The Word of God is going out in six language communities in the Mbeya region of Tanzania! Sixteen years ago, translation work began in a group of neighboring languages in this region, forming the Mbeya Cluster project. This project allowed different language teams to work closely together, helping each other overcome challenges and sharing biblical key terms. Now, five languages are close to finishing their New Testaments, and the sixth language dedicated their completed New Testament!
One language in the Mbeya Cluster is the Nyakyusa. The Nyakyusa New Testament officially launched with a dedication in May 2019. The people have received their printed New Testaments! On his way to a translation team meeting, senior translator Andrew Mwamatandala carried a copy. “I saw a teenager passing and asked him to read [the New Testament] for me,” Andrew said. “He did, and then he laughed and said, ‘I can read it! Before, I could not, but this writing is very nice.’”
The Kinga New Testament has been reviewed and printed. And the Malila translation team is not far behind them! “They just completed a draft of the typesetting of their New Testament and will read through it with their reviewers soon,” said Ahimidiwe Mahali, translation coordinator for the Mbeya Cluster.
The Vwanji translators, who work in the same office as the Malila translation team, are finishing a second typeset draft of their New Testament. And the Sangu team is working with a translation consultant on final checks, with linguistic checks to follow.
The Ndali team is also approaching the finish line! “While they meet with the language committee and prepare for linguistic checks, they have even had a read-through [of the New Testament],” Ahimidiwe said. Two pastors from the Ndali community and 12 local reviewers participated in the read-through. For 15 days they took turns reading and discussing the text.
“We even met on Saturdays to be sure we covered everything,” said one of the Ndali translators. One pastor told the team he was going to use the draft copies of the Scriptures immediately. “Because we have these copies,” he said, “I am going to use them for teaching and preaching right now.”
In addition to printed books, all six New Testaments in the Mbeya Cluster will be published in audio and digital form. And soon, these six language communities will have Scripture in a language and form they can clearly understand!
We’re grateful for all who partnered with the Kinga people during #GivingTuesday on December 3. Together we provided 4,077 copies of the Kinga New Testament — that’s 77 copies more than our goal!
What a special day of working together as a community to provide God’s Word. And what a special day it will be for each Kinga person who receives a New Testament in their own language!