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:

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