Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique in southern Africa. Despite the island’s close proximity to the African continent, ocean currents isolate the country and approximately 90% of the flora and fauna on Madagascar aren’t found in the wild anywhere else on earth. Over 100 species of lemur, as well as the fossa (a carnivorous mammal), a variety of chameleons and the coua bird are just some of the wildlife that can be spotted across Madagascar's diverse terrain which ranges from tropical to temperate and arid climates.
The island nation was one of earth’s last major habitable land masses to be settled by humans, but today over 27 million people call Madagascar home. The primary languages of Madagascar are Malagasy and French, but the country is made up of a variety of people groups each with their own dialects, cultures and customs that reflect the diversity of the island’s settlers.
Members of a church in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar, have traveled all over the country to share the gospel message. But as they shared God’s Word, they realized that using Scripture in the country’s official language wasn’t ideal. So they decided to take action.
In partnership with local communities and other churches, the church recruited volunteers and initiated translation work among four people groups: the Analamanga, Betsileo, Sihanaka and Tsimihety. More experienced Bible translation staff are also coming alongside the church to provide technical support.
The team plans to publish New Testaments in each of the four languages by 2024, providing the very first Scripture to approximately 7.2 million people in a language they can clearly understand.
As part of the project, another key goal is to train local translation consultants in order to build the capacity to meet Madagascar’s remaining Bible translation needs — approximately 25 languages.
- That the four-year New Testament projects remain on schedule.
- That the local consultants in training learn and gain valuable experience they can use to further the work of Bible translation across Madagascar.
- That the local church successfully builds the capacity to meet the remaining Bible translation needs.