At the end of August, I flew to Mbeya in southwest Tanzania, to be attend the dedication of several books of the Bible in the Safwa language. The books of Ruth, Jonah, Mark, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, are the first to be published in Safwa, and were greeted with much singing, dancing and joy by the crowd assembled in the town of Mbalizi, about 30 minutes drive from Mbeya.

Various honoured guests were present, including a Member of Parliament, local businessmen and traditional Safwa community leaders. The celebrations included performances by choirs and bands, and speeches by various guests, the highlight of which was our German colleague, Andrea, giving her speech entirely in Safwa, to the amazement of all!

The day was a chance to remember all the hard work that has gone into making these publications possible, with numerous challenges along the way, as well as a chance to reach out to the entire community, inviting them to continue to be involved as the project moves forward, towards hopefully completing the entire New Testament.

This was the first Scripture dedication that I had attended for almost 10 years, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion. Here are some photos, to give you a flavour of the day…

Safwa celebrations

Safwa celebrations

Team leader Pastor Mwaikokesya addresses the crowd

Team leader Joey Mwaikokesya addresses the crowd

Safwa celebrations

Speech

Looking at the Safwa books

Safwa celebrations

Listening to Andrea's speech in Safwa

Listening to Andrea’s speech in Safwa

Safwa celebrations

Safwa celebrations

My speech giving a short history of Bible translation (Photo: Mary Pence)

My speech giving a short history of Bible translation (Photo: Mary Pence)

Safwa celebrations

Safwa celebrations

Safwa celebrations

  1. Andrew Simpson says:

    Hi Mark, beautiful photos (well, except for the 11th!)of an amazing day! Is that a Kindle you’re speaking from?

    What is the significance of the blue flowers on people’s faces in the first couple of photos?

    • Mark says:

      Ha, thanks! Yes, it was our basic Kindle that has since died… I tried to get Amazon to pay for a new one by suggesting I would switch to using our Nook, but they only agreed to pay 50%…!

      I’m not sure exactly what the significance of the flowers is, other than that they are traditional Safwa decorations.

      Hope you guys are all well!

  2. Toni Kim says:

    What beautiful news – about what has been accomplished with Safwa scripture and what will be accomplished in the future with translation in the Kisi, Manda and Pangwa languages. Thanks for sharing these photos of God’s love in action ! Mark, don’t know how you and Laura manage to find time to write and keep us all informed, but I’m grateful for all both of you do. Btw, yay for your new home sweet home, Laura’s opportunities to minister through coaching, and completion of your MA. I think that stands for Mucho Awesome.

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