Who, where, what and why?
The Kanu* project team is working together to translate the Old Testament into Kanu, a language spoken by roughly 200,000 people in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Kanu New Testament was completed in the late 1980s, and the Old Testament project began in 2004 to fulfil local believers’ desire for the whole of God’s word in their language. The translation team consists of five part-time translators, assisted by members of Wycliffe and other organisations.
To date, roughly 20% of the Old Testament has been published, and another 30% is in progress. A revised second edition of the New Testament has also been published.
‘Even to the mountains…’
Pastor John is the leader of a nearby Kanu community. Last year, when the team returned from a trip overseas, Pastor John said to them, ‘You’re translating this material. When are you going to start publishing it so we can have it?’ He really wants the whole of the Bible in Kanu, because he’s seen how Scripture speaks to people and transforms their lives.
Pastor John's community is currently very worried about plans to build a major road along the coast. They, along with everyone else living along the coast there, will be evicted from the homes where they’ve lived for 25 years, and forced to move to make way for the development sometime within the next two years. There’s talk of them being moved to a mountainous area inland, but the Kanu have always lived on the coast; they see the mountains as a dangerous and frightening place. One Kanu speaker said, ‘We can’t move to the mountains. If we go there, we’ll die.’
A few weeks after learning this news, the team visited the community on a Sunday evening for a fellowship gathering. They were singing a song we hadn’t heard before, which reminded us of Psalm 23. The lyrics were something like, ‘Even to the mountains, even on the path of darkness, you will be with us.’ Then Pastor John spoke about Abram, who was commanded by God to leave his home and go to a faraway place. He trusted God even when he didn’t know why or what was going to happen. Pastor John encouraged the people to trust God as Abram did, even in their uncertainty and fear and hurt. The word of God is truly powerful and speaks into real life situations today.
* name changed for security reasons
We would like to thank the Women’s World Day of Prayer for their generous contributions towards this project over the last two years.