Posts Tagged ‘Cameroon’

I want to be a lion tamer!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 by Martin Horton

In all honesty, if you looked at a survey of the most exciting jobs ever created, lion taming would be near to the top, whereas accountancy would probably be nearer the bottom. However, accountancy is an incredibly valuable profession, both in business, society and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Right now one of our most urgent needs is for an accountant to work with a project in Papua New Guinea (PNG). You may remember that we wrote about this in June last year (Volunteer to make a difference). This position has been vacant for a long time but is crucial to the running of the office. It would be a significant answer to prayer if it was to be filled by the right person, be that a volunteer or someone who feels called to serve with Wycliffe long-term.

We also need an accountant in Cameroon. The team recruited a local accountant in November 2016 and feel that an additional, more experienced accountant could greatly help get their accounting done.

You may be wondering why Wycliffe needs more than just Bible translators. The fact is, we can’t accomplish our translation work without other people taking on crucial support roles. As a recent prayer letter from SIL* Chad mentioned, it is positions like these that keep their well-oiled machine running.

Please stand in the gap for these teams and pray that the right people will feel called to these two roles.

  • Please pray that God would provide the right person to support the local accountant in SIL Cameroon – a team player with the right skills who has caught the vision for Bible translation.
  • Please pray that God will answer the prayers of the team in PNG and send them the accountant that they urgently need.
  • Please pray that people’s eyes are opened to the many different and varied roles through which they can volunteer or serve with us, either in their home countries or overseas.

Find out how your skills could be used to support Bible translation. Alternatively go along to one of our First Steps events which act as a great introduction into the world of Bible translation.

Pray regularly for Bible translation projects! Sign up to receive our magazine Words for Life which is packed full of interesting articles as well as our prayer diary giving daily prayer needs.

*SIL is our primary partner.

What kind of love?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 by Ruth

In order to get the big picture of God’s Story in the Bible across, the little details – even down to a single letter – need to be carefully considered. But how much difference could one letter actually make?

Translator Lee Bramlett and his wife, Tammi, had learned that verbs in Hdi consistently end in one of three vowels. For almost every verb, they could find forms ending in i, a, and u. But when it came to the word for love, they could only find i and a. Why no u?

Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the community, “Could you dvi your wife?”

“Yes,” they said. That would mean that the wife had been loved but the love was gone.

“Could you dva your wife?” Lee asked.

“Yes,” they said. That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well.

“Could you dvu your wife?”  Lee asked. Everyone laughed.

“Of course not!” they said. “If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say dvu. It just doesn’t exist.”

Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God dvu people?”

There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded.

“Do you know what this would mean?” they asked. “This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected his great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

One simple vowel, and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you based on who I am. I love you because of me and not because of you.”

Without the Bible in the language that people can understand, God’s message of love isn’t getting through. More than 160 million people speak languages that could communicate God’s love clearly to them, but they still don’t know it because there isn’t a single verse of Scripture translated into their language. It’s time to #endbiblepoverty.

Story originally from Bob Creson,
Photo courtesy Lee Bramlett and Wycliffe USA.

Unlocking the Bible for different people groups

Monday, November 30th, 2015 by Camilla

Sometimes the challenges of communicating God’s love to a specific people group are greater than expected. What does it look like when God reveals the all-important keys that were there all along? Read on to find out…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo unconditional love: Americans Lee and Tammi Bramlett were looking for the key to unlocking the Bible for the Hdi people group in Cameroon, when God prompted Lee in a dream to take a closer look at the Hdi word for ‘to love’. It turned out that while most Hdi verbs can end in either a, i or u, the verb ‘to love’ was never used with its u ending, as that would imply unconditional love – an easily understandable but impossible concept for Hdi speakers! This little vowel changed the meaning of the verb from ‘I love you based on what you do and who you are’, to ‘I love you based on who I am and because of what I have done’. It was the perfect word to describe the way God loves us, and proved to be just the key Lee and Tammi had been looking for. The nature of God’s love for the Hdi people was encoded into their language from the beginning. Read the full story here.

Judas is a hero: The popular book Peace Child takes us to Southeast Asia. In the 1960s, Canadian couple Don and Carol Richardson moved to Western New Guinea, Indonesia to work with the Sawi, a cannibalistic people group. Don recounts,

‘When I learned the language well enough to tell them about Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss of all things, that tickled them. They said, “Tell us more about Judas. He’s our kind of guy.” ‘

The Sawi idealised treachery; they saw Judas as the hero of the piece. Don started to think there was no key to unlocking the gospel for the Sawi – but he was wrong. God showed Don that in Sawi culture, a father in one of two warring villages could establish a basis for peace by giving his child away as a ‘peace child’ to be raised by the enemy village. As long as that child remained alive in the other village, peace was secure. No one would be so evil as to invalidate such a sacrifice by renewing hostility again. When Don explained that Jesus was a peace child, given by the greatest father of all to establish peace between God and man, Judas’s popularity plummeted and Jesus was unveiled as the perfect personal fulfiller of their own uniquely Sawi peace child custom. Watch a video of Don Richardson telling more of this story.

Intrigued? Excited about reaching far-off people groups with the good news? Read more stories from the world of Bible translation on our blog, or find out how you can get involved.

Equipping the right people for the task

Friday, July 3rd, 2015 by Camilla

Where Bible translation is concerned, a passion for the task at hand is vital, but not all that is required. In order to produce a high-quality, natural-sounding, accurate translation, people willing to do the task need to be given the right training.

Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS) in the North West region of Cameroon has chosen to take an active role in Bible translation. By sponsoring a Bible translation degree programme, they are training Cameroonian Bible translators and expanding the available resources for Bible translation in their country.

Emmanuel Keyeh

Emmanuel Keyeh, CABTAL staff member and an adjunct professor at CBTS, teaches a mother tongue literacy course that is part of the Bachelor of Arts in Bible Translation programme.

CABTAL* staff member Emmanuel Keyeh teaches mother tongue literacy at the seminary. He says the Bible translation programme is an intentional way to help get the right people involved and trained in the Bible translation ministry, so that they have the appropriate skills to serve their own people.

Rev. Nseimboh Johnson Nyiangoh is the current president of CBTS. He believes that the use of mother tongue Scriptures is vital. He works in the area of counselling, and he’s found that many people’s difficulties are tied to their struggle to keep their identity.

‘Our mother tongue is our identity,’ he says. ‘When the Bible speaks to people in their mother tongue, it touches them at their heart. They begin to see God like their God.’

A Translator for Every Language Community

Since the Bible translation degree program at CBTS started, 21 people have graduated, and 18 of these are serving in Bible translation projects.

Efi Tembon, director of CABTAL, says when Cameroonians are trained in Bible translation, their experience and skills stay in the community and lead to a more sustainable Bible translation movement.

And, with around 100 languages still needing a Bible translation, Rev. Mbongko says that much work has yet to be done to train an adequate number of personnel.

‘We want to give each language group a trained theologian and Bible translator,’ he says.

Please join us in prayer:

  • Thank God that Cameroonian Bible translators are being trained and using their skills
  • Pray that God would provide all the resources CBTS needs
  • Pray that God would make a way for CBTS to train people from more than 50 language communities in Cameroon
  • Pray that God would raise up men and women who have a burden for Bible translation


The information for this post was taken from Developing Deep Roots in Scripture by Elaine Bombay. Read the full article here.

* CABTAL (Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy) is a participating organization in the Wycliffe Global Alliance.

Photo by Rodney Ballard

Big impacts from small beginnings

Friday, April 3rd, 2015 by Jo Johnson

Christmas and Easter are wonderful opportunities to share small portions of translated Scripture. When people first hear God’s word in their own language the impact is often huge resulting in amazing revelation and transformation.

Karon Christmas story SD cardsTranslation in the Karon language of Senegal has recently started. In preparation for Christmas a dramatised reading of Luke 1 and 2 was recorded along with 8 Christmas songs composed using these chapters of the Bible. 250 SD memory cards were duplicated, along with a booklet of the printed chapters, a small glossary and lyrics of the 8 songs. An elderly man was dying and listened to the recording over and over all day long. Before he died he gave his life to Jesus.

The Aghem project started in 2005 and one of the first things they produced was the Easter story so that the Aghem people could celebrate Easter fully understanding the power of the resurrection of Christ.

Aghem Easter Story Flyer

10 years later and the whole of the New Testament is drafted. More and more churches are using the portions that have been published. A song book has now been printed and an Aghem dictionary is near to completion. However, it is often in the final stages of translating the New Testament and preparing it for print that teams face the greatest opposition. Please stand with the Aghem team so they can meet their goal to launch the New Testament in 2016.

Please pray:

  • for all the language communities around the world that will hear God’s word in their heart language for the first time this Easter.
  • that God will prepare the hearts of the whole Aghem community to receive his word.
  • that God would intervene and bring stability to the nations impacted by the actions of Boko Haram.
  • for safety when travelling, good health and protection for all the Aghem team and their families.
  • for functional literacy classes; that many in the Aghem community will learn to read and write in preparation for the publication of the New Testament.

The Aghem project is overseen by our partner CABTAL.

When the spoken word is more powerful

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 by Jo Johnson

Nearly 70% of people in the world are from oral cultures. Even when they can read and write they often prefer to learn through oral means. This means, for Bible translation, that we must find appropriate non-print formats in which to present God’s word.

A packed audience for a showing of the Bambalang Luke film.

A packed audience for a showing of the Bambalang Luke film.

One way is through the Luke film, a video version of Luke’s gospel similar to the Jesus Film. For just over a year the Bambalang translation team in Cameroon have been showing the Luke Film. It’s in great demand and in spite of it being four hours long people will watch it in its entirety, often standing the whole time. Sometimes the pastors show two hours one night, two the next. People are not happy that they have to wait, but they return and many others join them the second night.

Pastor Pius, one of the Bambalang translation team, tells of one showing:

‘..many followers of another religion came there including one of their leaders, who brought his own seat. One of the teachers in the Arabic school, Mr. A., said “Truly, you have shown that God is the God of Bambalang people speaking their language…. Many people will turn to God in Bambalang.”’

David Chufonmui of the Bamunka Translation team has been helping to show the Luke film. He shares about the enthusiasm which is shown by those who see it:

‘In one place, an older man who is a strong follower of traditional religion, sat captivated and urged the young people around him to be quiet and listen. But after a while he did not need to, as the level of interest was such that the whole gathering naturally became silent.

In another place, rain fell and the film had to be shown indoors. The place became so packed that no-one could enter so two boys climbed the wall of the house and removed mud blocks from the top, squeezing through between the roof and the wall and dropping down inside to get a view of the film!’

Thank God for the impact that the Luke Film is having in Cameroon and pray:

  • For good follow-up by churches for those who decide to follow Christ as a result of the showings.
  • For the interest to be carried across to an interest in the written Scriptures and thus having an impact on listening groups and Bible studies.
  • For resources to be available for the Luke film to be dubbed in the five other languages where translation is ongoing as soon as the text is approved.

Find out other ways non-print versions of Scripture are impacting Cameroonian communities.

Proclaiming the word of God

Friday, September 5th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

Sometimes translating the Bible is a long process. Take the Bakossi language of Cameroon, for example, the project first started in 1974. The running of the project was taken over by CABTAL*  during the  1990s and the Bible was finally launched in 2011, 37 years later. As the project progressed the Bakossi church was increasingly involved and after the launch, the Bakossi churches were handed the task of continuing literacy efforts and helping people learn how to use Scripture in their mother tongue.

Man listening to a proclaimer

Man listening to a proclaimer

However, one issue was that the Bakossi, like two-thirds of the world’s population, are oral learners. This means that even when they can read and write they often prefer to learn through oral means, and some will never learn to read and write. Our partners Faith Comes By Hearing stepped into the breach and produced an audio version of the Bible, which was recorded soon after the launch in 2011.

The next step was to put the recorded Scripture onto microchips which are installed in specially designed audio players called Proclaimers. Proclaimers are easy to use and have good enough sound quality to be heard by groups as large as 300 people. It’s little wonder they are popular, so popular in fact that there weren’t any immediately available for the Bakossi.

Paitence and perseverance were again rewarded when supervisors’ training took place in April this year and immediately 23 listening groups were set up with 1,000 people attending. This in turn has resulted in an increased demand for Bibles, as people want to read along to what they are listening to, all the while improving their literacy skill.  Praise God!

Please pray :

  • many more listening groups will be started and many will hear God’s truth for the first time.
  • that Christians attending these groups will understand God’s word better.
  • that the word of God will change hearts and lives and empower churches.

Find out more about oral communities and pray effectively by using our prayer module ‘Bibles for oral communities

* CABTAL Cameroon Association of Bible Translation and Literacy

From the classroom to Cameroon

Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

At the end of July, new students will begin the first stage of training for Wycliffe work overseas. The Language and Culture Acquisition course (known as ʟᴀᴄᴀ) prepares workers to engage in depth with a new language and culture, and runs at Redcliffe College in Gloucester.

Suzie and Philip Burgess were at Redcliffe until recently, doing further training for work in Cameroon. We asked them what the benefits of studying there are.

Suzie and Philip Burgess

Suzie and Philip Burgess

‘It was good to be with other people who were training for overseas ministry from a number of different  organisations and it was helpful to enjoy fellowship groups and community worship times in the midst of an intense study programme.

‘We also thoroughly enjoyed the food and the pool competition (all work and no play is not a healthy balance!). It was humbling to meet others on the course who work in very different and challenging situations and see the sacrifices that they make, often just to be on the course.’

Pray for the course

Please pray for all the students and staff at Redcliffe College, especially those involved in ʟᴀᴄᴀ. Pray for good transitions back to study, good relationships and God’s enabling.

Pray for Philip and Suzie

Philip and Suzie have both worked in Cameroon before and recently returned to the capital city Yaoundé. They can’t move to live with the Parak* people Philip had previously worked with due to current security concerns. Philip will work with contacts in Yaoundé from the language group. Suzie will make short trips to the Yive village where she worked previously, and process and analyse the data at a distance.

By Christmas, Suzie hopes to be a long way through the 18,000-word dissertation which will be the completion of her MA; Philip hopes to have done more foundational analysis work in the Parak language before translation begins. They both want to encourage and build relationships within the communities despite the distance.

Please pray for safe travels, a strong marriage and wisdom about working at a distance for the projects and the peoples they have come to love.

Look into doing Bible translation and Scripture Use studies at the Redcliffe Centre for Linguistics, Translation and Literacy.

*Parak is the pseudonym used for security purposes.

Babysitting and Bible translation

Monday, June 9th, 2014 by Hannah

To celebrate their 15th anniversary, David and DeAnna (who are working with Wycliffe in Cameroon) decided to go out to dinner. They left their two children with a friend Sophie and a copy of The JESUS Film in Sophie’s own language, Ewondo.

Sophie hadn’t seen the film before. David and DeAnna came home to find her, eyes glued to the screen, watching the film. DeAnna says,

Sophie holding the JESUS Film

Afterwards I asked her what the film was like for her. She had tears of joy filling her eyes as she explained that hearing and watching the story of Jesus in her mother tongue touched her heart profoundly. She understands French, but for the message to be in her mother tongue was much more profound, she said it was difficult to use words to describe how deep it touched her.

At the end of the film there is an invitation to accept Jesus as your Savior and she recited the prayer. She had never been asked before in her mother tongue to accept Jesus as her Savior. She is a Christian and was before the film, but she said by reciting the prayer at the end and accepting an invitation in her mother tongue was a deeper commitment for her.

Sophie has been a Christian for many years and has been persecuted by her family for her faith. Her husband left her and took their children when they were young because of her faith. Her family mocks her for not participating in the things they participate in because of her faith. Her family blames her when bad things happen in the family because of her faith. She told me she wants to show her family the film because in the film people were mocking Jesus and in the end were convicted and she wants them to see that Jesus is victorious regardless of mockery.

David and DeAnna published this on their blog. Read more here.

Wycliffe partner with The JESUS Film to translate the script of the film into minority languages, like Ewondo. It is estimated that more than 200 million people have indicated a decision to follow Jesus after seeing the film. Find out more about partnering with a Bible translation project that will see the JESUS Film dubbed.

Literacy at the morgue

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 by Ruth

Within two weeks of the Oku New Testament launch, the newly translated Scriptures were piercing and comforting hearts in the Oku community, Cameroon. David describes in his blog what happened at the morgue in Yaoundé:

Oku literacy

As I waited outside one of the local morgues in Yaoundé for the levée du corps (removal of the body) to take to the church for the memorial service, I was amazed at the number of people that were there during the work day. A Cameroonian co-worker’s wife, Mary, had gone home to be with Jesus…

But while I was waiting, a co-worker had brought a new Oku New Testament from the dedication two weeks ago in Oku to present to my friend who just lost his wife since he was not able to attend the dedication in his mother tongue. So she was waiting to present it to him and there were many other Oku people around so she thought she would ask someone to read the new Oku New Testament but the woman sitting beside her had never learned to read in Oku, her mother tongue, but as we sat under the overhang outside the mortuary she had her first literacy lesson in Oku. She starting reading in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and also Revelation 7:17. The Oku woman said that “Reading this took away my tears.”

Revelation 7:17 “For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”  NLT (Read complete post)

Reading the Scriptures in the heart language gets the message through like nothing else. But there remain nearly 2,000 language groups worldwide – representing around 250 million people – who still cannot access God’s word in the language they understand best, because translation work has not even begun. You can help to give the story.