Even More Mouthwatering

By Rachel Greco

In Africa, the cuisine covers everything from zesty chicken sprinkled with cashews and peanuts to grilled freshwater fish served alongside greens drenched in a peanut sauce. In Papua New Guinea, a special festive meal consists of sweet potatoes, pig, and vegetables roasted in the ground and hand-grown greens soaked in fresh coconut milk. However delectable these dishes seem, languages in Africa, Papua New Guinea, and elsewhere have tasted something even more mouthwatering this year—God’s Word in their language!

The procession exhibited some of the dedicated Scriptures celebrated

JAARS recently hosted a Scripture Celebration ceremony to recognize the completion and dedication of 20 Scripture projects for language groups located throughout the world. One of these languages, a language group in Papua New Guinea, has only 1,200 speakers. By comparison, a group in West Africa has about half a million. And yet, God cares about each person.

Together, these twenty languages reveal a huge commitment by believers around the world to faithfully trust God and serve his purpose despite challenging situations.

The Keliko in South Sudan found the secret of joy in difficult times in God’s Word. In 1985, Pastor David went to a conference in Juba, South Sudan. There, the clergy read or sang Scripture in their own language. But Pastor David couldn’t participate—God’s Word wasn’t available in Keliko. The language had never been written down.

Some African Scriptures dedicated at this year’s celebration

That moment brought David to tears and sparked a desire for his people to have God’s Word in their language. Despite civil unrest, hardships, sickness, displacement and opposition from neighboring people, the Keliko finished and dedicated their New Testament in 2018! And even though they are still displaced, due to generous gifts to JAARS from people like you, they now have the ability to learn to read their Scripture or watch the JESUS film via Scripture websites. Thank you!

Another Scripture celebrated at the JAARS event was the Kandas New Testament from Papua New Guinea. JAARS aided the main Kandas translators by providing them with water safety kits and training the pilots who transported translators to this remote people group.

“When I started to work with the Kandas translation team I didn’t have a strong faith in God,” Timothy, one of the local translators, remarked. “It’s just because of doing the translation work that my faith in God has become strong.”

As Timothy proofread the final copies before the dedication, John 6:67—where Jesus asks the disciples if they’re going to leave him—struck him. “That was a hard question,” Timothy reflected. “Peter answered with, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ It’s like Jesus is asking me this question. I have come to Jesus, and there’s no turning back now. He is the one who gives eternal life.”

The Ngombale people in Cameroon also celebrated the completion of the Word of Life in their language this year. This translation team has been aided by the training its IT team has received at yearly Africa IT Connect conferences conducted by JAARS. Thank you for your generosity in making those happen!

Worshiping in different languages at the JAARS Scripture celebration

One Scripture Engagement worker for the Ngombale project received a visit from Pa Rigobert three weeks after the dedication of the New Testament. Pa Rigobert wanted to buy five more New Testaments to give to family members. “I had been hearing the Word of God in French,” he told the Scripture Engagement worker, “but getting it in Ngombale is completely different. Now I am a different person as far as obeying God is concerned.”

Praise the Lord that these people can now taste for themselves how sweet God’s Word is (Psalm 119:103)!   

You can give people opportunities to devour God’s Word in their own language by making a gift here to our Media, Aviation, or Technology Solutions. Thank you!