The Mambai Bible translation got off to a good start. In 2011, the first portion of Scripture—the Gospel of Mark—was made available to the Mambai people of Cameroon, Africa. Pastor Harimi Justin, a local speaker, was instrumental in the translation. Following the dedication of Mark, Pastor Justin attended a difficult non-Roman script training course and completed it with high honors. His linguistic, computer, and interpersonal skills did not go unnoticed. Many believed his abilities showed promise not only for the Mambai project, but for the Bible translation work of neighboring languages as well.
Only a short time after the training course, Pastor Justin was bitten by a poisonous snake. The bite proved fatal, and his life was cut tragically short. Pastor Justin’s death was a huge blow to the Mambai translation project, and in the years that followed, the remaining Mambai translators struggled to carry on.
For the Mambai project, more trouble came in the form of funding problems, which led to the departure of another gifted translator. Then only two translators remained. They were separated by a great distance and labored in poor living conditions. For a period of time, one of them lived in a place without electricity where he tried to continue his work by pen and paper. The Mambai translation project—one that began strong—was reduced to a standstill.
What resource can sustain such a project when its wounds are so great and the team members feel there is nothing left to give? From the beginning to the end, it will be the constant supply of prayer and the work of God’s hand to overcome the impossible. "Nothing is going to happen unless the Lord moves,” said Ken Hollingsworth, a translation consultant connected to the Mambai translation team. “We need to get more people praying."
Today there are more than 19,000 prayer partners lifting up thousands of people groups through the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project. Intercessors play a vital role not only in a Bible translation project’s start, but also throughout its arduous journey to completion. Constantly attacking, our spiritual Enemy would see us defeated, but in prayer we run to the One who overcomes all obstacles, all wounds.
Pray now for the Mambai:
- Pray for spiritual unity between the remaining Mambai translators.
- Pray that someone would be found to administer and fund the translation project. Pray especially for more Mambai Christians to contribute to the work.
- Ask God to provide more translators for the team and speed the coming of His Word in the Mambai language.
Thank you for praying for the Bibleless! Your prayers are desperately needed. If you’re not already praying for a Bibleless people group, consider signing up to pray for one. Like the Mambai, there are more than 700 people groups in Africa alone that need prayer partners. Learn more about how your prayers can make a difference.