Walking to the market with God

February 24, 2015 in Mark, Bible, Church, Front, Tanzania, Theology

Having moved around quite a bit over the past few years, we have had the privilege of hearing many different church leaders in three countries and two (three if you count American) languages, reading parts of the Bible and teaching what it may mean. While we have certainly heard some excellent teachers making fine points about various parts of the Bible, when I think back over all the sermons I have heard (and taught) in the past few years, I struggle to think of any “fact” or “teaching” that has really impacted my life. And I really have to try hard to remember any “application” from any of those sermons. OK, maybe I have a bad memory, and I’m sure I have dozed off in church too many times, as all male Woodwards are prone to do from time to time.

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Worth more than many apples

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

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: Read the rest of this entry →

Nyiha Scriptures: “Now I know how my ancestors talked about God”

August 15, 2013 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible translation, Church, Front, Language, Mission, Swahili, Tanzania

Back in May I was privileged to spend a few days with the Nyiha language community in Mbozi District of Tanzania’s Mbeya Region. The Nyiha were the first community that I was involved in surveying in August and September 2004, and since then they have worked with experts from around the world to translate the books of Ruth, Jonah, Mark, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus and Revelation into their language.

The purpose of my recent visit was to see what impact these translated Scriptures are having among the community, and to see what lessons could be learned from the Nyiha that could be applied to translation projects in other communities throughout Tanzania. Read the rest of this entry →

Malila Scriptures: “God is standing right next to me!”

December 17, 2012 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible translation, Church, Front, Language, Mission, Tanzania

Two weeks ago I was in Mbeya Region conducting research for my MA in Bible and Mission among the Malila language community. The Malila have been part of a Bible translation project involving 10 language communities of Mbeya and Njombe Regions for the past eight years, and are now very happy to have several books of the Bible published in their language.

The aim of my research was to see exactly how these translated Scriptures are being used, and what the Malila can teach other language communities who are in the same process of translating the Bible into their languages. Read the rest of this entry →

Sukuma Scriptures and Songbooks

October 30, 2012 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible, Bible translation, Front, Language, Mission, Tanzania

There are over 120 languages spoken in Tanzania by communities across the country, the largest of which is the Sukuma people who number around five million. The Sukuma tend to be cattle herders and live mainly in Mwanza, Shinyanga and Tabora Regions, but there are also a significant number in and around Mpanda town here in Katavi Region.

On my way to work each morning I pass by an elderly Sukuma couple, who love to call out to me and greet me in their language. They seem to work on the principle that if they say the same greetings enough times then eventually they will stick inside my head, although I have to say the process is a slow one! Read the rest of this entry →