After many years of hard work a couple of weeks ago the Sangu people of Tanzania’s Mbeya Region were able to celebrate the publication of the first ever books of the Bible in their language. The books of Jonah, Ruth, Mark, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon have all been translated and are now available in the Sangu language.
Our friend and colleague Danny Foster was at the dedication ceremony and celebrations…
When I arrived on Friday at the town’s main market, I was welcomed by the chairman of the local Sangu language committee as they were making preparations for the celebration. I immediately got the sense that Saturday was going to be a party! I headed further out into the plains and stayed with a local rice farmer who is a good friend of mine and also works as a translation reviewer. That night we sat under the stars and talked about two journeys: the two-day journey of a crazy man from Dar es Salaam to the Sangu Plains on a motorcycle and the 14-year journey for the Sangu people to see their first dedication of Scriptures!
The next day we went back to town for the celebration. Everyone was there. The dedication was attended by the area MP, government officials, the Sangu chief, and a crowd of locals who were drawn in by the music and festivities. I even noticed a number of people from the neighbouring Sukuma and Masaai tribes taking part in the celebration. Several churches provided choirs who sang and danced with what can only be described as full-on joy! For me, it was a party like no other! Finally a small package containing Ruth, Jonah, Mark, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon was cut open by the Mbarale District Council Chairman and then prayed over by all the local pastors. Read more
Take a look at Danny’s blog for more about the ceremony, and a video of some enthusiastic Sangu dancing!
Please continue to pray for the Sangu, that they would use the translated Scriptures and that communities would be transformed as they engage with the Bible. Pray also for the Sangu translators as they continue the long and hard work of translating other parts of the Bible.