‘It was amazing to watch God work in the lives of the Israelites as we went through the book of Esther.’ – Koma translator
- Country: Ghana
- Language: Konni
- Speakers: 8,000
- Start date: 2011
- Projected end date: 2022
The Koma people live in the Northern Region of Ghana. Their villages are sometimes described by their neighbours as ‘overseas’, because all the major paths leading to the area cross rivers and are impassable by vehicles in the rainy season. Their location has not only isolated them from education and development going on in other parts of Ghana, but has also isolated them from the gospel.
There are a small number of Muslims and Christians among the Koma people, but 96% follow the traditional animist religion, which includes animal sacrifices and ancestor worship. In 2006, the Konni New Testament was completed, and we praise God that it has already had a huge impact. However, it is now vital to translate the Old Testament, which has a lot of similarities with the traditional religion and culture. Koma society is largely oral, so there is also a need for audio Scriptures.
The Koma translation team is currently working hard to translate the Old Testament into Konni, which is now fully drafted and in its final stages of checking. Alongside translation, the team are helping to encourage local churches to utilise Scripture in their own language and equip them with evangelistic tools such as the JESUS Film and the God’s Story video. They have already seen the impact of these, with many people accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and churches growing in strength and number. Audio versions of Scripture are also being produced to enable more people to hear the good news.
Join in praise and prayer for the Koma people:
- Pray for churches in Ghana to have the ambition of the apostle Paul: to preach the gospel where Christ is not known, so that they would not be building on someone else’s foundation (Romans 15:20).
- Ask for God to grant the team and their families good health as they work, particularly in light of Covid-19.
- Praise God that the team is close to completing the Old Testament, meaning one day soon the Koma people will have access to the whole Bible in their own language.
- Pray for an increasing number of Koma people to accept Christ into their lives.
- Pray that the Lord will replenish the resources of those who give towards this ministry.
A journey of faith
As a young man, Laminu Emmanuel didn’t have access to a church, school or formal education. However, he was able instead to attend Koma literacy classes, which opened the door to more than just learning to read and write.
In 2006 Laminu attended the launch of the Koma New Testament. With his new found reading skills Laminu bought and read through the whole New Testament, and was convinced it was the true word of God. With no church in his own village to turn to he travelled 25 miles on foot to Yikpabongo, where the only Koma church was. It was here that Laminu gave his life to Christ. A year later Laminu decided to start a small fellowship in his own village. Today this has become one of the largest churches in the Koma area.
The team asks for your prayers for Laminu, who is currently dealing with physical ailments, and also discouragement from locals who think they are a punishment for him turning to God. Pray for him as he continues on his journey of faith.
Persevering with translation
The team praises God that they have made good translation progress despite the challenges of Covid-19. With some restrictions beginning to ease they have made a significant step forward in completing revisions of the Koma New Testament, and visited the Koma area to begin the final read-through of the whole Bible. Once the read-through is complete, the team can prepare the Bible for typesetting, before it goes to print!
Churches and local people have also been continuing to assist with translation, through reviewing portions of Scripture and listening to it being read.
It has been difficult to distribute New Testaments over the last few months due to the restrictions. But the team has been encouraged by reports of people continuing to read their New Testaments, and listening to the audio Scripture that is available.
Freedom in Christ
The importance of responding to the call to share the good news of Jesus is being demonstrated in the Koma community.
Life for local Koma man Musali used to be a riddled with trials. As a result of alcoholism he faced many challenges, including struggling to take care of his family. A Christian friend came alongside Musali and gave him an audio device containing Scripture. Musali listened with great interest and was touched when he heard that knowing Jesus was the only way to God when someone dies. From that moment he felt convicted to accept Christ as his personal Saviour and went with his friend to church to declare this.
We rejoice that Musali has given his life to Christ, and today is celebrating being freed from the shackles of the enemy and the hold of alcoholism.
The Koma area is often described as ‘overseas’ by other Ghanaians, because the roads leading to the area cross rivers which are impassable by vehicles in the rainy season. This has left them isolated from education and other development. The only area which has seen transport links improved is Yikpabongo, where the translation project is based, making it now more accessible in the rainy season. The majority of Koma villages, however, remain inaccessible for much of the year.
Praise and prayer
Give thanks for:
- God transforming the lives of Koma people through Scripture
- the team being able to begin the final read-through of the Koma Bible
- the team and their families remaining in good health
- the growing Koma church, and thirst for Scripture.
Please pray for:
- the team to complete the final read-through of the Koma Bible, and many local people to be willing to participate
- sufficient easing of the impacts of Covid-19 to enable literacy classes to restart
- more Koma churches to spring up
- prevention of the spread of Covid-19 in the Koma area.
‘Disability is not inability’
One afternoon while the team was visiting the Koma community, they came across a local man called Gorogu Seidu reading one of the Konni* literacy booklets. Gorogu was injured when he fell from a tree some time ago, so he has to use a wheelchair now. When the team asked him about his motivation for trying to learn how to read and write in his own language, he told them that during the farming season, almost everyone in the village goes to the farm to work and leaves the disabled behind. He wants to learn how to read and write so that when he is left alone, he can read his Konni New Testament, as well as the many other books that are available in the language. Konlan shared why he thinks that this is so important:
‘Disability, they say, is not inability’ – Konlan, Koma Team Leader
*Konni is the language of the Koma people
Nearing the finish line
The Konni Bible is almost ready to be sent to the printers! The team is continuing to revise and check the New Testament. They have completed revision of the Gospels and some of the Epistles. They will soon be reading through the whole Bible before it is sent off for the first stage of the printing process later in the year.
People from local churches are getting involved with the project, reading through the Scriptures to make sure that they can be understood. They are enjoying reading the Konni Scriptures and are making many helpful suggestions to the team. Church leaders are encouraging their congregations to use the Konni Scriptures in their services too.
The team has also organised showings of the JESUS Film in local churches, which have been well received.
Ahead of the next set of literacy classes beginning, the team put on a one-day refresher training course for 16 literacy teachers to remind them how to use the Konni literacy resources.
This year, 140 students were enrolled in classes across all of the different levels. The classes normally happen during the dry season (Oct–April) as there is not so much to do on the farms, so the young people have time to learn in the evenings. During classes the teachers look after the whole class and the students are encouraged to help those who are working on the levels below them, alongside their own work.
The hard work by both the teachers and the students paid off. By April, 15 students had completed the whole literacy programme. They were all given a copy of the Konni New Testament.
The team has, of course, been affected by Covid-19. Many of the project’s activities, such as the literacy classes and the showing of the JESUS Film, will now be put on hold. Churches have been unable to meet, as the government has advised people not to gather in large groups and to ensure a social distance of about one metre. Thankfully all members of the team are well, and they can continue to work on translation from home on their computers.
Praise and prayer
Give thanks for:
- continuing good health for the Koma translation team and their families
- the good progress that has been made in revising the Konni New Testament
- the success of the literacy classes
- the news that many Koma people and churches have continued to use the translated Scriptures.
Please pray for:
- the literacy classes and JESUS Film showings to be able to resume when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted
- the team as they complete the various checks to get the whole Konni Bible ready for the final stages
- provision of a good vehicle for the team, as the current one is old and often breaks down.