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Oct 5, 2016

Victory for the Bwisi people's journey...

Written by Kenny G

image: The Bwisi people welcomed their New Testaments by carrying them in a special way.The Bwisi people welcomed their New Testaments by
carrying them in a special way.

"Since I started reading Scriptures in Bwisi, spiritual growth within me [makes me] feel like ministering every moment. This has led me to attend Bible study groups in my church, and has also improved my reading proficiency."
— Thomas, lay-leader at a Bwisi community church

 

The Bwisi people of Uganda have now dedicated the first complete New Testament ever written in their language. Praise God!

 

The printed scriptures arrived in a symbolic, meaningful way…

Bwisi women carried boxes of books slung in head scarves on their backs. “They carry their children, water, food, and firewood in the same way,” explained Waller Tabb, a Translation Consultant with SIL International (which has guided the Bwisi community’s language development project). “With this act,” he said, “the Bwisi people have declared three facts about these Scriptures: they are a product of the community, they are the fruit of much hard labour, and they are essential for Bwisi community life.”

As the morning sun warmed a field at Christ School Bundibugyo (the event host in Nyahuka town), a choir from the school welcomed hundreds of celebrants to the Bwisi New Testament celebration. The day also included singing by several more choirs, prayers and remarks from community and project leaders, and public readings from the newly printed mother-tongue Scriptures.

The first New Testaments began spreading through the crowd. People lifted their copies towards the sky with prayers of thanks and dedication. Organizers had plans for orderly distribution of the New Testaments, but the many Bwisi people who came were too excited to stand in a queue. Long before day's end, every copy delivered for the event had been claimed. Calls quickly went out asking that more be brought from a distant warehouse.

In the days following the big celebration, a local translation office was continually visited by Bwisi families and groups wanting their own New Testaments.

 

image: Bwisi people traveled from as far as the DRC to claim a New Tesament.Bwisi people traveled from as far as the
DRC to claim a New Tesament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Bwisi people have not given us a chance to rest!”
— Lydia Teera, External Relations Officer, SIL International, Uganda

“This community is hungry for their Scriptures,” Lydia continued. “Since launch of the Bwisi New Testament, people have crowded the office to buy copies. It is coming to evening, but the office is busy and crowded. Now I hear we have run out again, and are waiting for more to come from Kampala city. Some Bwisi traveled all the way from Congo [DRC] so they can buy one for themselves!”

About ten road kilometres — less than five “as the crow flies” — from Uganda's unrestful border with the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), Nyahuka town lies on fertile soil in a troubled land. Bundibugyo District was the epicenter of Ebola outbreaks in 2007 and 2012. Political and tribal clashes, which led to evacuation of the earliest translation consultants two decades ago, still flare up at times. In the aftermath of recent presidential elections, protesters attacked and burned down numerous houses, including the home of Conslanta, a member of the Bwisi literacy team.

Into this challenging life, a new light has dawned…

 
 
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