‘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.
Literacy coming to life
Covid restrictions prevented literacy classes taking place, but now that the restrictions are easing, the team has been preparing for classes to resume.
During a recent refresher workshop, seven literacy teachers were trained to run Literacy for Life classes in their churches. These give learners the opportunity to improve their literacy skills by utilising Koma Scripture guides. Already 35 learners have been enrolled, across four Koma churches. Traditional literacy classes will also be put in place soon.
The literacy skills with which students are equipped open up many new opportunities to them. Most recently, the team has been encouraged to hear news of former literacy learners setting up churches in their own communities using the Koma Scriptures and their new found reading and writing skills.
‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8)
– good news which Basugile and his family had the chance to hear in their own language for the first time this year, and good news which changed their lives.
Basugile and his family come from the remote Koma village of Saanori, which does not have a church or even a school. Earlier this year the Koma team visited the village to give out recordings of the Koma New Testament on audio devices. This gave Basugile and his family the chance to listen to the word of God.
As Basugile listened he was struck that Christians need to be light and salt to the world, but it was the verse in Romans which really touched his heart and helped him to encounter Jesus. With no church to turn to, his wife encouraged him to start a small fellowship in their own home. It wasn’t long before help was at hand though. Just two weeks later, members from a Koma church, from outside the village, visited to share more about Jesus.
We praise God that through this time together with the church, Basugile and his family gave their lives to Christ, becoming the very first believers in their village.
Pressing on to the finish
The Koma team has been continuing to make progress on the final read through of the Koma Bible. The process has taken longer than expected, but the result will be a much clearer and more accurate translation.
One thing the team has noticed is the need to revise terms used in earlier translations, some translated many years ago. They have since found more suitable terms in books that were translated later, and need to incorporate these throughout. This shows the importance of the read through stage to pick up on vital details which, if left unchanged, could lead to a less understandable final translation.
So far the team has read through from Genesis to 2 Samuel, and hope to finish in the next few months.
Working in partnership
The Koma team has greatly valued the growing support of local churches, who have partnered with them in many different areas of work.
Churches have been helping the team to prepare for the new season of literacy classes and encouraging their members to join in with them. Alongside this, church leaders have been assisting with translation. As the Koma team nears the completion of the whole Bible, leaders have been helping to read through and review the Koma Scriptures.
Praise and prayer
Give thanks for:
- vital church partnerships helping to increase the impact and reach of translation
- progress made on the final read through of the Koma Bible
- literacy classes being able to resume and the enthusiasm for these
- God working through the generosity of supporters.
Please pray for:
- the completion of the final read through of the Koma Bible in the next few months
- Koma people to be willing to participate in the read through
- good health for the Koma team and their families
- the local community to look forward with excitement to the whole Bible in Koma.
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.