Leave a Lasting Legacy
The patient Kapingamarangi
When Pam and Nico were working in the Solomon Islands, they heard about the Kapingamarangi people of Micronesia. They heard that many of them were longing to have the Bible in their language. They were even saving to support the translation financially. But no one was available to coordinate the linguistic and translation work.
More than 10 years later when they asked after the Kapingamarangi, one man’s plea summed it up: “What do we need to do to get you to come? Do we need to pay your plane fare?”
Pam and Nico continue the story… “Finally, in 1996 we moved to Pohnpei [in Micronesia]. We found a community prepared to make Bible translation work a top priority—and ready to work together toward that goal. With the help of 20-plus translators and more than 70 Scripture reviewers, the New Testament was completed in only four years! By then their savings fully paid the cost of publication.
When the completed New Testament was dedicated in 2000, we heard the story of Lohete, which gave us a new perspective on the Kapingans’ accomplishment. Lohete was a Kapingamarangi man who had received a Bible in the Pohnpeian language many years before. Despite them being very different languages, Lohete longed to read the Bible, so he taught himself Pohnpeian and, as he read, he came to know Jesus.
Lohete wanted others to know the good news that he had discovered, but he knew that most people would never teach themselves Pohnpeian as he had done. So he started praying for someone to help translate the Bible into his language. We never knew Lohete, and his son was already an old man by the time we came to help, but when we heard this story, we knew that God had sent us in answer to Lohete’s prayers.”
Lohete never saw the New Testament in his language, but his prayer played as vital a role in the translations as the savings of his descendants.
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"The role of Bible translation in the growth of the church in Sudan to me is so great; the fact (is) that through the translated word the Church continues to grow both in knowledge and number. "
- Ezekiel Kondo, Bishop of Khartoum, Episcopal Church of Sudan