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Sep 30, 2019

"This is how we become salt and light"

Written by SIL Tanzania Communications

Testing translated Scripture in community has encouraging impact...


Yumbe, Northern Region, Uganda, June 2019 A team of translators has worked for years bringing Scripture into their Aringa language. One of numerous teams working in various languages as part of SIL Uganda, the Aringa team recently completed drafts of two Old Testament books, Joshua and Jonah. Before they can publish the text, it must pass several important checks.

They reviewed the work together as a team, and made a "back translation" into English to help spot areas for improved clarity. Next, they took their manuscript from village to village and asked the Aringa language community to help them test it. Response was encouraging...

ug_aringa_team Aringa translation team at their office in Yumbe, Uganda. From left:
Charles Achi, James Ezaruku, Barnabas Delu (team leader),
Gift Asiku, Charles Onduga, Alex Onzima, and Alex Angoli.
Photo: Andrew Angupale

One test group met in the home of a man called John. "John was once addicted to alcohol," said Barnabas Delu, the Aringa translation team leader. "But now he is not seen drunk, and his children enjoy having their father with them."

John gathered his family and nearby relatives. The book of Jonah was read aloud and people responded to questions asked by the translators.

"What if we get into trouble with God?" said Delu. "That was one of the questions we asked. This man John, he gave a good answer."

"All the people repented," John replied, "starting with their king. They pleaded with God, and God changed his mind and did not destroy them. And now we should repent of our sins, if we are to be saved."

"These days," said Delu, "John's family is determined to live peacefully. They have begun to pray and read the Scriptures together as a family."

Another community group tested the book of Joshua. One of the participants, named Joyce, is the head teacher of the local school. When the group read and discussed Joshua chapter seven (Achan's Sin), Joyce had much to share...

"Thank God for this life-transforming exercise," she said. "I have learnt that I should not love material things more than God. I have learnt that one person's sin can harm a whole family, community, and generation. This is an important lesson for me. I pray that God helps me not to be like Achan."

Joyce explained that her busy schedule as a head teacher made it difficult for her to find time to study God's Word. "Today I have seen how important it is," she added. "I will try to make time for studying Scripture more regularly."

As the discussion concluded, Joyce asked the translators to produce materials for Bible studies in the Aringa language. "This will increase our own understanding of God's Word," she told Charles Onduga, one of the Aringa translators "This is the only way the Church in Aringa can become salt and light to the world."

At this there was a big applause by the other participants. Still to come, the books of Jonah and Joshua in Aringa will be checked by a team of trained reviewers from the community, as well as qualified SIL Translation Advisors and Consultants. Careful checking will continue through typesetting and other steps, until finally the books are published in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the Aringa team came back to their Yumbe office challenged, and grateful that their work is already touching people's lives.

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