Posts Tagged ‘Scripture launch’

A day of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the Beliyan people!

Monday, April 10th, 2017 by Camilla

Rebecca Sharples writes about experiencing the all-day celebration of the launch of the Oniyan New Testament in Senegal.

In a region called Kedougou in the southeast of Senegal, a few hundred people gathered together to celebrate the completion of a very special book: the New Testament and Genesis translated into the Oniyan language. This language, sometimes referred to as Basari, is spoken by the 20-30,000 Beliyan people living in Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

The event began at 10am (only an hour behind schedule!). Locals, SIL staff, funders and guests flocked into the Kedougou stadium dressed in all their colourful Senegalese finery and found their seats in one of several large marquees that had been set up just a few hours before.

From start to finish the event was hosted by an animated Oniyan speaker who gave the announcements, introduced the speakers and got everybody warmed up for the music and dancing (not that it took much!).

The speeches were given by people from around the globe whom God has brought together for his mission of getting his word to the Beliyan community. The speakers included the funding manager of The Seed Company (American), the director of SIL Senegal (Swiss), Pastor Nicodème (Senegalese), and two long-serving missionaries (Canadian and American), among many others. The speeches were given in either French or Oniyan and always with a translation from one to the other.

In the midst of the speeches a car pulled up carrying the precious cargo: the New Testaments had arrived! They were carried in boxes into the stadium before being paraded and presented by members of the Beliyan community. It was a tear-jerking moment to see these New Testaments arrive which, after several years of dutiful and diligent work (especially by the chief translators Nicodème Biesse, Paul Boubane and Jérémie Boubane) can now be held in the hands of Oniyan speakers and read aloud in their homes in their own language.

But the printed New Testaments weren’t the only Scripture material being celebrated and shared. The Beliyan community were also able to take home an SD card containing the dramatised audio recording of Genesis and the entire New Testament, performed by local voice actors.

In the year before the launch, members of the Beliyan community and several local staff members also worked together in workshops to create, perform and record Scripture-based songs written in the Oniyan language and performed using traditional instruments. These recorded songs were then added to the SD cards, just in time to be made available at the launch.

Now the Oniyan community can not only read God’s word, but they can also listen to God’s word and sing songs about God’s word in their own language.

Could there be a better reason to rejoice and give thanks?

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Seeing with blind eyes

Thursday, March 9th, 2017 by Jo Johnson

South Sudan is a struggling nation. Most recently it has hit the news as the first country in six years to face famine due to instability, fighting and economic collapse. Yet in the face of all these challenges God has enabled his work to continue and one people group called the Baka will soon have access to the word of God.

The launch of the New Testament and Genesis will take place in the home area of the Baka people in Western Equatoria on Sunday 12th March. Doug who worked with the project for a number of years explains why this is such as significant milestone:

‘Most Bakas are churchgoers, but many are still influenced by traditional animistic religious beliefs and practices. This is due largely to the lack of Scripture in their own language. Although Baka church leaders have conducted prayers, singing and preaching in the Baka language for a number of years, they have had to give the Scripture readings in languages that many of their parishioners understand only imperfectly, so they do not fully understand what the Scriptures really say.  

For this reason the Baka New Testament translation project was begun in the early 1980s. It would have been completed years ago, but decades of civil war have brought many delays and hardships. Nevertheless, the translation team has persevered, encouraged by people’s response to the early drafts of Scripture portions.

One old man said that previously when he heard Scripture read in another language, it was like seeing something far off in the distance — fuzzy and indistinct; but hearing it in his own language brought it up close — clear and detailed. A blind woman even said that when she heard Scripture in the Baka language, it was as though she could see it with her eyes!’

Please pray:

  • that the launch will be a wonderful day of celebration and that a lasting desire will be imparted to the believers to study the Scriptures in their language and to use them for spiritual growth and for outreach
  • for safe transportation of people and Bibles to the launch
  • for the Baka people to be enriched by the word of God and find comfort, healing and new life.

*SIL is our primary partner

Subscribe to our free magazine Words for Life to find out more about Bible translation and for daily prayer requests to enable more language communities, like the Baka, to receive God’s word in the language that speaks to their hearts.

38 years in the making

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 by Camilla

We are celebrating: another New Testament has reached completion and is being launched this weekend in Papua New Guinea!

We are celebrating because we believe that the word of God is truth and now the Urat speaking community will be able to connect with God through the New Testament in their own language. Urat is one of over 800 languages in Papua New Guinea, spoken by 6800 people in the north of the country. The journey towards a Urat New Testament has been a long one.

Urat1Efforts began in 1978 under SIL* translators Nate and Jude Baker. In 1984 they passed the baton on to Robert and Dawn Barnes, who continued the program for about 11 years until they had to return home for medical reasons. Hilkka Arminen became involved with the Urat New Testament in 2001 assisting BTA (Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association) translators David Belyeme and Enoch Mundum.

After all that work, the day has finally arrived. The Urat New Testament is now a reality.

Pray with us for:Urat2

  • Last minute transportation logistics. The New Testaments have arrived in Wewak, six hours from the Urat area, and now need to be transported out to the village in time for the launch on 30th July.
  • Rain! Water tanks are emptying and an event like a Scripture launch uses lots of water.
  • David Belyeme, one of the BTA translators, who is very stressed with ensuring the dedication team are satisfied with the planning, preparations and schedule for the big day.
  • A sense of God’s peace to preside on the day, that he would be glorified and his word to the Urat people would go forth.

Want to pray more for Bible translations that have been a long time coming? Try our prayer goody bags, packed with information and inspiration to help you pray for more projects like this one.

*Our primary partner organisation

One New Testament? How about three?

Friday, March 4th, 2016 by Camilla

Here at Wycliffe, we always get excited when the New Testament reaches completion in yet another language. How do you think we feel about three New Testaments in one country in the space of two weeks!?

This month, SIL Eastern Congo Group are launching 3(!) New Testaments: the Logo New Testament on the 6th, the Mayogo New Testament on the 13th, and the Ndruna New Testament on the 20th. These will be the first SIL* New Testaments launched in the area since 2000, because DRC has long been a difficult place to work for security reasons. Check out the following video by our partner The Seed Company for more on some of the challenges they’ve faced on the ground.

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Join us in celebrating these New Testaments in the DRC, and praying for the impact of these Scriptures on the three language groups the Logo, the Mayogo and the Ndruna.

  • Pray that many will attend each Scripture launch and that God would have his hand upon each celebration – that the Enemy would not be able to interfere in any way.
  • Pray that God will use these New Testaments to impact lives and hearts beyond what we can ask or imagine.
  • Ask God to bring lasting change, healing and reconciliation to DRC, which has faced civil war and rebel activity for years on end.

For more info on the SIL Eastern Congo Group and the task they are facing to enable you to pray, visit their project page.

Chamku New Testament

Monday, February 22nd, 2016 by Camilla

Lately the mission world seems full of reports of Scripture launches and new Bible translation projects being started! Today we want to join another Bible translation organisation, OneBook, in celebrating a new New Testament! Rejoice with us and the Chamku people that they now have the word of God in their language.

ChamkuDedicationA translation project was started among the Chamku people of Nepal eight years ago, and just a few days after Christmas 2015, boxes of New Testaments in the heart language of the Chamku people were finally a reality:

‘Mr. Dharmendra was among the first to purchase a copy of the Chamku New Testament. He sat down and started to read right there amidst the crowd. Palpable joy radiated from him as he read the printed words and understood them. “I am very happy today because God speaks our language!” he exclaimed, unable to contain his excitement.’

Read the full story here.

Projects like this don’t come to completion without supporters praying, financing and encouraging the work. Find out how you can be involved in supporting Bible translation from the UK.

Kasem Scripture launch

Monday, January 4th, 2016 by Nick

This is a very special story of two Wycliffe members, Philip and Judy Hewer, who spent time working with the Kasem language group and who recently had the joy of being able to join in and celebrate the completion of the Kasem Bible along with colleagues and old friends.

Back in 1962 when Wycliffe first started work in Africa, the Kasem language group was one of the first language groups to receive a Wycliffe team. With around 366,000 speakers, Kasem is a language that is spoken in both Burkina Faso and Ghana and November 15 saw the long awaited completion of the Kasem Bible!

Photo by Otabil ArthurPhilip and Judy joined the Kasem project 10 years after its start, settling in Paga, a Kasena* village on the northern border of Ghana. After getting to grips with local language and culture, they facilitated translation of the New Testament, as well as preparing literacy materials and training volunteer teachers for adult classes. The Kasem New Testament was published as early as 1988!

Though they have been back in the UK for many years now, this November Philip and Judy returned to Ghana to celebrate the launch of the whole Bible in Kasem. On the day, people pressed forward to buy a Bible in their own mother tongue and once they had their hands on one, many were so deeply engrossed that they paid little attention to further proceedings.

Representatives of supporters from the UK were also able to travel to Ghana to join in these celebrations. Tony came to represent Philip and Judy’s original sending church in Maidstone, who have faithfully supported their work with the Kasena by means of a monthly gift for 43 years! So many people and churches in Ghana, in the UK and around the world have been part of bringing the Bible to the Kasena people in the language of their hearts.

Now they may respond to God’s message in a way appropriate to their own culture without the need for interpretation by outsiders.

Kumasi 018 Presby music group ota (2)   Kumasi 068 a Bible at last ota (2)   Kumasi 083 Bible reader 4 ota (2)

For further information on the Kasem, including sound samples of the language(!), visit

Interested in supporting the work of Bible translation? Find out more on how you can Go, Give or Pray.

*Kasena is the adjective form of Kasem

Photos by Otabil Arthur

A Christmas present 20 years in the making

Thursday, December 24th, 2015 by Camilla

This month, Wycliffe members Simon and Lynn Caudwell, who are usually based in the UK, are in South-West Ethiopia, poised to celebrate a Scripture launch which is very close to their hearts. 10,000 copies of the Basketo New Testament are ready to be distributed, and preparations for a party have been underway for weeks!

The podium in the front of a rural church.This celebration, which will take place on in two days’ time, on Saturday 26th, is the culmination of the Bible translation project that has been part of Simon and Lynn’s lives for the last 20 years. Rejoice with us in the new hope and new possibilities coming to the next generation of Basketo Christians!

The Basketo community, numbering close to 100,000 people, has been waiting expectantly for this moment and now, this Christmas, many of them will be able to hold and read for themselves – in their own language – the message of the good news of Jesus.


  • Praise God that this long-awaited moment has finally come: that the New Testament is now available in Basketo!
  • Pray for God’s word to impact lives and bring about the change only God can.
  • •Please pray that nothing will interfere with the planning of the launch itself, and protection for each and every person travelling to the event, whether from overseas or from within Ethiopia.

Want more about the impact of God’s word in Southern Ethiopia? See how another people group, the Gamo, react to the JESUS Film in this powerful video.