Bless All Nations

By Rachel Greco

The Cikish* language in western Africa had been dormant, though not dead, for a long time. In March 2020, the Cikish community and the neighboring Fatina* people participated in a series of shorter oral Bible Storytelling workshops. They crafted stories from Scripture and used them for evangelism, discipleship, preaching, and teaching.  

Some members of the Cikish team record Scripture

This interaction with God’s Word through oral stories awakened the Cikish community’s interest in using their language. Thanks to the way Oral Bible Translation (OBT) awakened their previously dormant language, they, along with the Fatina, were identified by a local Bible translation organization and invited to start OBT projects so both the Cikish and the Fatina could get Scripture in their language. 

Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH) worked with the organization and the community to send trainers to the country for a three-week workshop in the summer of 2021 that equipped the advisors, translation consultants, and translators for their project.

The team leaders dressed in native clothes

As always, I’m amazed at the God of creation, who has allowed me to see his hand at work among the nations and to have the greatest blessing on earth—to see those who are blessed through the faith that Abraham had, which was promised would bless all nations,” Neal*, one of the FCBH trainers, said after the workshop. 

What’s even more incredible is how dedicated the Cikish and Fatina people are amid great trials. Both language groups face intense persecution from a major world religion. Every day, they live with the threat of violence. Beatrice*, one of the workshop interpreters, shared that Christians in her village had been attacked. When the persecutors came, the women spread their arms wide like Jesus on the cross and shouted, “Shoot us; we are ready to die!” The persecutors did nothing; they left. “They could not hurt us,” Beatrice said. “We are strong in our faith. We trusted God for his hand of protection.”

The translation advisors chosen to be part of the project show this same kind of bravery and stamina for the Lord. They’re mostly younger than 35 and long to serve God by seeing his Word come alive in the languages of their people. Their hearts beat with this desire so much that they chose to study careers in linguistics even with no sure road to employment ahead. “They did it because of the need, and out of faith that God will provide for them,” Neal said. 

At the workshop, the two language teams came together to learn concepts and then split up for drafting and peer review of the Scripture passages. Both teams used headsets and touchscreen computers provided by people like you who gave to JAARS Technology Solutions. Thank you! 

Luis*, the lead trainer for the Cikish language group, said, “[The teams] in each language were thrilled to use touchscreens!” These screens enabled the teams to learn the concepts of OBT more easily and efficiently. 

Please join us in praying that God would use this orally-translated Scripture to bless all the nations of western Africa.

*Name changed for security reasons