Since we started translating Luke into the Bende language, certain key terms have given us a great challenge. In our search for a Bende word for angel, the team had to do plenty of research!
We started with the word musambwa. On a recent community testing trip, however, some people raised doubts, suggesting that this may be too general a word. It means 'a good spirit.'
So we got a couple more suggestions...
Malesi are 'spirit beings,' something like guardian angels for raising children. Mamisagha is another very general word for all types of spirits. We all agreed that none of these was appropriate.
In the end, we found that there is no 'perfect' word. The best thing to do, we decided, was to use a phrase 'musambwa ghweke Kabhumba' to specify that this was an 'angel of God.'