“My people too need the Bible in their language…”

August 10, 2012 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible translation, Front, Language, Mission, Tanzania

Back in September 2004 I was part of a research team that spent a few weeks with the Nyiha people of Tanzania’s Mbeya Region, trying to answer some questions about how the Nyiha may best be able to translate the Bible into their own language. As part of the trip we ended up also driving south to Zambia and Malawi to connect with the Nyiha and Nyika communities there, who were originally part of the same Tanzanian community but had travelled south several generations ago.

The research trip confirmed that there was a need to translate the Bible into Nyiha, and that there were only minimal dialect differences between the ways that people in the various Tanzanian Nyiha villages spoke. Since then several Nyiha translators have been working alongside translators from other languages of Mbeya and Iringa Regions, to start translating portions of Scripture into their languages. Read the rest of this entry →

“It’s like a miracle”

November 28, 2011 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible translation, Front, Language

Last year I spent two weeks in Zambia’s Western Province, training a group of people to survey the languages of their vast province as they sought to start developing their languages and translating the Bible into them. Since then I have been excited to see the rapid and encouraging progress that the team has made.

Recently the project was featured on BBC World Service, and on the BBC website, with the website article particularly focusing on the Shanjo people and their language, ciShanjo.

“It’s like a miracle,” says Hastings Sitale, recalling how he felt when he saw a booklet written in ciShanjo, a language he had only ever spoken before. Read the rest of this entry →

Zambia translation workshop in photos

April 2, 2011 in Wycliffe, Africa, Bible translation, Language

It has been exciting for me to follow from a distance the progress of the small group of Zambians and South Africans that I spent two weeks with last May. They have a vision to start translating the Bible with various language communities in western Zambia, and after six months putting into practice the language survey principles I gave them training in, they have now held the first workshop with translators from five language groups.

Here are some photos from the recent workshop…

Translators working

Working together

Women sitting outside

Man with glasses

Pen writing

Workshop participants


James and Jess, who are coordinating the project

James and Jess, who are coordinating the project

Workshop participants

Man reading book under tree


Thanks to Marinette for the beautiful photos.

“A Dream Come True” as Zambian Translators are Chosen

February 16, 2011 in Wycliffe, Africa, Bible translation, Language, Mission

In mid-2010 I had the privilege of working alongside a group of Zambians and South Africans in Zambia’s Western Province, giving them guidance in how to survey language communities in preparation for a potential Bible translation project. Since I was there the team have been busy putting what they learnt into practice surveying various language communities in the vast region, and it’s exciting to see how things are progressing!

James and Jess write:

After a survey lasting 6 months, we have chosen the ‘5 Big’ tribes who do not have God’s Word in their language. January has been ‘CRUNCH TIME’ to get the best 6 translators per tribe before 7 international trainers join us in March to develop alphabets for each language.

Our chase started 11 hours drive from Mongu with the ‘Fwe tribe’, 12-14000 people living in a game park (in the corners of 3 countries: Zambia, Namibia and Angola). We arrived to find that the people had been waiting for our visit for months. Meetings over 3 days were attended by more than 70 Fwe elders (Bible readers; Beer drinkers etc). We knew they valued this work but were BLOWN AWAY at their passion levels as they contemplated receiving God’s Word in their first language. James and Clifford (a Zambian colleague) led the elders through a process of selecting 6 translators (not an easy task!). One newly appointed translator remarked, “This is a dream come true”.

James with chiefs and translator

James with the headmaster, clinic officer, Fwe chiefs and a newly appointed translator

We got stuck in a field while trying to dodge some flood water and so the Fwe tribe’s contribution started early. It took them 8 hours to help us get the car to solid ground.

Stuck in the mud

Stuck in the mud

At time of writing, James is with the Kwamashi and Akakwandu tribes in Shangombo (16 hrs from Mongu). Thereafter he visits the Kwangwa tribe in Mongu and Kaoma and then goes by boat to see the Kwamakoma tribe in Kalabo – ‘THE BIG 5’.

Please continue to pray for these five groups, for the translators who are currently being chosen, for people like James and Jess and others who are coordinating the translation work, and that the people of Zambia’s Western Province would hear God speaking their language very soon.

You can find out more about the two weeks I spent with the team back in May and June 2010 here:

Our Year in Pictures

December 29, 2010 in Life

2010 has been a year of transition for us, spending time on three continents, saying goodbye to some friends and family and being reunited with others. Here are a few photos to tell our story of 2010…