The Koro cluster partners with people from four languages: Ashe, Duya, Nyankpa and Waci. Their homeland lies about a two hour drive from the capital city of Nigeria, Abuja. The Ashe, Duya, Nyankpa and Waci people are mainly subsistence farmers, growing rice, maize, beans, peanuts, okra and yams, but also cash crops such as sugar cane and ginger.

Fact file

  • Country: Nigeria
  • Speakers: approximately 442,000 across all four languages
  • Start date: 2008
  • Projected end date: 2021
  • Funds still needed for October 2017–September 2018: all of the funds have been donated to cover this year’s plans but prayer support is still needed

The Koro teams are passionate about reaching the hearts of these four language groups. There is already a strong Christian church in the Koro area, but the only Bible available to them is in the official language of English or in another major language, Hausa. Using this Bible limits understanding and real engagement. Koro Christians long for the Bible in their own languages in order to ignite transformation at individual and community level.

The costs of initial training and language work had been largely carried by the local communities, but progress into full scale Bible translation was inhibited by the lack of equipment and support for the translators. This project will provide core equipment and support for translators from each of the languages.

Project goals

  • to translate the New Testament and see it being used in churches and communities
  • to establish literacy work, with adults and children learning to read and write in their own language
  • to see the languages thriving, with new materials being produced and people knowing that their language is valuable and useful.

Testing translation

Koro: Testing Nyankpa translation
Testing the Nyankpa translation

One of the Nyankpa translators, called Sunday, was testing the translation of Acts in the village of Mushe. He met about 15 people in the village, mostly women. They were aware of the translation work, but had never met the translators or seen anything from the office. So they were very surprised to see him, when he introduced himself. They brought him water and asked him what brought him to their village. He said it was the Bible translation that they had been hearing about. He said that he was there to get their help. They were surprised and wondered how they, as village people, could really help.

He said, ‘When I read, you will know how to help. You will know what your part is.’ When Sunday reached a place that was unclear, they interrupted him and said it didn’t sound right. He said, ‘There you go! You see! You are my teachers.’ An old man behind the house heard the noise and came to see what was going on. When he found out, he said he was not interested in anything to do with reading. Then Sunday asked his name, and he replied ‘Olem’ (Olem means ‘persuade, or convince’.) ‘Okay, let me read you just a bit.’ Sunday read a portion of Acts where Lydia persuades Paul to stay with her. Once he heard his name, the man became very excited and was more interested in the translation. He sat down and joined the rest of the group in the testing exercise.

Please pray for:

  • the Ashe 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
  • the Duya team to run effective literacy classes, so people are able to read the translated Scriptures as they are produced
  • the Nyankpa community to be more united, and more involved in the translation project
  • training opportunities for the Waci translators.
July‚ÄďAugust 2018

Progress for all four language groups

Earlier this year, members of each language team gathered in Jos for an interactive literacy mobilisation workshop to discuss what else can be done to improve literacy in each area. The two-day forum was led by a diverse group of Nigerians and expats, Christians and Muslims. Each team brought four members from their local community to join in the discussions with the Scripture Engagement team. Follow-up from this workshop is ongoing in all areas.

improving Koro literacy
The meeting in Jos focused on how to improve literacy for each language group

Progress for the Waci

The team recently welcomed John A. as a part-time project adviser. Along with a consultant check of portions of Luke, the team has been testing their translation to ensure accuracy from the hearer’s point of view. They met with local church leaders to discuss how using mother-tongue Scripture can strengthen their churches, and delivered several literacy training sessions.

Progress for the Duya

The second team and consultant checks of Matthew 8–20, Philippians and Ephesians have been done, and work on the English–Duya primer and other conversational texts is in progress. A new translator, Boniface, joined the team; of the group of testers who met recently to scrutinise the work, some might also make good translators. The Duya team set up 15 one-month pilot Scripture Listening and Reading Groups (SLRGs) across 19 Duya villages over four months, which have been a great success! And soon, on 25 August, the book of Acts will be launched and the Duya language programme promoted at the next Duya national meeting.

Progress for the Nyankpa

The book of Acts has been team checked and back translated, and the team checks of Matthew 1–10 have been completed. James and 1 & 2 Timothy have been printed and are being distributed with the audio versions.

SIL Nigeria’s Jono Barnhoorn reports his encouragement at visiting a local Nyankpa church and hearing the people sing and pray in their mother tongue. He said, ‘For the first time, an entire church service was in the heart language of the Nyankpa... young and old, rich and poor hearing the words of God in the language their heart speaks – a hopeful herald of more fruit to come.’

Progress for the Ashe

The team have been working on fine-tuning their translation of Luke. They were aided by Kathleen Spence, who delayed her furlough to work with the team on grammar.

Praise and prayer
Give thanks for:

  • the two-day interactive literacy mobilisation workshop, and the ongoing plans for each area
  • the Waci team’s new part-time adviser John A., Duya’s new translator, Boniface, and Kathleen’s help with the Ashe work
  • the progress on the Duya New Testament and success of the SLRGs running across 19 villages
  • the Nyankpa being able to worship and hear God’s word entirely in their heart language.

Pray for:

  • a hunger for God’s word among the people in each language group – Nyankpa, Waci, Ashe and Duya – and for the same hunger to drive the teams as they press on with the translations
  • God to raise up people within each language group to drive literacy work in their community
  • church leaders to understand how having Scripture in their mother tongue will help their work and bless their churches
  • good discussions on the issue of community ownership of the translations.
February 2018

Progress for the Nyankpa

The book of Acts has been mostly team checked and is being made ready for consultant checking.

The books of 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon and James have been recorded in audio format and put onto 120 SD cards.

The book of Acts is now ready for a consultant check.

Several local churches in one of the areas have been organising a ‘Nyankpa only’ service once a month. The team has been helping to translate various resources into Nyankpa in order to facilitate this.

Progress for the Ashe

The book of Luke has been checked and released as an audio version, which you can listen to here. The community had two days of celebrations to mark this, as well as the release of a dictionary and other online materials.

There were several meetings with the members of the language committee. They and the translation team have made some progress in understanding how they can work together.

Koro Ashe Luke launch
Celebrating the arrival of the Ashe Luke resources

Progress for the Waci

Our partners in Nigeria are in the process of forming an effective strategy with the Waci team as they restart work in the language. There are currently two young translators who are willing and eager to get started; both attended a grammar workshop in June last year. They are working with our partners to collect oral folk stories and write them down, and together they have recorded about 15 texts which are currently being transcribed. The next stage will be to lay out each story with a literal translation under every word, so the stories are ready to analyse.

Progress for the Duya

The JESUS Film was dedicated in Ankung amidst much rejoicing and singing. Many people travelled long distances to see the dedication. Around 200 copies of the film were distributed.

A total of five books has been consultant checked in the past three months: 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John.

A changed life

Yakubu is a middle-aged man who lives in the village of Ramindop. When he was young, he attended church, but along the way he became disillusioned when he felt that the pastor was abusing his position for personal gain. Although Yakubu had been married, his wife died a long time ago and he has since lived alone. Since that time he developed a reputation as a drunkard and was always involved with the traditional religion.

One day in September, he heard news about the Duya JESUS Film. When someone in the village purchased a copy and was watching it in their home, Yakubu decided to see what it was all about. He was struck by the fact that he heard Jesus speaking Duya, and was so impacted that he announced that he would start coming to church again and would get rid of his associations with the traditional religion.

Praise God for changed lives. Keep praying that he will continue to change people’s hearts through reading the translation of the Bible and related material.

August 2017

A bright Sunday morning in Kurmin Jibirin, an Ashe community in Kaduna State, brought Ashe believers to church in good spirits. It had been arranged that the translator would be given 15 minutes to read a portion of the translation to the church. This would be a unique addition to the service, as the congregation is used to hearing the Bible read in Hausa or English.

Although it was a week or two after Easter, the reading was Luke 22 and 23 which tells the story of the last supper, the betrayal of Jesus, and the crucifixion.

By their reactions during the reading, it was obvious that the congregation understood the story and appreciated some of the ironies of Peter’s denials.

Several church members, and even the paramount chief appreciated being able to follow along during the reading in some copies of the printed chapters.

At the end, the pastor, who is not an Ashe person himself, remarked that if there hadn’t been non-Ashe speakers in the congregation, he could have just ended the service then and there. The reading itself was good enough. Indeed, the word of God is powerful and clear!

Praise God for:
  • the strong church in the Koro area
  • their passion for hearts to be changed
  • the ongoing translation work among the Ashe, the Duya and the Nyankpa people
Please pray for:
  • two new Waci translators who have been recruited