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Nov 7, 2008

Same burden, new desire

Written by Alison C.
jita-trip Teaching in a Literacy class.

I love teaching linguistic principles and seeing the joy on the Tanzanians' faces when they realize their languages are real languages, languages that have beautiful structure and complexities; I love answering their questions; I love seeing their excitement and hunger for the Word; I love visiting them in their homes and in their churches; and I love learning from them and all that they have to teach me about life and faith and community.

Of all the various tasks needed to make Scripture available to people in a way they can understand, literacy has perhaps the most people-oriented focus. It's where linguistics and local people meet. It seems the perfect "fit" for me to stand in this gap and train the peoples of northern Tanzania how to read and write their languages.

It is this burden and this gifting, then, that has led me to accept my new assignment: to enter into the work of literacy so that the people may encounter for themselves the great God who speaks their language!

I did not understand until coming here and seeing with my own eyes the great need for literacy. Earlier this year, I sat in the home of a pastor from the Kuria tribe. He had possessed the New Testament in his language for years, but the precious words inside were "locked" because he did not understand how to read his language. He shared this testimony:

"I was trying to read the Kuria New Testament like I read Swahili. I was unable to read the Scriptures at all. But now that I've been taught how to read the Kuria writing system, I can understand it completely! Now I can read God's Word in my language!"

There are countless others just like him. How can they understand without someone to explain it to them?

alison_video_2 Play Jita workshop-Tanzania video.

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