Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bible Translation Support Flights

In summer of 2013, we shared about Pastor Jean-Marc, a local pastor from the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church that was working full-time on completing the Old
Testament in Nzebi, the local language. Fast forward to today - the initial translation process is complete and he is now pursuing the next step which is the checking of the complete text! 

More recently, the summer of 2014, chief pilot Rob was discussing needs and opportunities with him and found that, although the Jesus film had been dubbed into Nzebi, it was not widely available due to a format compatibility problem. Rob networked with Campus Crusade, JAARS, and SIL-Cameroon's media department to start producing microSD cards with both the Jesus film and the New Testament that could be played using readily-available local hardware!  
Pastor Jean-Marc began the promotion and distribution project and has now distributed over 1100 DVDs or memory cards in Nzebi, Ipunu or French! One of the testimonies from this effort came right from Bongolo. A young boy disappeared unannounced from his house one day. Hours later he returned carrying the family’s radio that plays memory cards. He wanted to listen to the Word of God without being disturbed so he had taken the radio and gone to the family farm!

As the distribution continued, other language groups began to approach Pastor Jean-Marc asking how they could have the Jesus film in their language. As we prayed and discussed the possibilities with various Bible translation entities, it was clear that CABTAL, a Cameroonian Bible translation organization, should come to both spread the vision for Bible translation and see if the Lord was leading them to be personally involved. In June 2015, Efi Tembon, the director of CABTAL, made his first trip to Gabon. 

Rob had the privilege of flying him-saving him days of traveling by road.  The first stop was Bongolo where he spoke to a national meeting of the leadership of the C&MA (Christian & Missionary Alliance) Church of Gabon. From there, a flight east to Franceville to meet with the Teki community both in the city and in several villages. This is one of the least reached areas of Gabon and several of the leaders caught a vision for how the audio New Testament could be used to evangelize and disciple. 

Town meeting in Franceville with community and church leaders.

From Franceville, it was a return flight to Libreville to meet with church leaders from a variety of denominations. We were very encouraged by the response as each denomination designated representatives to form an inter-church committee to form a strategic plan for Scripture impact in Gabon!

Church leaders from at least 5 denominations!
In addition, the committee is working to establish a partnership with CABTAL. The proposed vision is to start projects in 5 languages starting with the translation of Luke including audio and film. Efi is planning to return to Gabon regularly to speak to another church national assembly as well as meet with the inter-church committee. This is a high-priority prayer request and step as the formation of a strong inter-church committee and the development of a solid strategic plan is key to local ownership and long-term Scripture impact.

We are excited to see the growing interest and engagement within the church and communities. Please join us in praying this small beginning would grow and result in many communities being transformed by hearing the Word of God in a language that speaks clearly to them!