Back in July and August 2005 I was part of a language assessment team that was asked by the church leaders in Tanzania’s Mara Region to research the various languages spoken in the region and assess the need for Bible translation. The research trip was a memorable one for me in many ways, ranging from the fascinating people, culture and languages (and animals) of Mara Region, to the frequent trips to the internet cafe in Musoma to check on the cricket scores and to see if Laura (who I had met a few weeks previously) had emailed.
Six years on and it is very exciting to see the progress that has been made in the translation project since then, and in particular to see that the first Bible books in some of the languages are about to be published! The book of Luke has been recently translated into the Ikoma, Kabwa and Zanaki languages of Mara Region, spoken by a total of around 150,000 people.
Our prayer is that these new translations would be well used, and that the churches who have put so much effort into the translation of these materials would see the fruit of their labours as people are able to better understand and relate to the story of Jesus.
Thinking about these language communities also started me reminiscing about the language assessment trip in 2005 and re-reading my online diary from the trip, which is mostly full of cricket scores, lake flies and various other randomness…