Immeasurable Treasure

By Rachel Greco

Among the sweltering heat and migrating antelope in South Sudan, Tanya promotes Bible translation via education and literacy amidst ten different language groups. One of the language groups, the Keliko, celebrated the completion of its New Testament on August 11.

Merely 27 percent of the population of this country over the age of 15 can read. So how are these language groups supposed to interact with the Bible—God’s love letter to all nations—if they can’t read it?

In January, Tanya attended a workshop arranged by a partner organization of JAARS that supports website development and app building in over 50 countries worldwide. Workshops like this provide opportunities for language communities to build websites in their own languages.

Twelve participants in the workshop in Kenya worked on building websites that will make Scripture, literacy and community development information accessible to people in their language communities.

These websites cause the Scriptures and videos like the JESUS film to be available to a language community all in one online space. Some of the language communities Tanya and her team collaborate with have already begun creating websites to provide the Scriptures and the JESUS film to their people. Now, the time had arrived to add some literacy materials to these existing sites so the South Sudanese can learn to read the Scriptures in their own language.

During the ten-day workshop, Tanya learned how to add literacy materials onto three websites for the Keliko, Baka, and Didinga people. She uploaded resources such as ABC charts, books, primers, and a few easy-to-read stories. Her team has plans to continue working on more websites in the near future.

“I know the internet isn’t exactly ‘new technology,’” Tanya admits, “but it is great to work with partner organizations that can help us make some shifts into the 21st century! Because many of the people who speak these languages are displaced in various countries these days, this is an especially important time to ensure they can access their language materials in many different ways.”

The Keliko and other language groups utilize these websites to download mother-tongue Scripture, download the JESUS film to watch and share, and access dictionaries and grammar books.

“At the end of the workshop,” Tanya relates, “all of the participants were able to share with each other the websites that we had been working on. It was amazing to see how different and creative they all were.”

Join us in praying that God will draw the many South Sudanese people sprinkled throughout the world to himself via these websites, and that they will store his Word in their hearts and minds like immeasurable treasure.