‘The word of God is like alum. When it enters dirty water, the clean water separates from the dirt. And the clear water is pure again for drinking. This is what I want the word of God to do to us and our community.’ – Local community leader.

Map of Nigeria, with Koro marked in the centre

 

  • Country: Nigeria
  • Languages: Nyankpa, Waci, Ashe and Duya
  • Speakers: approximately 359,000 across all four languages
  • Start date: 2008
  • Projected end date: 2022

 

The community

The Ashe, Duya, Nyankpa and Waci communities are spread across central Nigeria, about a two-hour drive from the capital city, Abuja. Local villages are often very remote, and some can be completely cut off during the rainy season. The majority of people are subsistence farmers, growing rice, maize, beans, peanuts, okra and yams, but also cash crops such as sugar cane and ginger.

The need

There is already a strong Christian church in the Koro area, but the only Bible available is in the official language of English or in another major language, Hausa. Using the Bible in these languages limits understanding, and many people still observe traditional religious practices alongside Christianity. Few literacy opportunities exist, further limiting engagement. Christians in the area long for the Bible in their own languages in order to ignite transformation at individual and community level.

Community testing in a Nyankpa village
Nyankpa translator Sunday carrying out community testing in a Nyankpa village

Project goals

There are currently four local translation teams working across the Koro area, each passionate about Scripture reaching the hearts of their language group. These teams have been trained and equipped with the tools to complete translation of the New Testament, which they are working towards, alongside encouraging local churches and communities to engage with Scripture. All four teams have made significant progress and one team – Duya – is close to completion, carrying out their final checks over the next few years. To further increase the reach of Scripture, audio versions are also being produced.

To show people that their languages are valuable and matter to God, the team is developing language resources and establishing a locally-led literacy strategy to enable people to read and write in their languages. This provides the tools for people to further engage with Scripture.

Join in praise and prayer for the Waci, Nyankpa, Ashe and Duya people

  • Praise God that he has equipped and sustained the teams over many years, enabling translation to progress.
  • Pray for local people to develop a hunger to know God’s word in a deeper way which will lead them to invest in the work of Bible translation
  • Pray for the community leaders who have agreed to offer their time to this work in each language community. Ask for renewed energy, and for more leaders to step forward who have a vision for the work.
  • Pray for the challenge of young translation teams working with community elders. It is often difficult for the old to listen and support the contributions of the young in these communities. Pray for older people to be advocates for the translation teams, especially for the younger team members.
  • Pray for the Koro teams as they promote, distribute, and ensure widespread use of the translated Scriptures in the next couple of years. May their efforts bear much fruit!

Latest News

December 2021

Launching Luke’s Gospel

Literacy Coordinator Jo'ash Aweh running one of the teacher training sessions.

The Ashe team has been working hard to get the translation of Luke’s Gospel finished. It’s almost ready, and they are hoping to launch it at a community event this month.

They have also been preparing to run more Ashe literacy classes in local communities. Nearly 50 teachers from 20 different villages have been trained and are ready to run classes. The team was very encouraged by some of the younger participants who quickly picked things up; one young man adapted a story from the training materials into a song!

The team has also spent considerable time refining the literacy materials that are aimed at adults, and they are delighted with the result! They have created a booklet with coloured pictures and interesting challenges, including word searches, puzzles, and short stories. The photographs on the cover feature recognisable local places. Feedback from the trainees has been very positive.

‘I’m going home with joy and happiness’

Local people attend a Faith and Farming workshop

The Nyankpa team has been able to do some community testing of the book of Revelation. Several of the volunteer reviewers have been very engaged; when they get a new portion of Scripture to review, they go over it carefully and ask questions.

Some local people have attended a Faith and Farming workshop run by the team. These workshops explain what the Bible has to say about various aspects of life related to farming, and challenge people on their attitudes and behaviours. One participant said:

‘I heard about people in the Bible who farmed, which was so encouraging to me. I am going home now with joy and happiness, and if I hear my friends and neighbours complaining about farming being dirty work, I will tell them it’s great work if they put their faith in Christ.’

A wonderful thing happened!

One Sunday in July, a wonderful thing happened at one of the local churches in the Duya community. The whole service was conducted in the Duya language! All of the songs that day were sung by the choir in Duya; one of the hymns, called ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus was translated by the worship leader. The team was so encouraged to see the language being used in the local church.

‘The Word of God is sweet’

A service in the Koro region.

The book of Luke in Waci is almost finished, and the team plans to publish it in the next few weeks. A local pastor asked them for some of the finished portions of Luke’s Gospel to use in his church. He preached a series from Luke in Waci in September and reports the joy and celebration with which the people received the Waci Scriptures. Translator Ibrahim and his family ‘returned from the Church rejoicing!’ His brother, Solomon said

‘The Word of God is sweet, especially in our language!’

Luke 23:46-47 in Waci

Eye Uyesu ahɨnɨ ʉrɛmɛ gĩ gatʉwã a, "Atɛ! Gɔbɔwʉ mɨwɨ gazɨa-wu iku ɨhɨma." Atʉwã gɨnʉwã Gejini wʉhɔng gakpʉa. Arakpʉ Banyɨ ɛjɛyɨ ahʉ Baroma ahʉwã awɨ iniye eri ubin hʉwã ʉkpay, awayʉ Tɛgashɨ gatʉwã a, "Ʉndɨra ni aha wɨ ʉndɨr ɨgba ba!" Ʉnʉka 23:46-47

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the preparations for the Waci literacy workshops
  • the impact of the Faith and Farming workshop
  • Duya churches’ enthusiasm for worshipping in their own language
  • the good reception for Luke’s Gospel in the Waci language.

Please pray for:

  • interest in the Ashe publications and literacy classes
  • more creative ideas to get the Nyakpa people involved in the work
  • the Duya community to catch the vision of using their heart language
  • wisdom as the team builds better relationships with the Nyankpa community.
May 2021

Renewed enthusiasm

Nyankpa people enjoy attending a literacy event

In February, the Nyankpa team ran a two-day leaders’ forum to inform and challenge church leaders about the use of the Nyankpa language in everyday life. One of the challenges presented to the leaders was to use Nyankpa in church services, especially in the villages where it is the main language spoken. A number of churches have taken up the challenge and are holding services in Nyankpa once a month.

Church leaders have reported that the response has been very positive. Church attendance has increased on those days, especially of older members of the congregation who attend faithfully but don’t understand much of what is going on when it is not in their own language.

Last year, when the literacy coordinator held literacy events in Nyankpa villages, local people did not seem interested in attending. This year, however, at one event there were around 60 people there! Since there were so many people with different levels of ability they split them into two sections, one for beginners and the other for advanced readers. Everyone was happy with the literacy course and begged the trainers to stay longer. Although they were not able to stay at that time, they plan to hold more events like this in the future.

Ashe and Waci project teams present to a group of local church leaders

Church connections

In March, the Ashe and Waci project teams were invited to give a presentation about their projects to local pastors and church leaders. They were happy to raise awareness of the translation projects and to compile a list of church leaders who are interested in helping with the work by checking the translations, suggesting improvements or approving texts for publication.

The people at the conference were interested to see what the teams had been working on. Fortunately they had taken along some of the books that were already published, such as guides to reading the languages and the Christmas story from Luke’s Gospel.

After the presentation, seven more Waci speakers volunteered to become part of the translation review committee.

Team news

Nyankpa literacy coordinator, Sunday Apeigo, is currently finishing the last semester of his university course. Teaching for the entire year was condensed into five months due to the Covid-19 situation, so Sunday has been very busy with his university work this year.

Another member of the team, also called Sunday, has recently moved about 30 minutes away from the language area so that his wife can attend an educational course. He is still able to travel to work in the office two or three days a week.

Student becomes teacher

The Duya literacy teachers were recently encouraged by one of their students who has made incredible progress. Only a few months after starting the literacy classes, she is so excited and eager to learn that she teaches the class whenever the teacher is away.

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the success of the leaders’ forum
  • the enthusiasm for the literacy classes
  • continued protection for the teams as they travel around the area
  • connections being built with local churches.

Please pray for:

  • wisdom for the teams as they continue to build relationships with their communities
  • the Waci team as they check Luke’s Gospel over the next few months
  • more creative ideas for the Nyankpa team to use to help Nyankpa people see how they can get involved and help in the work
  • the success of the Nyankpa literacy courses, and for potential teachers to be discovered from these events.
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