“I am the one who does not obey God,” one man told the Translator…
“At a community check,” said one of the Translators, “God saved seven!”
The Burunge team had a draft of Deuteronomy, ready for several stages of checking which the translation work will undergo. The regular Community Checks, testing that Scripture portions are ‘natural’ (easily read and understood), are a crucial and exciting activity for the team.
“Our Burunge community is very happy,” said Emmanual Doe, a Burunge Translator, “to hear the Word of God through their ‘heart’ language. They love to listen and listen. Already the Scripture is changing the life of the Burunge people, as you can see through this image.”
Emmanuel (Emma) had visited a village called Chioli to facilitate the check with a group of local volunteers. It was going well, and he had his copy of the Deuteronomy draft with him as he walked along a road filled with people.
Beside the road, a group of men sat drinking. They know Emma is a pastor, so they put down bottles and welcomed him with respect.
“In my hands,” the pastor told the men, “I have the Word of God, written in Burunge.”
“We need to see it,” they replied.
Doe handed his pages to one man, who began to read. A few of the men in turn read verses from the account of God’s covenant commands to his people.
“See in the photo,” Doe said, “the man who is lifting up his hand? When he heard about the laws and commandments of God, he raised his hand and said, “I am that one. I am the one who does not obey God.”
Eventually, Doe retrieved his copy of the draft, but the men wanted more. So he read the following chapter, including the Ten Commandments and Israel’s response to God.
“They continued to be very quiet,” he said. “They were touched by so many things in those verses.”
Finally, the Burunge Translator and pastor saw his moment.
“I asked them, ‘Today who will want to give his life for Jesus Christ? Who will have Jesus to become his Savior and Redeemer? Praise the Lord, seven of them were born again that day!”
Doe’s trip to Chioli yielded good progress with their translation checking, and eternal impact for families throughout that community. Still wanting to do more, Pastor Emma brought with him a copy of the JESUS film in Burunge and showed it for the crowd that gathered.
Back in the Burunge team’s Dodoma office, they updated their translation files and worked with a typesetter to get Deuteronomy ready for printing. They made audio recordings of the new text, and even connected their files to the Bible app and website by YouVersion. The team also loaded solar audio players with the Scripture text and recordings, even Burunge songs.
“Pray for this translation project,” said Doe. “Many Burunge people follow another major religion, but they want to read the Torah, the five books written by Moses. We have now three of them. I pray we will see God save many. We want to finish the work, to translate the whole Old Testament, but it takes funding.”
photo above: “I am the one who does not obey,” said one of the men, hand raised. A local pastor and translator was carrying a draft of translated Scripture when he met this group. Soon God’s Word in their language was proving its power to transform, even before it gets published. (photo: Emmanuel Doe)
This story was written for SIL Tanzania by:
Kenny Grindall (Communications Coordinator)
SIL International is a global leader among academic and professional organisations which offer language development services. SIL works alongside speakers of more than 1,700 languages in over 100 countries. Active in Tanzania since 1989, the organization makes its services available to all without regard to religious belief, political ideology, gender, race or ethnolinguistic background.