‘Today we are celebrating having God’s word in the language of our heart. Yes, the language in which we mourn, think, sin, live and dream. God speaks to be understood. That is why we have translation. God has used many people to bring about what we see today.’ – Banyole attendee of New Testament celebrations

Map of Uganda showing location of Banyole project in the South East
  • Country: Uganda
  • Language: Lunyole (Nyole)
  • Speakers: 530,000
  • Start date: 2005
  • Projected end date: 2027

The community

The Banyole live in the south-east of Uganda, in an area of green, rolling grassland, surrounded by papyrus-lined swamps. Little of their land is uninhabited, and most of it is cultivated. They are primarily arable farmers, but nearly every home also keeps animals such as cows, goats and chickens. They grow some crops for sale, mainly rice, cotton and coffee. Their staple food is finger millet, but they also eat sorghum, maize, cassava and sweet potatoes. The main means of transport is by bicycle, even for transporting crops. Some Banyole rice farmers have to travel many miles to their fields.

The need

Following on from the launch of the Lunyole New Testament 2017, there is still a vision to ensure that the Banyole people have access to the whole Bible in their language. There is also a need to work with local believers and churches to equip and encourage them to engage with Scripture in their own language.

The project

The local team is continuing to persevere with translation of the Old Testament, with the aim of working on Psalms and Proverbs over the next year. Another vital part of the project is Scripture engagement, so the team is running a number of workshops for local church leaders, producing Bible resources and training local people to run listening groups. Alongside this, an increasing number of New Testaments, both printed and audio, are being distributed.

Have a bit more time? Watch the video below to find out more about how God has been transforming lives in the Banyole community:

 

Join in praise and prayer for the Banyole people:

  • Give thanks that the Banyole people now have the New Testament in their language and for their increasing engagement with it
  • Pray for ongoing wisdom and progress as the team continues with translation of the Old Testament
  • Pray for church leaders to find ways to help their people to read and listen to translated Scriptures at home as well as on Sundays
  • Lift up to the Lord church leaders who may lack confidence, or struggle themselves to read. Ask that they will have the courage to seek support, and will be enabled to grow in confidence to teach and preach from the Banyole translation
  • Pray that as people engage with Scripture they will hear God’s invitation to serve their community - and that the Banyole people will see life-giving, practical changes as a result
  • Ask God for steady rainfall resulting in good crops; working hard to get food on their tables in times of drought can distract the translators from the work
  • Pray for a revival among the Banyole people through reading God’s word.

Banyole: Man who travelled from other side of Uganda
This man travelled from the other side of Uganda to buy a copy of the Lunyole New Testament for himself – and one for a friend!

Latest News

October 2021
New translation team member Weere Benayo has been learning how to run the community testing sessions.

Continuing through Covid-19

Covid restrictions in Uganda are continuing to affect the work of the translation team. Churches cannot meet together, and travel outside the district is not allowed. The work and the wider community have been affected by the restrictions. Team members have been finding it hard to make ends meet at home, and much of the work that they do with local churches and communities has needed to be postponed.

 

 

Translation progress

The translation team is making progress with various Old Testament books.

1 Kings and Joshua 1-10 are ready to be tested by a group of readers from the community.

Proverbs, Numbers, 1 Samuel 1-12, and Judges 1-10 are ready to be checked by a consultant who is experienced in translating from the original Hebrew and ensuring that the meaning is conveyed clearly and correctly in African languages.

The team recently held a review workshop on the book of 2 Samuel. One of the reviewers said,

‘In our workshops, many times we are edified greatly in the process of reading through these drafts. These papers have messages.’

My own language Bible on the phone!

A lady called Gloria from one of the Banyole communities was delighted to receive the link to the Nyole Bible online.

She responded,

‘Oh, thank you very much for the great work. I have been longing to have access to my own language Bible on the phone. It is good! I enjoy listening to it!’

2 Corinthians 5:15 in Nyole

Community testing 1 and 2 Samuel

‘Era olwʼohufa huhwe hulwa abaatu bosibosi, abo abalamu bali nʼohumanya baati sibalamu hu lwawe aye hu lwʼoyo owabafiiririra gahena galamuha.’

‘And (because) he died for all people, those who are still living have to know that they are not living for themselves but for him who died for them and thereafter (he) resurrected’

Aristarchus, one of the translators, says that the verse above speaks to his heart, and not only during the Easter season. It spells out what he should live for, for the rest of his life; he should live for the one who died for him.

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the review workshop for 2 Samuel
  • progress on other Old Testament books
  • good progress in the translation work
  • Benayo, the new translator, settling into the role.

Please pray for:

  • the work on Judges and 2 Kings
  • the community testing of 1 Kings
  • lockdown restrictions to be lifted
  • the future workshops to be able to go ahead as planned.
March 2021

A new team member

New translator Weere Benayo joined the team recently

At the beginning of January this year, a new translator was welcomed onto the team. Mr Weere Benayo has just finished his training and he has already found that ‘there has been a tremendous growth in my faith because I have all the time to read God’s word’.

Benayo is married to Rebecca and they have two daughters. He became a Christian through reading and understanding the Bible, and he now reads it to his daughters.

He has been following the team’s progress for a while. In 2018 he was encouraged when he saw an old lady filled with joy when reading a portion of Scripture in her own language.

He hopes that through the work of the project team ‘many people will draw closer to God since he will be speaking their own language’.

Seeing fruit

There have been a number of encouragements for the team recently. The Nyole Scriptures are more frequently being used at funerals, weddings and Sunday services, and even during large gatherings, such as a high profile funeral with many guests. Local church leaders have been very positive about the translated Scriptures too.

One of the team’s first ever Sunday school trainees is currently training to become an Anglican minister. She is planning to make use of the Nyole Scriptures in her work:

‘God’s word in Nyole appeals to me; if I leave the pulpit without reading Scripture in our mother tongue, it is as though I have not led a service. I praise the Lord and thank those who are involved in aiding the translation.’

Last November, during one of the workshops to review the work on the book of Proverbs, one of the local pastors who was attending said:

‘When one reads this book in English or other language, it is not as clear as it is in Nyole. I feel edified in my spirit by this workshop.’

Reading Scripture together

Starting Sunday School

As churches begin to reopen, the team is planning to help them to run Sunday school training workshops for adults, to help local communities to engage with the Nyole Scriptures.

Team members are focussing on starting these workshops in their own churches, before visiting others in the area later in the year.

Continuing the work

The team has been making progress on a number of Old Testament books. They are particularly concentrating on the book of Proverbs, ahead of schedule, because the local church is very interested in it after receiving the small Family Proverbs booklet that the team produced last year.

Under Covid-19 restrictions, the translation team met together with a select few youth, church and local community leaders to review the book of Proverbs before it is checked for a final time.

They are also making good progress with the work on 1 Samuel, 1 Kings and Psalms.

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the new translator joining the team
  • continued protection from Covid-19 for the team
  • good progress on the translation work
  • the community and local churches using the Nyole Scriptures more and more.

Please pray for:

  • Weere Benayo as he settles into the work
  • community testing and review of Proverbs and 1 Samuel
  • the churches and communities to continue to use the Nyole Scriptures
  • the Sunday school training workshops in local churches.
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