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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

cell phoneI remember walking into church as a kid, always armed with a Bible in hand. How could you go to church without bringing a Bible? And by “Bible,” I mean treeware. There was a whole industry to support it: Bible covers, bookmarks, cover embossing and engraving, Bible cover embossing and engraving. Today, my Bible looks quite different. When I pull out my phone in church (on silent, of course), I’m not checking my messages. I’m following along with my pastor, switching versions on the fly and pulling up notes, maps and images on the passage at hand.

Bible apps for iPhoneI’m very excited about a new partnership to get the Bible into digital platforms in every language and distribute it worldwide through technology. In case you haven’t noticed, cell phones have allowed people in third world countries to skip an entire generation of technology. They skipped the telephone line and jumped straight to cell. In fact, you can get better coverage in most countries in Africa than you can in rural parts of the United States. I read recently that nomads in Africa no longer pick places to stop for the night based purely on where water is available. Instead, they look for wi-fi hotspots.

The Every Tribe Every Nation partnership is working primarily through YouVersion and Bible.is. YouVersion is by far the most popular Bible application on the iPhone. But it has a key limitation when it comes to oral societies: you have to read the Bible. Bible.isThat’s where Faith Comes by Hearing’s Bible.is excels. You can push play and hear the Bible while you follow along. What a great way to learn how to read!

Both of these organizations love Wycliffe because we don’t copyright our translations. Imagine getting access Scriptures in 800+ languages from one source! That’s what we offer.

Stay tuned. This distribution method opens all kinds of possibilities, especially in places where possession of a Bible is a punishable offense. You can also read more in Wycliffe Canada’s WordAlive magazine.

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“It is injustice to compel a believer to listen to the gospel in a foreign language.”
— Rev. Jotham Odongo, Church of Tanzania

Cameroon, Africa – When a French priest asked translator, Leonard, to read the Passion from John’s Gospel in Yambetta during Holy Week in 1980, Leonard saw the older women crying. They wanted to know where he had found that story about “this man who suffered so much for us.” When he told them it was the same Scripture read from the Bible every year, they insisted they’d never heard it before. Leonard knew then the enormity of his task.

Of the Yambetta population of 8,000 speakers, only about one-fourth can read. The majority of the population doesn’t understand French, the language of the church. Most have little idea what the Bible actually says. One resulting belief is that God is only concerned with the spirit; the body is not important to Him. The individual must find cures for illness in shamanism, assure his progeny through promiscuity and assuage his own fear as best he can.

Almost thirty years later, the Gospel is still hidden from the Yambetta people because, until last year, the tenacious translators have not been able to devote full time to their work. The team has completed a revision of Matthew and drafts of John, 1 Thessalonians and most of Acts. 2 Thessalonians is next on the agenda as they move toward an expected completion date in 2014.

As people read and understand Scripture in their mother tongue and apply it to their lives, common practices such as sexual experimentation, adultery, polygamy and shamanism will begin to change.

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