The Banyole are one of the Bantu ethnic groups of Uganda. They live in the south-east of Uganda, in an area of green, rolling grassland, surrounded and divided by papyrus-lined swamps. There is little land within their area that is uninhabited; most of it is cultivated. The language of the Banyole people is called Lunyole.

Fact File

  • Country: Uganda
  • Speakers: 530,000
  • Start date: New Testament translation started in 2005; Scripture engagement project started in 2016
  • Projected end date: 2021

The Banyole are primarily arable farmers, but nearly every home also keeps domesticated animals such as cows, goats, sheep 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. Most cultivation is done by hand.

The principal means of transport is by bicycle, even for transporting crops. Some Banyole rice farmers have to travel many miles to their fields.

The Lunyole New Testament was launched in January 2017. The translators are continuing with Old Testament translation with support from the community and outside funds. In addition, efforts are being focused on literacy and Scripture use work, to help the Church make the most of having the Scriptures in their own language. The funds sent from Wycliffe Bible Translators will pay the salaries of the translators and the Scripture-use members of the team, enable some Old Testament translation and encourage the Banyole Church to mobilise itself to lead further translation work.

Project goals:

  • to have a Scripture use worker and a literacy teacher running activities and courses to equip the Banyole people with the tools they need to access the published New Testament.
  • to translate some portions of the Lunyole Old Testament and make them available to the Banyole people.

God speaks to us

Over 2,000 people gathered to celebrate the arrival of the Lunyole New Testament in January 2017. As a participant said, ‘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.’

Ms Apofuya, a board member of a local technical institute, is reading the New Testament from cover to cover. ‘As I read the Lunyole New Testament, it is like conversing with God and Jesus,’ she said.

Prayer points

Give thanks for:

  • a successful launch of the New Testament in January 2017
  • progress in translating Genesis and Exodus
  • the increased interest of the Banyole people in the New Testament and the opportunity to publicise its availability recently on local radio

Pray for:

  • ongoing progress in checking and community testing Exodus
  • 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.
  • 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!


Banyole are the people;Lunyole– or Nyole– is the language; and Bunyole is the place where the Banyole people live.

Latest News

March 2020

Putting Proverbs into practice

It is a joy to be able share news that the latest Banyole Bible resource – a booklet of proverbs on family life from the book of Proverbs – is already having an impact, helping people to apply the living word of God to their lives.

During a recent workshop on family values, attended by 24 local married people, participants had the chance to reflect on what the Scriptures in the book of Proverbs say about the things that a good husband and wife should do. For participant Edward Tabo, the fruits of this are already being seen:

I confess that I have been rude and harsh to my children on many occasions, thinking that it did not matter … These selected proverbs from God’s book of Proverbs have helped me to realise that I need to be loving and also to teach my children to grow up in the fear of God. I will go back and start to practice love and kindness.’

We praise God for this transformation and that the team has already had requests from churches to run more workshops.

Broadcasting translation

If you were to have tuned in to the local Banyole radio station in November last year you might have had the chance to hear some familiar voices.

Translators Matthias and Aristarchus were given the opportunity to take part in a two-hour radio talk show. The broadcast had a huge coverage and gave the translators the opportunity to share more of the work they have been involved in. The impact of this was seen by the number of people from the local community phoning in to show appreciation, and church leaders requesting materials. As a result, the team would like to have more opportunities to use radio to increase awareness of Bible translation.

Project and progress

The Banyole team continues to press on with translating the Old Testament, with the hope that one day soon the Banyole community will have access to the whole Bible. A few recent highlights have been:

  • making progress with the drafting of Isaiah and Daniel
  • community checking Psalms 90-150
  • preparing 1 Chronicles 23-29 for the next stage of translation – community checking.

Equipping local people

A vital part of the sustainability of Bible translation is investing in the development of local staff. Through taking part in training, attending workshops and meeting with other translators the team is able to grow their skills and increase their capacity to carry out the work God has called them to in their community.

This also extends beyond the current team. Two local people recently had the opportunity to take part in an Introduction to Translation Principles course. The course was co-faciliated by Banyole translator Aristarchus and brought together people from eight different language groups. Following on from this the two local people have grown in their skills and are now able to assist the team as volunteers.

Sharing Scripture

To increase access to Scripture the team has been busy distributing translated portions of the Bible. This has been able to accelerate over the last few months due to community checking giving the team time to visit more Banyole areas. The team was also eager to distribute the new materials on Proverbs, increasing their area of reach. The plan now is to visit more churches.

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the team being able to increase awareness of Bible translation over the radio
  • community testing of Psalms 90-150 being carried out successfully
  • the next section of 1 Chronicles now being ready for community checking
  • understanding of Scripture growing and impacting people’s lives.

Please pray for:

  • the community to have a spiritual hunger for the word of God and abandon worship of ancestral spirits
  • wisdom as the team continues with translation of Psalms, 2 Chronicles and 1 Samuel
  • the final team check of Proverbs
  • the upcoming translation committee meeting
  • more opportunities to run workshops that increase people’s understanding of Scripture.
December 2019
Proverbs booklet on family life

Family life

The finishing touches have just been made to an exciting new Banyole Bible resource – a booklet of Proverbs about family life. The booklet was put together following a recent workshop and, as well as Proverbs, contains pictures by a local artist.

The theme was chosen in response to an expressed need from the community for Scripture on transforming family relationships. The team has also been hearing from families that they now frequently use the New Testament for family devotions, and is hoping the booklets will continue to encourage them in this. Plans are being made to soon begin distributing the resource among local churches and it has also been translated into the neighbouring Bagwere language.

A thirst for more

We rejoice to hear reports of churches across the Banyole community growing and increasingly using Scripture in their own language. The team has also been receiving many requests for more portions of the Old Testament to be made available.

Requests have come in via the office from visiting community members, and to the team whilst on the road. Many people also share their appreciation for the work and wish to encourage the team as they continue.

In response to these requests, the team is continuing to increase distribution of Genesis and Exodus and train church leaders in how to use Scripture in their language.

Progress snapshot

Here is a snapshot of the team’s progress over recent months:

  • portions of Psalms community tested
  • translators attended workshop on Proverbs
  • completion of first draft of Job
  • preparing 1 Chronicles for final checks
  • distribution of Scripture materials

Team unity

Over the last few months the Banyole translation team has seen their productivity go up, and has even been ahead of schedule in some areas.

The team praises God that, through his provision of extra funding, they are now all able to work full time, helping them to race ahead. Alongside this, they have also been growing in understanding of their roles and working in unity with those around them. The team lead, Aristarchus, shared what is essential for this:

‘Love, grace and unity are paramount in everything we do.’

Banyole team working together with a local bishop and neighbouring translation team

Turbulent weather

Much of the Banyole community is reliant on crops which provide income and the means to feed their families. Turbulent weather can therefore have a huge impact. Many are currently feeling the force of unpredictable rain patterns.

This year’s weather has resulted in many having a poor harvest of crops such as potatoes, bananas and beans. As a result, many in rural areas are facing economic challenges. This in turn makes distribution of Scriptures and resources among these people difficult for the team, as people do not have the funds to purchase them. (We ask for payment because it ensures that people truly value and invest in what they are receiving.) In response to this, churches and local people are doing their best to widen the reach of the Scriptures they have through preaching and sharing resources.

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the team being able to attend a Proverbs workshop and for the skills they gained
  • completion of the Proverbs family life booklet
  • churches growing in their faith and enthusiasm for Scripture
  • the team working well together and racing ahead with translation.

Please pray for:

  • godly wisdom for the consultant checking of Psalms 42–89
  • the community testing of Psalms 90–130
  • team members who are struggling with health issues
  • the community coping with the economic issues arising from turbulent weather.


June 2019


With the Banyole New Testament complete, the focus now is on making progress with translating the Old Testament. Alongside this, the team is working to encourage and equip local communities and churches to use translated Scripture, and to improve literacy.

Thanks to their hard work, the generosity of supporters and the grace of God the team have made encouraging progress. Translation on many occasions has been ahead of schedule. The team have drafted 1 and 2 Kings, and have been busy checking portions of Psalms and Proverbs.

In addition, the team have visited many different churches and praise God that they witnessed many joyful congregations using the translated New Testament.

Delighting in our language

Community checking Psalms 1– 40

Believers and non-believers alike have been delighting in hearing portions of Scripture shared in their own language, Nyole.

The Banyole team recently spent time community checking their draft translation of Psalms 1–40. Groups made up of all different backgrounds gathered to hear the Scriptures read aloud.

Marriam Nakwaga and Salama Nduga, both believers of another religion, shared their joy:

‘We have admired to hear the word of God being read to us in Nyole … Thank you for blessing us.’

Wahima Robert, who is Anglican, had this to say:

‘I have loved to hear Nyole words like epiima and ebijofu.’(‘sword’ and ‘chains’)

As part of the community-testing process, local people are given the chance to feedback on what they hear. This not only helps improve the fluency of translations but also acts as a vital tool for engaging the community.

A new team member

The Banyole team were thrilled to welcome a much-needed new member earlier this year, Aggrey Gwali. Aggrey has taken on the role of Scripture Engagement and Literacy Coordinator.

With someone dedicated to these areas of work, the hope is that the team will be able to increase community engagement with the Lunyole New Testament and enable more people to learn to read and write in Lunyole.

This is also in direct response to community needs. For example, a request came from Maimuna Kagoya, who is now 80 years old and has seen the team at work for many years, for more literacy materials and lessons for people of all ages.

Training leaders

Delighting in translated portions of Scripture

As more and more churches use the Lunyole New Testament, it is essential to equip local leaders with the tools to engage with Scripture.

Earlier this year the team held a workshop at the Kangalaba Church of Uganda. The 20 leaders who attended were trained in how to hold a Bible study. One pastor, Mr Mwima Gideon, shared:

‘I have discovered that I have been “preaching” instead of conducting Bible study. It is through this Scripture engagement training that now I have gained knowledge to help others in the steps taught. This is helpful for me as a leader.’

The plan is to increase the number and reach of these workshops over the coming months.

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the provision of a new team member, Aggrey Gwali, as Scripture Engagement and Literacy Coordinator
  • the successful team checking and community testing of Psalms 140
  • the gathering together of local leaders for Bible study workshops and the skills learnt
  • visits made to many churches and the joy of congregations using the New Testament.

Please pray for:

  • the next stage of the translation of Psalms 1–40, which is consultant checking
  • good health and unity for the Banyole team
  • continued opportunities to hold Scripture engagement and literacy workshops
  • strength and wisdom in translating Psalms 103–130.
  • increased distribution of and engagement with the New Testament among the local community.
December 2018
Image of men excited at receiving printed copies of Genesis and Exodus in Lunyole
Excitement at receiving the printed copies of Genesis and Exodus in Lunyole
Image of the translation team reviewing Deuteronomy
The reviewing of Deuteronomy at the translation office

The recent progress

  • publication of Genesis and Exodus
  • the successful running of a review workshop of Deuteronomy
  • Scripture engagement workshop held
  • the first drafting of portions of Proverbs
  • funding enabling the team to move from part-time to full-time, increasing progress.

Going beyond translation

Members of the project often visit local churches to promote the work and encourage use of the newly translated Scriptures. At a recent public relations visit, Lead Translator Aristarchus received a lot of positive feedback from members of the church who are using the Lunyole New Testament. One lady testified:

‘My Nyole New Testament is so dear to me. I enjoy reading it because I get a very clear understanding of what I read straight away.’

Bible study principles were taught at a Scripture engagement workshop in September. One of the participants reported that the training had resulted in a deeper understanding of God’s word.

‘This workshop has helped me to value the Nyole New Testament more than before. I used to take it as any other book, but now I know, it is God’s word.’

Image of Banyole people reading the Lunyole New Testament
Banyole reading the Lunyole New Testament

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • increased funding so that the translators are able to give more hours to the project
  • the team successfully achieving almost all their goals for the last quarter
  • the enthusiasm with which the translated Scriptures are being received.

Please pray for:

  • continued strength and wisdom in translating Psalms 10–130
  • a successful consultant check of Deuteronomy 1–20 in December
  • continued good health for the team
  • spiritual reawakening as God’s word impacts the Banyole
  • the local church to get behind the project financially.
May 2018

Impact of the New Testament

Since the launch of the Lunyole New Testament last year, churches have been using it more and more in their services and meetings.

During an overnight prayer meeting on New Year’s Eve, the visiting preacher in one church requested that someone from the congregation read some passages from the New Testament. His expectation was that the reading would be from the Luganda Bible, but some Banyole people were excited to be able to point out that they now have their own Lunyole translation.

A pastor in a local church said,

‘The Lunyole New Testament has simplified my work of preaching as people are able to understand the meaning directly and without needing to hear an interpretation, unlike other Bible versions. I am so pleased with our Lunyole New Testament.’

A participant in a recent Bible study workshop also expressed their appreciation:

‘This Bible study workshop is exactly what we have been missing over the years. I am convinced it will make us grow and know God better.’

Another woman commented,

‘I have been reading the Bible, but without understanding what I read. Now I believe I can understand most of the things I read.’

All of the participants were excited, and are looking forward to the next Bible study workshop.

Give thanks for:

  • the impact that the New Testament is having in the churches
  • significant recent progress in pre-publication testing of Exodus, consultant and community checking of Deuteronomy, and the first draft translation of Psalms 27–150.

Pray for:

  • wisdom as the team continues with pre-publication checking of Exodus and typesetting the entire book ahead of the planned publication of Genesis and Exodus in early June
  • the team members, who are facing challenges in terms of time and finances as they seek to meet their project goals
  • control of team leader Aristarchus’ blood pressure and good health for the rest of the team.
Community testing
Translator Mathias does community testing of Deuteronomy as a family continues shelling peanuts and making a papyrus mat. Mathias is also planting the seed of God’s word in their hearts.
November 2017

Since the launch…

Banyole: Reading in Lunyole
Reading in Lunyole

The translation team has been very encouraged by people’s attitude towards the New Testament. Tom Dambyo, a local church leader, commented, ‘The Lunyole Bible is interesting to read. The Lunyole used was written as it is spoken.’

There was initially a lower distribution of New Testaments than hoped. One factor was that the launch came at a time when the community was struggling with extended drought which damaged a lot of crops, particularly rice. People’s priority was to put food on the table for their families. In addition, people were not sure where they could find copies of the New Testament until the team had an opportunity to speak about the project on a local radio station. They were surprised by how many phone calls they received after the broadcast, expressing appreciation for their work, including from people of other faiths. The broadcast also led to opportunities to speak on other radio programmes.

Recent achievements

  • checked Exodus initially with the translation team and then with the wider community
  • started translating Deuteronomy

Future plans

  • continue translating Deuteronomy

Praise and prayer

Give thanks for:

  • the positive attitude of the community towards the Lunyole New Testament
  • good progress in translating Genesis and Exodus

Pray for:

  • the impact of the Lunyole New Testament in the lives of Christians and non-Christians alike
  • supportive relationships between the local translation committee and the individual translators, so that each is motivated to play their part
  • wisdom and good health for the translators as they continue their work
  • good internet access for the Skype sessions with the translation consultant in the US
  • good rainfall for next year’s crops
Banyole: Studying God’s word in Lunyole
Studying God’s word in Lunyole