a big pile of apples in both hands.
“You must take these,” he said.
“Me? Take your apples? No! Why?” I said.
“You must take them. The book! The book you gave me. It blesses my heart! I will keep it always.”
And then he said “I have no way to know what such a book is worth. Truly it is worth more than many apples.”

You can take a look at some of the materials that are available online in the Kinga language, with hopefully more to be added soon!