The joy of receiving the Bible in Kiitharaka could not be hidden on the faces of the Tharaka people. The long wait of 30 years was finally over. They had been patient and weathered through orthography issues, harsh weather, limited access to holistic understanding of the scriptures but on 13th June 2019, nothing could keep them back.
Their Bible was finally being dedicated. Their hunger for deeper understanding could now be satisfied. Just as it were to the people in Jerusalem at Pentecost who heard Gods wonders in their languages, so it was to the Tharaka people, they could now read the great wonders of God in Kiitharaka. Reminiscing on the past, Hon. Susan, the MCA, pointed out that the Tharaka people have read other translations that seemed close to them but they could not read it fully. She noted “We could not read all the words because some were shameful to the Tharaka people.” “But,” she continued, “today we are grateful to God that we can read the Bible in our own language.”
In words that affirmed her sentiments the Deputy President Hon. Dr William Ruto, who was the chief guest, reckoned that were it not for the scriptures that his father read, he could not have gone to school. “When a man reads Gods word in his mother tongue it touches his heart,” he added.
Climaxing the day was the dedication of the Tharaka Scriptures and the presentation of inaugural copies to some members of the community among them being the Governor, Senator, and key church leaders in the area. Both the leaders and the community at large were grateful to BTL and their partners for the resilience and commitment they had shown over the 30 years to see to it that the Tharaka people join the 10% of languages that have the Bible in their tongue globally. Furthermore, we are eternally grateful to God who has made all things possible at the right time. To Him be glory and honor.
During our recent graduation ceremony at Kadzandani Literacy Centre, Mzee Guyo Kolosho joyfully shared how his son secured a job as an enumerator for the Kenyan 2019 Census exercise that would be commencing soon.
Bajila Guyo Kolosho acquired his Level Two Waata literacy certificate in 2017 while in form 3. He had joined the literacy classes so that he would be able to read the Waata Bible but he never imagined that God would use his proficiency in his language to get him a job.
Mzee Kolosho beaming with joy narrated how in the month of July this year, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) advertised 2019 Kenya Population census jobs which included ICT specialists, content supervisors and enumerator positions; one of the qualifications for this job was fluency in speaking the local language. Bajila, applied for the enumerator job just to try his luck since they were many who had applied for that post.
During the interview, Bajila presented all his certificates including the Waata literacy certificate. One question among many others that he was asked, was whether he could speak his local language articulately; Bajila in response pointed out to his Waata literacy certificate that was amidst his certicates to the interviewer, who was very impressed giving Bajila a direct entry into the job.
Word spread that the Waata literacy certificate was very valuable in getting jobs such as this one. This led to people flocking into the Literacy Centre seeking how they could acquire such a certificate. They were encouraged to enroll for the next literacy classes. There was great applause as Mzee Kolosho finished sharing his testimony, we are assured that the next literacy classes will be full; the community now knows that the skill of knowing how to read and write in mother tongue is a key that can open doors; not just a door to read and write in the Waata Language but other doors of service to their community.
Ani Marmar aku Kholbokha a Galdelain Korr Kitimi. (I am Marmar of Kholbokha family, the clan of Galdelan from Korr). This is how Pastor John Ndegwa, a Church Relations Officer at World Concern Nairobi office, introduces himself to me. He is Rendille by virtue that he served as a missionary among the Rendille people for a period of 9 years. Besides, his first months at Korr, Nick and Lynn Swanapoel, the first missionaries to serve with the Rendille project had hosted him, taught him how to read and write in the Rendille language preparing him for his new assignment.
As the dedication drew nearer, John was elated but making his way to Korr was proving strenuous; he had not settled on any means of transport despite time running out. Two days to the dedication, God opened a door for him. A deliverance church in Nairobi needed someone to deliver a new motorbike to one of its missionaries who is based in Kurkum, a 600KM ride from Nairobi. Unknown to him, two other missionaries had expressed interest to attend the dedication with him. “With my friends on board, we could not all fit on one motorbike. I chose to travel by bus so that my friends could ride on the motorbike to Korr. I knew how to find my way to the Old BTL Centre, the dedication venue,” John says.
“On the eve of the dedication, my missionary friends on their way to the dedication venue met an excited group of Rendille boys on the road. They asked them what the excitement was all about, and the boys in unison mentioned of a God’s Book that was going to be opened in their community. This did melt my heart. All age groups knew what was happening in their community,” John reports.
“The village and neighborhood was in dance and singing. I had never seen such a happy people. It was colourful and humbling to see their Daasanach friends in attendance. According to their beliefs, the camel had ‘eaten’ their Bible and that is why they never had one but on this day, the same treasured animal was returning their ‘eaten’ Book. It was indeed a new dawn for the Rendille people. A day we all had waited for long. ” John concludes.
As this became a reality, John was already in the future of this great community. In a period of five years, he prays for Rendille Christian marriages and stable families, Scriptures being taught both in primary and secondary schools, a church in every ‘goob’, (village) and a transformed community by the grace of God.
Praise God for the availability of Scriptures in the Rendille Language. Praise God for making the long awaited dedication happen. Praise God for all the men and women who took an initiative to bring this to fruition. Pray for the Rendille Church to grow in the knowledge of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Pray that the Word will go forth so that God’s people will experience His daily presence in their lives. Pray for funds and plans to start translation of the Old Testament.
Photo: Rendille Bible Translation team (left) Joshua Galimogle, Nick Swanapoel (centre) and Laban Eysinkeele (right). Photo credit to to Esther Havens and The Seed Company
By Daisy Kilel
Shedrack Falama is not just a translator. He wears shoes of different needs of the Pokomo community he translates the Scriptures for. In his community, he is not Shedrack Falama but BTL. At one time, he was invited to speak at a funeral in a neighboring village, “I shared of our Bible Translation progress of the Pokomo Old Testament. This is what the people expect of my colleagues and I to tell them in every event they invite us to.”
As he made his way back to his seat, a Giryama pastor approached him inquiring if he had carried a copy of their Pokomo New Testament. “I had carried neither a hymn book nor a New Testament, I never imagined of anyone in need of it and especially in a Giryama populated area.” As he conversed with the pastor, someone who had sat close to them overheard the pastor’s question. “He too stood to join in our conversation with the pastor. He also expressed interest of a copy. I was overwhelmed.”
Shedrack Falama’s office was 10KM away from the burial venue; he decided to go for the two Bibles. “I rode my motorbike to our office. When I got back, on the mourners seeing me hand over the copies to the two fellows, more than 10 others came forward expressing needs for their own copies.”
“My Bibleless hands did not worry of what they were going to give to the brethren that stood before me; instead, my heart rejoiced for what the Lord was doing in the lives of His people. I saw a thirst for God’s Word in a way that I could not understand.” Since Falama could ride back to his office, he promised the growing number to carry enough copies for them as soon as he could.
*Pokomo New Testament was dedicated in 2005. Translation for the Old Testament is at its final stages and we are hopeful that in the next 2 years, Pokomo full Bible will be launched and dedicated. Pray for the remaining process of the translation to proceed well.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
This quote by Nelson Mandela speaks to the heart of the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency William Samoei Ruto in a special way. In his address to the Kenyan Spiritual Fathers at a Bible translation breakfast on 18th October 2018, he narrated to them how God used his own father for his benefit. “My father never went to school but through reading the Word of God in a language that he could understand, he became literate and understood the value of taking his children to school. I believe that they are other people who will benefit the way I did if the Bible was in their language,” he said
The Deputy President has attended a number of Bible Dedications in the past and is conversant with the enthusiasm and emotions of the communities as they receive the Word of God in their language. “In the year 2012, BTL invited me for the Sabaot Bible Dedication. I was moved to see the community members shed tears as the Word of God was being read to them.”
Having supported Literacy and Translation projects that are run by Bible Translation & Literacy (BTL) and Bible Society of Kenya (BSK), His Excellency at some point was confused by what the two organizations were each involved in. He therefore invited Reverend Peter Munguti, BTL’s National Director and Mrs. Elizabeth Muriuki, BSK’s General Secretary to his office seeking to understand what each organization was engaged in. “Having sat with them and understood their work, I saw the challenges that they go through in putting God’s Word in the hands of the Bibleless communities that they serve in; many years of translations, limited resources and I saw that there was value in what they were doing. I therefore thought that it would be good for all of us to put one big effort to allow these organizations to do their work in an organized manner than how they have been doing.”
With quite a number of communities yet to receive God’s Word in their languages, and especially the small language groups, The Deputy president reminded his congregation of how God had blessed them with more than they could share. “If you read the list of communities today which do not have a Bible in their language, majority are the minorities. Let us not allow them to be minorities here on earth and minorities in heaven. I thought God had provided an opportunity for me to assist and work with our spiritual Fathers to evangelize through the Word of God by ensuring that these communities that do not have the Bible in their language, get to read God’s Word. It is not an individual effort but an effort of millions of people. This is an effort that belongs to all of us as Christians in this nation. Politicians in the National Assembly, Senate and County Assemblies are being mobilized because this is our moment to make a statement that this is a nation of God,” he concluded.
When the Deputy President shared with the President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, about his early commitment that morning and the vision he had for the Bibleless communities in Kenya, the President was elated to be part of the fundraiser on 6th December 2018 as the Chief Guest. Praise the Lord for His unmerited favour toward the Bibleless communities. Pray for the plans of that big day.
To be part of this noble task, share this vision to your families, friends, church and colleagues. You can also send your contribution via:
Paybill No: 777332
Account No: Your name or name of your church
Account Name: Kenya Bible Translation Trust Bank and Branch
Cooperative Bank of Kenya, Parliament Road Branch
Account No.: 01122163819300
The Rendille community has always believed that the ‘Bible’ meant for them had been eaten by a camel. This is the reason why they have not had access to the Scriptures in their heart language for a very long time. On 18th August 2018, this narrative changed as they hosted a multitude of guests from Kenya and beyond to witness the ‘Bible’s’ return by their treasured animal, the camel.
Missionaries and partners from USA, UK and South Africa who faithfully supported this project were in attendance to witness this once in a lifetime occasion. Representatives from Kenyan churches, partnering institutions and mission agency representatives with work in the community were also present. A great highlight was a choir from the Daasanach community, which had traversed the Chalbi desert, for a three-day journey in order to be part of the big day. Jeremiah Intimo, the Rendille area chief could not hide his joy as he welcomed all the guests present at the occasion. “We celebrate the coming of the Rendille Bible today. We have God’s Word in our language and I am glad you are all here to celebrate with us.” He also congratulated the translators for the sacrifice and hardwork that they had put in over the years for the Rendille translation.
The greatest highlight of the day was the greatly awaited arrival of the New Testaments, loaded on the backs of camels that made their way through a colorful procession to the venue. There was great celebration and dancing as the crowd witnessed the offloaded cartons of the Scriptures being placed on the table. It had been an over thirty year’s wait. This duration of the translation process was not just silently passing years, as Rev. Peter Munguti, BTL’s National Director, narrated the many challenges that the Rendille translation team faced while attempting to provide the Scriptures in their language. He pointed out that at some point during the translation process, the team was faced with very long spells of drought and famine forcing them to stop the work. “Choices had to be made between saving a dying population and continuing with the translation; the obvious choice was to save the Rendille people
The unending thirst to have the Word of God in the Rendille language was finally quenched. This was evident on the faces of the elderly Rendille men and women as Rev. David Gargule, delivered the first sermon from the dedicated New Testament. Rev. Micah Amukobole in his address noted the changes that had taken place in the community. Among these were the special increases in the number of colours in their attire. Relating this to the occasion, he stated that the Bible had added even more colour to an already colourful congregation. “Thanks to God for an increase in colours. The work may have taken time, but God was developing His people. The Book that the camel had eaten is finally here. Read and believe it. ”
Church leaders from the Anglican church of Kenya and the Catholic Church from Marsabit Diocese gave their remarks in support of the work of Bible translation and the impact it has in the kingdom of God. Marsabit County Assembly through the Speaker, presented the Marsabit County Governor’s donation of Ksh 100,000/ to facilitate Bible translation and literacy work. Over 400 copies of the New Testament were sold out that day, with many local mission agencies pledging to take more for evangelism within the community.
To God be the glory!
Praise God for the availability of Scriptures in the Rendille Language.
Praise God for making the long awaited dedication happen. Praise God for all the men and women who took an initiative to bring this to fruitful. Pray for the Rendille Church to grow in the knowledge of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Pray that the Word will go forth so that God’s people will experience His daily presence in their lives. Pray for funds and plans to start translation of the Old Testament.
by Jackson Vusaka
Emmy Rono, an advocate by profession and a partner of BTL, took a personal challenge to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro on Saturday 24th March in order to raise USD10, 000 to support the work of Bible Translation. She was in the company of 3 of her friends and managed to complete the hike on 31st March 2018. This is what she had to say when interviewed;
What inspired you to take this hike and why?
The hike was a challenge I always wanted to undertake, but I did not want to do it simply for the fun of it, so I waited until I finally had a good reason to do it... What inspired me; I once attended a dinner hosted by BTL for partners and potential partners, and listening to the stories of how the work of BTL was transforming communities challenged me. One particular story of how an old woman was able to listen to the audio Bible in her mother tongue astounded me. Perhaps I felt this way because I have seen the incredible transformative power of God’s Word in my own life and in the lives of friends and families around me. I knew then that it would be a privilege to support in any way, the amazing work done by BTL among small language communities. The fact that an institution can enable people to hear/read the living Word of God in their mother tongue is priceless! This was my inspiration to finally hike Mt. Kilimanjaro.
What was your experience as you climbed the mountain?
Climbing the mountain was thrilling, challenging and fun. It required a lot of patience, resilience and discipline. Going as a team was a good motivation as we encouraged each other along the way. I cannot stress enough the kind of support we received from the guides, the porters and the cooks, who made the experience worthwhile. Every step counted, so we kept walking even when we were extremely tired, one-step at a time, until we reached Uhuru. The prayers of many also restrained the weather, which eased our climb, as the weather was not as harsh as is usually the case on Kilimanjaro. All the encouragement and prayers from friends and family made all the difference. BTL is grateful to God for ministry friends like Emmy and the zeal that they have towards ensuring that the Bibleless communities in Kenya get God’s word in their language.
(From left to right: Nyambura Karita, Peter Okaalet Jr., Benjamin Nge'no and Emmy Rono at the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park)