In the Sangu area there are many people of other religions and not many Christians. So when the Sangu translation team held a reviewers’ meeting, they were joined by a person of another religion. He was a very old and respected man. Later the team received a message that this Mzee (that’s what they call an old respected man) had passed away. The team has worked with this Mzee for many years, and we thought it would be good for community relationships to have the team attend the funeral.
So they went — and the people were very surprised that these Christians came as well. The team explained their working relationship with the Mzee, and they were even given time to say a few words. They didn’t know that BBC Swahili was also there, because this Mzee was well known and respected all over Tanzania.
The people were very surprised to hear that this respected man was involved in Bible Translation. The team explained that he was “just a reviewer” and was only checking if the Sangu language was natural and clear. That calmed them down.
Soon the team got responses from different countries all over the world — Kenya, UK, Germany — from Sangu people who live there and heard the BBC broadcast. They were very surprised to hear that people are translating Scripture in Sangu. Two of them sent relatives who still lived in the Sangu area with a camera to take pictures of the translation so they could see it with their own eyes.
Now these people, who live in Europe and Kenya, plan to come soon to talk with the Sangu team. This story shows the impact of choosing a person from another religion as a reviewer and attending a funeral. These occasions have given the team a boost. But also it has caused the news to spread to the Sangu people that they are close to getting the New Testament in their own language.
Contributed by Albert V., Translation Advisor to the Sangu Project