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Sep 16, 2013

Bible Translation as Evangelism

Ikizu transition literacy workshop Ikizu transition literacy workshop
(Mara Cluster - Tanzania)

The work of Bible translation is usually thought of as supporting an existing church, or building a foundation for a future church among the people of that language.  However, it can be evangelistic as well.

The Ikizu people are a mix of followers of traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam.  When the Ikizu Bible translators spend time in villages to promote the work of translation and read drafted chapters aloud, usually it's a predominately Christian group which gathers round to listen and provide feedback.  However, in the village of Salama A, there is a Muslim man who enjoys hearing people read his language and has attended a few public readings.

One night the translators spoke on a local radio station about the translation project and announced that they'd be holding a literacy session at a local church a few days later.  When they arrived at the church to conduct the reading lesson that day, the Muslim man whom they'd met on other trips was there, eager to learn how to read in Ikizu.  He might not be passionate about Bible translation, but he's keen on his language being written, and therefore preserved, for future generations of Ikizu.  Nobody other than the Bible translators are working on this, so he's an accidental fan of their work.  Since the only available reading material in Ikizu is Scripture or other Scripture-related materials, if he wants to practice his new reading skills, it's going to be the Word of God.

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