The Word of God in their language cannot come soon enough for the Budu people. Living deep in the forests of the Wamba district in the eastern province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Budu people number around 180,000. Eighty percent of the population profess Christianity, and traditional religions are almost non-existent.
For both dialects of Budu — Nita and Koya — translation work on the New Testament is close to completion. To help prepare the people to access God’s Word for themselves, literacy teams have organized literacy sessions throughout the area, and hundreds of Budu people are learning to read.
During a community testing of translated Scripture done in one community parish, one lady said, “We had never so deeply understood the Word of God like we just did when it was read in our mother tongue.” The need to read as well as listen to the Good News in the local language is huge among the Budu people, even those displaced from their homelands.
The Budu-Nita team has only two books left to translate; the Budu-Koya team has five books remaining for translation. Both teams have expressed joy in seeing their communities use all of the dedicated Scripture to date: Genesis and Luke for the Nita; and John, 1-2 Corinthians, James and Revelation for the Koya.
Recently the Budu translation team attended the funeral of a chief who had been greatly involved in the Budu translation activities. People attending the service mourned greatly, throwing themselves on the ground and crying out words that expressed grief. Words of comfort from the local authorities and some family members had no impact on the people.
The translation team suggested that communication be done in the local Budu language by a high church official. As the mass began, people were more attentive and most had stopped crying. In the Budu cultures, this was a sign of a spirit of consolation and calmness. People responded to the message by saying “hmmmm,” an expression that shows approval.