The Nach* people live in a mountainous region of Southeast Asia. The majority are farmers, growing crops such as rice, bananas and mangoes. Some are also involved in fishing, logging and raising animals.

Fact file

  • Region: Southeast Asia
  • Speakers: 47,500 spread across five language groups
  • Start date: October 2018
  • Projected end date: September 2021
  • Funds still needed for October 2018–September 2019: £22,069

Buddhism is the majority religion in the area, but a significant number of the Nach are Christians. Many do not have access to Scripture in their own language, however, and so have used a Bible in the national language. This is hard for them to understand, especially as literacy levels in the region are low.

Dangers of false teaching

As a result of not having Scriptures in their own language, churches are susceptible to false teaching. For example, entire villages have stopped work to wait for Christ’s second coming, and other villages have been split in two because some Christians were told not to associate with other denominations. As the churches are weakened through this distorted teaching, they no longer have the strength to stand against the more politically powerful and wealthy Buddhists.

This means that in some areas, all the Christians have turned to Buddhism. You can even find Buddhist monks with names like Elijah, who were born to Christian parents but who have since turned from their faith in Christ.

The five language groups in this cluster (Nosko*, Khily*, Ramuki*, Melichi* and Adia*) are at different stages in the Bible translation process, so have different needs. Two are just beginning translation work, two have just dedicated New Testaments, and one is preparing to start Old Testament translation.

This project aims to provide linguistic and literacy support for each language group until the Nach people can read their Bibles easily, and the Nach church is united and growing through living out God’s word, and through the witness of the believers’ lives and message.

Challenges and project goals

It has been difficult for many language groups to move from simple literacy materials to reading the Bible. It has also been difficult to establish routines for regularly reading the Bible and applying it to their lives. This makes it difficult for people to grow in their faith. The purpose of this project is to develop Bible study resources at various difficulty levels in the national language and equip five language groups to adapt these and begin using them, so that they can be transformed by God’s word.

adult literacy in progress
Adult literacy and Bible study in progress

The project’s three-year goals are

  • to develop an easy-reader Bible study curriculum in the national language that can be adapted and used by many language groups
  • to facilitate Bible and Bible-based material study groups in these communities, so that people have a regularly scheduled time for learning to read the Bible fluently and engaging with God’s word
  • to adapt teaching and reading materials into these five languages for Sunday schools, church and home-based Bible study groups, so the community has easy materials to begin reading
  • to develop trainers’ and teachers’ capacities in these five language groups so they can help more Bible study groups begin.

The goals for this year (2018) are:

  • to develop, print and test 30 Bible storybooks for all five groups
  • to develop, print, and test one Bible story-based primer for three groups, and one Bible-based primer for two groups with the New Testament
  • to develop, print, and test Sunday school lesson plans for two groups with the New Testament
  • to start a Bible reading group in one village in each of the two groups with the New Testament
  • to develop easy-reader Bible study curriculum in the national language.

Praise and prayer points

Praise God for:

  • one of the groups, who recently published the New Testament, is very excited and has just started making an audio recording of it
  • providing a space to work for these three groups working in translation.

Pray for:

  • unity within each language group; divisions over dialect or denomination can result in major struggles
  • literacy efforts among each of these groups, that each group would give the time and energy to implement literacy plans, as well as the knowledge and skills to effectively teach and train their people to read the Bible well
  • Good relationships between the individuals and organisations who are working together.