Map of CAR

‘This vision is not just about Bible translation, but about who we are, what our lives are like. We need to reflect what we translate because in the big picture of reaching others, our lives count!’ – Ngbugu translator

  • Country: Central African Republic (CAR)
  • Language: Ngbugu
  • Speakers:150,000
  • Start date: 1994
  • Projected end date: 2022

The community

Across CAR you find rainforests, grasslands and semi-desert. The Ngbugu language is spoken in the grasslands in the south of the country. The main sources of income for the Ngbugu people are subsistence farming and fishing. Since 2013, CAR has been in turmoil following a coup d’état, meaning that life is often riddled with violence and uncertainty.

The need

Although Christianity is the majority faith in the region, there has been a lack of effective discipleship and the Bible does not yet exist in the Ngbugu language. As a result, traditional beliefs are still strong. Literacy rates are also very low, which means many people haven’t yet been able to engage with Scripture. Over many years of translation the team has seen people growing in faith though, and the New Testament is now almost ready to be launched in the community, but there is still progress to be made before they can have access to the full Bible.

The project

A Ngbugu church celebrating
A Ngbugu church celebrating

Although the project started in 1994, the team has suffered many setbacks, including sickness, death and political unrest. They have also all had to vacate the local area and work from the city of Bangui. Despite this, the translators have persevered with their goals in both translation and literacy. We praise God that they have now completed the New Testament, which is on its way to be printed!

Whilst the team awaits the arrival of the New Testament, they continue to translate portions of the Old Testament, equip churches to engage with Scripture and produce literacy materials.

Join in praise and prayer for the Ngbugu people:

  • Praise God that CAR seems to be more peaceful since the coup in 2013, although there is still unrest in many parts of the country.
  • Give thanks to God that the Ngbugu New Testament is complete and will soon be in the hands of the community.
  • Pray for the translators to be able to put into practice all they have learnt through training and continue to improve their skills.
  • Ask God to grant the team and their families good health, strength, wisdom and insight so they can achieve all that is planned for the next year.
  • Pray that the armed groups in the local area will be totally disarmed and demobilised so that the Ngbugu team can return to their community.
  • Pray for the Ngbugu people to put their faith in Christ alone as they read about him in the newly translated Scriptures.

Latest News

February 2021

Spreading the word

Guy Florent Matchi read some Scripture in Ngbugu on a radio show just before Christmas.

One night a few weeks ago, Ngbugu team leader Tychique was listening to the radio, trying to find information about the candidates in the upcoming elections – which took place in CAR at the end of December.

As he was looking for the right channel to tune in to, he accidentally came across a programme about the Ngbugu language. He was very excited and woke up his wife to tell her about it.

They were just in time to hear a reading from the Bible in Ngbugu, the story of Jesus calming the storm. Tychique thought he recognised the voice of the reader as Guy Matchi, one of the Ngbugu translators. The next morning he got in touch with Guy who confirmed that it actually was him reading on the radio.

Occasions like this are so valuable for spreading the news in the community about the work that translation teams are doing. Tychique was very happy to hear Guy making the most of this opportunity.

Guy’s story

Guy became a Christian through singing in a choir. His choir was asked to perform at an event that a local church was putting on, and as part of the event, some church members acted out the story of the Prodigal Son. After the sketch the Pastor preached on the theme of repentance. Guy felt the Lord touch his heart and gave his life to Christ there and then.

He is the third translator to join the Ngbugu team, and he is already appreciating being part of the work very much. He is enjoying the ongoing training courses which are run by Wycliffe partner ACATBA (The Central African Association for Bible Translation and Literacy).

By attending these courses he has got to know many others from the area who are also working in translation, and says he feels as though he has joined a new family with many brothers and sisters working together. He has also discovered a new richness in writing his language.

When Guy was asked what he hoped the Lord would do through the Ngbugu translation team, he said:

‘I hope that lives will be transformed, people will be reconciled with each other and with God, denominational barriers will be broken down, and Ngbugu speakers will feed on God’s word in their language every day.’

A church service in CAR

Working together

The team is continuing to make progress with various different projects despite the challenges of the Covid-19 restrictions and unrest in CAR. They have been able to make use of technology to continue meeting together.

The team ran a workshop recently to continue making plans for their New Testament dedication events. And in December they were able to meet in person for a spiritual retreat, organised by the partner organisation ACATBA.

They are also continuing translation work on several Old Testament books, drafting Nehemiah, Genesis and Daniel.

Christmas joy

In December Tychique was very encouraged when he noticed that, this year, the majority of the churches where Ngbugu is spoken had decided to celebrate Christmas using Ngbugu songs and readings in their services.

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the use of Ngbugu scriptures in many Christmas services
  • the opportunities for spreading God’s word on the radio
  • God’s protection on the health of the team.

Please pray for:

  • good progress as the team continues to translate portions of the Old Testament
  • the plans for the New Testament dedication events.
  • the team as they relocate their office to a different city
  • the Lord to keep the team and their families in good health.
November 2020
Bible translation opening the door to people learning to read and write.

Preparing for the New Testament

Preparations for the dedication and launch of the New Testament, which is currently being printed, are now well underway. In recent weeks, 15 members of the dedication preparation committee met in the town of Alindao for training, and to put together an initial plan. To help promote the launch, from January a number of posters, and adverts in the local media, will be published.

It is also vital to look beyond the arrival of the New Testament to ensure it does not become just a dusty book on a shelf. Working with the local church, the team will be equipping local people with the skills to teach people to read in Ngbugu, enabling them to read Scripture and opening up the door to more opportunities. Alongside this, Bible study training for local church leaders will take place, and the hope is that audio versions of Scripture will also be available soon.

Jesus speaks Ngbugu too

‘I have just seen a film which touched my heart!’

shared a little boy from the Ngbugu community with great excitement. A film which provided more than just a thrilling storyline.

With restrictions easing, the Ngbugu team has been able once again to put on showings of the JESUS film – a film which takes viewers through the life of Jesus, in a way that they may never have heard before:

‘The voice I hear is the voice of the people I know here in Alindao: people like grandmother Véronique, father David, mother Laurentine, father Adoumacho and many others.’

Hearing this life giving story unfold in Ngbugu enables people to realise that Jesus speaks their language and know that he cares for them. This, in turn, is leading people, just like that little boy, to look forward with great anticipation to the arrival of the Ngbugu New Testament, and inspiring them to learn to read so that they can find out more about Jesus.

To increase the reach of the film, the team has also been hard at work training four volunteers in how to put together a showing of the JESUS film.

Sustainable change

Due to the many years of unrest in CAR, many in agricultural occupations have found it impossible to continue working. Food prices are also very high, leading to increased poverty. This, in turn, also impedes efforts to distribute Scripture and launch the New Testament, with people unable to travel or afford to purchase their own copy.

An easing in tensions means that farmers can once again begin planting and harvesting

The team has, however, seen some improvement this year due to the reduction in tensions between armed groups. This has resulted in farmers being able to resume planting and harvesting, and free movement gradually opening up.

Join the team in prayer that these changes would be sustainable, particularly in the light of the upcoming presidential elections in December.

 

 

Azü gbɛ̂ mbô ngbongbo rə nə̂, andjë wâbo ndə̂kə̂ wun golowäre ndə̂ Ndjapä-a.Praâbalë Ndjapä mbö tchôtchô su tə̂ andjê ämbänə̈, tche mbö rə̂ ânyë andjë wâtə̂ adjîrə̂ azü lə̂ la yê. Tche mbö rə̂ käko lə̂ köbosə̂ Jezü

Romans 3: 23-24 in Ngbugu. Just one of the truths the Ngbugu people will soon be able to access in their own language.

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the resuming of JESUS film showings and the impact these are having
  • the dedication preparation committee being able to meet together
  • God’s protection, with the impact of Covid-19 reducing in CAR
  • God working through the generosity of supporters.

Please pray for:

  • good progress as the team continues to press on, translating portions of the Old Testament
  • security and peace, particularly in the light of the presidential elections later this month
  • the printing of the New Testament and the long journey it will take to reach the area
  • the Lord to keep the team and their families in good health.
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