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Bible Translation and Literacy (E.A.) Newsletter

Issue 2 2018

Issue 2 2018 Call of Kenya


To facilitate Bible translation, sustainable literacy and language development programmes among small language groups in Kenya and beyond, partnering with the Church and others to fulfill the Great Commission.

Mother tongue bible changed my father


The camel returned the book it had ‘eaten’


God’s book is being opened today!


Did you carry the Pokomo New Testament?


A Mzungu Jesus Speaks Waata Language


My maiden trip to Kakamega


Did you know? / The fifth stage of Bible translation


CICC Ruiru / Tafsiri Initiatives


Word from the national director


Call of Kenya 2018


Mother Tongue Bible Changed My Father by Daisy Kilel

“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.”

Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency William Samoei Ruto speaking at a Christian Professionals forum.

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

Spiritual Fathers during the breakfast. (Photos courtesy of Live Studios)

Call of Kenya 2018


Mother Tongue Bible Changed My Father...cont 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 has 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. 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

His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta receives a Run for the Bibleless t-shirt and Cap from the BTL National Director Rev. Peter Munguti at Good Shepherd AGC Ngong road

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The Camel Returned The Book It Had ‘Eaten’

The camel carrying Bibles to the dedication venue

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.

by Jackson Vusaka

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.

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.

Call of Kenya 2018

Rendille men and women in a procession to deliver the Bibles.


The Camel Returned The Book It Had ‘Eaten’ ...cont 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!

God’s Book Is Being Opened Today!

by Daisy Kilel

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.

Rendille Bible Translation team (left) Joshua Galimogle Nick Swanapoel (centre) and Laban Eysinkeele (right) Photo credit to Esther Havens and The Seed Company

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.

Call of Kenya 2018

“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


God’s Book Is Being Opened Today! ...cont 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.

Rendille translator, Laban Eysinkeele guide his community members to read a Scripture portion in their language

Did You Carry The Pokomo New Testament?

by Daisy Kilel

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.”

Shadrack Falama, Pokomo Project Leader speaking at a funeral

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.”

Call of Kenya 2018

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


Did You Carry The Pokomo New Testament? ... cont 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.

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.

*Pokomo New Testament was dedicated in 2005.

A Mzungu Jesus Speaks Waata Language

by Sarah Wario, Waata Project Officer

murmurs and shouts of excitement filled the room. Everyone understood every word the actors of the film said. “It is our language!”

Waata children watching a Jesus Film in their language

Jesus through The Jesus Film, spoke in the Waata language despite Him being a *mzungu as 12-year-old Elina Hashako observed. When the film trailer was played during the launch of the Jesus Film in Waata language, Elina was fascinated at how a *mzungu Jesus could speak her language. “How can Jesus, a *mzungu know Waata language?” The Waata people in knowledge of the launch, gathered on the day of 13th October 2018 at ACK Church, Gongoni to witness Jesus speak in their language. Young and old walked into the Church with children sitting at the front of the Church to secure a strategic space for comfort andnot to be distracted during the show. As the film played,

At the end of the launch, more than three hundred Waata people had been in attendance with more than sixty people giving their lives to Jesus. Elina Hashako after watching the whole film exclaimed of how Jesus and not just a *mzungu Jesus truly came for the Waata people. Reverend Ibrahimu Barisah, Waata Project Advisory Committee chairman, pointed out to the community that the launch was just the beginning of more shows for the community throughout that week. This saw the community gathered at two other Centers at the close of that Day for Jesus to speak more into their hearts. Praise God for His redemption through His Son Jesus Christ for mankind including the Waata people. Praise God for Elina Hashako and the over sixty Waata people who learnt of Jesus’s love for all people by watching the Jesus Film. Pray that their hearts will hunger more for Jesus *Translation of the Waata New Testament is ongoing and in the next few years, will be launched and dedicated. *mzungu is the Kiswahili word for white man/Caucasian

My Maiden Trip To Kakamega I had never been to Kakamega town before the morning of 27th July 2018. I was excited and looking forward to the trip. Peter Munguti, BTL’s National Director and a team of 4 were going to meet with the Kabaras community leaders as well as conduct interviews for positions of literacy officers.

Call of Kenya 2018

by Peris Kiriko

"These officers should be speakers of the language and should live and work in the community. The officers study the language and collect a word list; morphology (study of words) and phonology (study of how sounds are organized and used in a language) for papers to be


My Maiden Trip To Kakamega...cont

Interview session to recruit the Kabaras Literacy Worker

developed to act as guides in the creation of the language orthography." The Literacy Officers are then tasked with coming up with a Kabaras orthography that will be used in the translation of the Kabaras Bible. The trip was all I expected. It began with breakfast at Chavakali. The folk in this town are generous and I could tell from the portions of arrowroots that we were served with in a restaurant. We had a sumptuous lunch after the interviews; “kienyeji” chicken and ugali which is the signature meal of the Luhyia larger language group. I thought this would be the highlight of my trip until the afternoon meeting began. The chairman of the local steering committee had called for this meeting to be reassured that they were on the right track of laying foundations for the Kabaras

Call of Kenya 2018

language project. The church leaders are keen and enthusiastic to have the Bible in their language they have in the past attempted to begin translating on their own but were not successful until they learnt about BTL’s work and approached the organization to assist them with the task. They hinted that they have struggled using the Luhyia Union version Bible that was put together to address the dialects in the region and instead have opted to use the Kiswahili Bible that is far removed from them culturally. The Kabras, or Kabarasi, are a tribe of Kenya numbering about 292,000 people. They are a Bantu-related group. They raise and keep livestock as well as farming maize, sugar cane and other crops. The community is located in Malava, in the Kabras Division of Kakamega District in Kenya.



The fifth stage of Bible translation

PUBLISHING Once the text of a translation is finalized, it can be published in a variety of ways. Traditionally, there's usually been a printed version, in which case translators will work with a typesetter to lay out and format the text so it can be given to a printing company. The translation team may also ask one of our partners (such as Faith Comes By Hearing, MegaVoice, YouVersion, and the “JESUS� film) to produce audio, video, or digital versions of the Scripture. In the case of signed languages, the Scripture itself will be in video form.

Call of Kenya 2018


Word From The National Director the Scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:11 which says that God makes everything beautiful in its time. This comes in the backdrop of the fact that by God’s grace we are confident of starting work in the remaining languages in Kenya in the next two years. By the year 2020, Kenya is going to be a zero count. Vision 2025 will have been accomplished way ahead of time. That is amazing! Besides, we continue to see a lot of completions. Communities are receiving New Testaments as well as full Bibles. Recently the Rendille community received their New Testament in a lot of pomp and celebration. In a few months both Giryama and Tharaka communities will receive the full Bible in their language. This will be followed very closely by Samburu New Testament, Digo full Bible as well as Duruma and Pokomo. All these communities are soon going to celebrate hearing God speak to them in their language. Lasting transformation is coming their way. I am very excited to see the direction in which God is taking BTL. BTL was registered to serve the East African region. That is why we bear the prefix (E.A) at the end of our name. Finally, the dream of our founding fathers is being realized. A few months ago as we developed our new Strategic Plan, 2019-2023, one thing that was very clear is that time has come for BTL to actualize the East African dream. It is therefore no coincidence that we have started to receiving requests from the region for us to join hands with the Church and Bible translation organizations in these countries to complete the remaining task. We are therefore praying and asking God to give us direction. I am reminded of

Call of Kenya 2018

We therefore praise God for this far that He has brought us. He has positioned us as an organization for such a time as this. We will take God’s Word beyond Kenyan borders by equipping the Church and building the capacity of organizations in these countries to do Bible translation. We have been so blessed by the generosity of other people across the years. Now it is our time to bless others as God gives us grace. I thank God for all of you who have been part of our story. I am confident of this one thing that we are crossing our borders together. May the Lord richly bless you all; wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Rev. Peter Munguti, National Director





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