Amidst all our packing and preparations to move at the moment, it’s exciting to see what is happening in the west of Tanzania. Currently some of our colleagues are in the town of Mpanda in Rukwa Region, meeting with church leaders to discuss whether there is a need and a desire to start language development and Bible translation projects among the various language communities in the area.

The thing that makes this particularly exciting for us, is that this is the area where we may potentially be working when we head to Tanzania in a couple of years!

Louise (who used to be Mark’s boss when he was in Tanzania and is currently one of the team meeting with church leaders) has written today:

We have ‘discovered’ a new language or possibly 3. Of course they’ve been there for a very long time, but just not on any lists produced by academia. We could possibly have up to three new ones to add to the Ethnologue (www.ethnologue.com), but my guess is that they will be considered dialects of neighboring languages. It’s also possible that we might remove one language from the list.

In Tanzania, face to face meetings with individuals are very important to have before gathering in a meeting where decision are to be made. So, for 9 hours today Pastor Joey and I continued to visit the leaders of the Tanzania Assemblies of God, the Evangelistic Assemblies of God of Tanzania, the Lutherans, the Anglicans, and the Africa Inland Church of Tanzania. Every one of the church leaders continues to be very positive about starting a language development and Bible translation project. Some could do a commercial for Bible translation. We’ve talked about it requiring sacrifice from the churches, yet they insist they are ready for that. One good sign is that without asking for it the Lutherans are going to give us use of the meeting room free of charge. read more

Yesterday Louise had the chance to meet with one pastor in particular who has a real heart for Bible translation for his people:

“It’s about time!”

He didn’t say that, but I couldn’t help but think it. We did sociolinguistic surveys of the Bende and Tongwe peoples in 1999! Since then pastor Kasanda has written a couple of times, asking for our assistance in translating the Bible for his people. Today – 11 years later, we drove the 3 1/2 hrs down to his village to meet him and to tell him that things are underway – finally! His family obviously has little, but yet they generously prepared us a fancy lunch. It was a special visit for me as although I didn’t go on those surveys many years ago, I have had these people on my heart since then.

Pastor Kasanda

In the morning Joey and I visited the Roman Catholic offices and had an excellent conversation with the parish priest.

Everyone seems to be so ready to partner in this work! I can’t help but wonder if they will all really come to the meeting on the 16th to commit to going ahead together with the language development and Bible translation project. read more

Please join with us in praying for this part of Tanzania, and particularly for the potential opportunities to serve the language communities in helping them to translate the Bible. If you’d like to keep an eye on what happens over the next few weeks you can join us in following Louise’s blog!

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