I felt devastated. A missions project that John and I had funded for about five years was recently pulled due to lack of progress. I tremble to realize that one day I will stand before God and confess that although we had funded it, I hadn't covered it in prayer.
So John and I have committed anew to pray more specifically, deliberately, and fervently for the various projects we support. And guess which one came up on our list recently: The Meetto Bible Translation project! Fortunately, the Meetto project is still moving ahead, but they definitely need our prayers – John's, mine, and yours.
If you recall, back in 2009, Sonlighters around the world teamed up to fund an accelerated translation of the New Testament for the Meetto People of Mozambique. We partnered with The Seed Company, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators that works with indigenous translators to speed up the process and get quality translations to bibleless people groups faster.
Since Sonlighters funded this project, it has progressed from only four books translated in 2009 to much of the New Testament and some of the Old Testament translated today, with plans to finish the New Testament by 2016!
How neat to be part of bringing God's word to a people who lacked it.
Original Goal: Translate the New Testament into the Meetto language
Location: Mozambique, Africa
Number of Speakers: 1,200,000
Year Project Began: 2009
Expected Completion Date: 2016
Funded by: Sonlighters like you!
Learn more here.
The team has drafted three-fourths of the New Testament (20 books). Some books are nearly finished.
They will then be carefully checked in several specific ways. Read about the six steps of translation here.
The team recently distributed booklets of Scripture for community testing. The Seed Company reports, "Several denominations and mission organizations [are using] the books of Luke and Acts, the Bible stories book, the lectionary and other translated Scripture portions in their newly planted churches." Good news indeed!
Churches starting to use the Meetto language
I was shocked to learn that churches in the area have traditionally held their services in Portuguese. It's the official language of Mozambique and is considered more prestigious than the heart language of the Meetto people. Can you imagine using one language in your everyday life, and then another less-familiar language at church?
But what an awesome blessing that churches are now using the available portions of Scripture in Meetto. People are now hearing Scripture in their own heart language! Churches are even starting to use Meetto in their regular services. The Meetto people are finding the dignity that comes with knowing God speaks their language.
The stigma against speaking Meetto is melting away in other sectors, too. People used to feel shame in speaking Meetto publicly. But The Seed Company reports that because of the influence of the translation project, "Today, advertisements and public announcements on health and AIDS in the hospitals and in the marketplace are written in Meetto."
God Uses Scripture to Change Lives
As churches across the region start using Scripture in Meetto, God continues to move.
One woman, Ancha, listened to a pastor teach from the book of Acts in Meetto. Ancha served an evil spirit and would perform healings and cast spells to earn money. The evil spirit would often fill her with anger. But the pastor led Ancha to Jesus that day.
How did she respond? In a huge step of faith, she brought all her evil accessories to the pastor and they burned them. Free from the power of the evil spirit, but without her former source of income, Ancha is trusting Jesus as he leads her into a new life.
Ancha's story is just one of many of how God is working.
Serious Prayer Concerns
Though the work continues on, the translation team desperately needs more workers. Two of the three primary translators have moved on to other projects, at least for now. The lone remaining translator and his assistants are praying earnestly for God to send more help.
- Please pray for God to provide more primary translators, someone who can do back translation, and translation consultants.
- Pray for a solution to battery power for the computers, as the solar batteries keep losing power.
- Pray that churches will eagerly use the preliminary copies of God's Word and offer helpful feedback to improve the translation.
- Pray for unity among denominations, as churches from various Christian traditions work together to encourage the use of the Meetto Scripture and language in church services.
And of course ... pray that God will see this work through to completion!
If you participated in the The Seed Company project in 2009, thank you! If you want more information about getting involved with Bible translation, visit www.oneverse.com. You can also head to the Meetto Project page to read updates in the future.
Let's not forget about this strategic project. I have recommitted to pray for God to bless this project and use it for His glory. Please spend time praying for this project today.