How Long Will They Wait?

By Rachel Greco

The soil of the hearts of the Zande people who live in the Pazande region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are ready to receive the seeds of God’s Word. But a few weeds block their path to receiving his truth.

These weeds come in the form of transportation trials. The translation team, which began translating last year, works out of the capital city of the Pazande region in Isiro. They transitioned to this city to evade armed groups living in the forest. Working from the city also makes the training they’ve planned for the first few years of the project easier and safer, since less travel will be necessary.

A road in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

However, travel to the surrounding villages is still essential, as the Zande translators must check their drafts of Scripture with villagers to make sure it’s accurate.

The Pazande region does not have easy access to other countries bordering the DRC, and the infrastructure—mainly roads—has degraded significantly in the past 60 or so years, making it very difficult to travel from one city to the next. What would have taken two hours when the roads were first made now takes nine hours!

Only a motorcycle could get through this road in DRC easily!

Public transportation is an option, but it’s expensive and unreliable. So, how do they get out to the villages?

The translators currently hire a motorcycle—the vehicle best suited to maneuvering around the plethora of potholes—to take them from Isiro out to their village. The team must hire the driver, pay for gas and any travel expenses, and try to cram the driver, translator, and all their materials onto the motorcycle and travel like that for hours. Unfortunately, due to the time and expense of all these challenges, the team is only able to visit the villages one to two times per year.

Translation team members sometimes travel via a hired motorcycle

This is why the translation team has asked JAARS for two motorcycles—enabling them to travel on their own schedule rather than the bus schedule. They’d also benefit from reduced costs and greater ease of transporting materials.

As the team translates, they are already experiencing the fruit of God’s transformative Word. After reading the translation of Genesis 37 to 50 in Pazande, Christine, a member of the editing team, decided to forgive her older brother who had pilfered the funds for a surgery she was to undergo. She also decided to forgive her family who had given her a self-deprecating name.

A translation team member reads through Scripture with some of the editors

Many more Zande are waiting to taste this same life-transforming food. One translation team member said, “[People] are waiting for the fruits of translation. Some have been asking over and over again, ‘Will we see the finished fruit of this work that has just begun? Perhaps it will be only for the generations to come.’”

Your gifts to our Land Transportation Solutions will help the Zande people taste the fruits of Bible translation sooner rather than later.