Connected by One Desire

By Rachel Greco

Across two continents and three cities, one desire connected seven people: to build websites that share God’s Word in the languages people in the Republic of the Congo understand best. 

Not even COVID-19 could stop the creation of websites for sharing the translated Word of God with local people. Last autumn, Dan, a trainer from the Scripture website partner JAARS supports, ran a Zoom website-building workshop from Germany for three different teams in Africa. 

Dan teaching the participants via Zoom, all the way from Germany!

Four participants worked from the SIL* Brazzaville office in the Congo and two worked from Pointe-Noire on the coast of the Congo. A two-person team in Brazzaville developed a website for SIL Congo. They want to use this website to inform the people in the Congo of the Bible translation work the teams are doing and provide them with available publications. 

Dan working through course material, the how-tos of building websites, with workshop participants

Thaliane, an IT technician in the Brazzaville office, helped with the SIL Congo website. “I was fascinated to understand how to create simple sites without going through complicated programming,” Thaliane says. He was thankful that Zoom made it possible to host the remote workshop—the first of its kind in Brazzaville.  

A page from the SIL Congo website

The other Brazzaville team developed a website to support and display portions of the Yaka translation project which is translating Scripture into Iyaka. The Yaka team has recently completed the translation of three books of the New Testament and has been mobilizing the community to be involved.  

The two team members in Pointe-Noire were from the more-advanced Kituba translation project. They already have a New Testament and are currently translating the Old Testament. They wanted to make this Scripture available to the wider public, and one of the best ways to do that is via a website. 

Kituba website

Due to working from two different continents, unique challenges arose for the seven participants. Although Dan has done in-person workshops before, this was the first time he had taught an online one. Not being present with the participants was a little tricky because he couldn’t walk around and see what people were working on.

Thaliane’s help was invaluable, both before and during the workshop. He helped Dan with many technical details beforehand, such as making sure the equipment the teams had would enable them to do the work required of them. During the workshop, he led some of the hands-on sessions and helped the participants understand certain technical terms and use tools since none of them had built websites before. “While Dan was doing the demonstrations,” Thaliane explains, “I had to help participants who had difficulty following what the trainer was teaching.” 

A few times the group in Brazzaville was confronted with internet connection problems. At one point they had a power outage and had to start their generator before continuing. 

Workshop participants in Brazzaville enjoying a break. Building websites works up an appetite!

Otherwise, God enabled the workshop to run smoothly, and all three teams created websites. The teams have yet to finalize and publish their websites, but, according to Dan, “They’ve all made a lot of progress.”

Praise God for bringing these three teams and Dan together to ensure people in Congo have access to God’s Word in the language they understand best! “The workshop was very important for us,” Thaliane says. “With the websites, we have effective tools to promote what we do. We want people to be informed about what is being done in our different languages.”

Please pray that the SIL Congo, Yaka, and Kituba teams will publish their websites as soon as possible and God will use sites to draw many people to himself.