The Best Way to Spend His Final Years

By Rachel Greco

At age 81, Reverend Bansah had a reason to celebrate: After working with other Bible translators to produce the New Testament in their language Nyagbo, it was complete! Reverend Bansah had willingly accepted the call to serve as one of the translators of Nyagbo after retiring as a teacher and a minister of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

Nyagbo was one of three languages chosen for a new initiative in Ghana, Africa, begun by GILLBT*. About seven years ago, GILLBT decided to try a new Bible translation method. Instead of supporting a foreign mission worker to initiate and sustain one lifelong project, as was the tradition, it decided to launch the Cluster Project Bible translation method.

With this innovative approach, GILLBT identified languages that were similar and geographically close to one another: the Nyagbo, Logba, and Tafi languages. The organization promoted community ownership, including recruiting and training local people to become translators, and it raised financial resources locally to support each project. It assigned a translation consultant to provide technical support to the translation teams, and it appointed a project manager to supervise and coordinate them.

A man with his newly acquired New Testament.

On February 25, 27, and 28, the Nyagbo, Logba, and Tafi people celebrated the dedication of their New Testaments! All three dedications were broadcast live, and at each one, the chiefs, clergy and native speakers, both those living in Ghana and abroad, were excited to finally hear God speak to them in their main language.

The chiefs and elders of the languages were instrumental in the translation process.

After hoping and waiting for many years, Reverend Bansah could finally see the fruition of his work. Our partner GILLBT said of him, “The threat of ill health and fatigue that accompanied old age paled in comparison to the joy of reading the Bible in [Rev. Bansah’s] mother tongue and most importantly, making it available to his language group.” While beaming with joy, Bansah said that it would have been better to die while bringing God’s Word to his people than while doing anything else.

GILLBT envisions replicating the cluster project model in other communities to expedite the translation of the Old Testament into all the languages that have only the New Testament.

People like you giving to JAARS Technology Solutions helped enable the completion of these New Testaments. With these funds, JAARS has been able to provide IT training, consulting and network project help, plus refurbished laptops, to the GILLBT center, where the translation work occurs.

GILLBT IT staff member Stephen Ayuuni speaking at the conference

In April, Stephen Ayuuni and Richmond Barnes, IT staff members at GILLBT, attended Africa IT Connect in Kenya, which was funded by JAARS and put on by our partner SIL. They and other IT personnel learned technological skills to aid them in serving translation teams.

GILLBT IT staff member Richmond Barnes (far left) ponders application of content at the IT Connect conference.

“God’s Word is reaching many more people in their heart language daily,” our GILLBT partner said. “Thanks to your partnership and GILLBT’s translation innovations, including the Cluster Project model approach, we are maximizing resources to complete translations faster without compromising on quality.”

You can speed up the work of Bible translation by giving to JAARS Technology Solutions. Thank you!

*Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation