Launch day (dedication day) dawned for the Gwere New Testament. Buses arrived, bringing church choirs and school groups. In the middle of the grounds, an elderly man with a pair of crutches sat on the back of a motorbike taxi.
The launch team recognized him from photos of a thanksgiving service, when people had gathered to praise God for the safe arrival of the New Testaments. He had expressed determination to march into church with the procession holding a copy of the Scriptures, even on his crutches. He even danced with his crutches during that service. A team member went up and spoke to him.
“His name was Victor,” she said. “I noticed his shirt bore the logo for the “JESUS” film. I commented on this and asked if his was one of the voices for the Gwere language sound track. ‘Yes! I was the angel Gabriel,’ he told me proudly. Later on, during the launch, we all listened as he read the Gwere Scriptures, from Revelation 3:20–22.”
Gradually, people arrived and took their seats. While the tents filled up, the president of Uganda arrived and was taken to unveil a special monument. The plaque on the base of the monument had been engraved with words from the Old Testament book of Joshua:
Before arriving at the venue, President Museveni had also planted a mango tree seedling in the proposed “Bible Garden.” This garden symbolizes the desire of the team that God’s Word be planted in people’s hearts and bear fruit in their lives. It will be a reminder to future generations of the coming of God’s Word to the Gwere people in their own language.
The estimated 20,000 people that attended the launch heard speeches from President Museveni and local leaders. The president congratulated the Gwere people on the launch of their New Testament. He challenged cultural institutions to encourage children to learn to read and write in Gwere. He then gave a donation (and pledged further gifts) toward continuation of the Gwere Bible translation work.
A local church leader spoke about God’s Word being needed in every community. He called for unity among local leaders, and encouraged them to mobilize resources for the completion of the Gwere Old Testament, which has already begun.