The Right Decision

By Rachel Greco

Imagine having to wake up at 3 in the morning several days in a row to communicate with a translation team in Africa who are six hours ahead. This was the reality for Judith Ashby, the JAARS land transportation logistics coordinator, when she was arranging the delivery of a new vehicle and five motorcycles to a Bible translation organization in the city of Isiro in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

This translation organization, CITBA*, manages about 10 Bible translation projects. Its objective is to complete and publish the New Testament translation in these languages by 2023. To do this, the translation teams need to travel from Isiro to areas anywhere from 24 to 479 miles away to conduct literacy and writing workshops and test their translations. This means a lot of traveling over hazardous roads! 

Thanks to people like you giving to Land Transportation Solutions, we were able to provide this organization with the vehicle and motorcycles they need to do this eternal work. But then came another challenge—getting the vehicle to CITBA. 

Dedicating the recently arrived motorcycles.

It took the motorcycle supplier almost five months to source them from neighboring countries due to COVID-19 related obstacles. However the vehicle, which was imported from Germany, was a different matter altogether! 

Once the vehicle arrived from Germany by ship at Mombasa’s port in Kenya, it had to be transported by land through Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC to the town of Beni for customs. 

A member of the management team with the new vehicle after it finally arrived.

The area surrounding Beni had been turbulent this year with civil unrest. Leading up to the trip, Judith had constantly monitored the African news to determine the safest route from Beni to Isiro, so she could communicate it to CITBA’s management team in their regular early morning or late night conversations. 

Judith and the management team had originally planned that the team would drive the new vehicle from Beni straight north to Isiro. But with all the civil unrest in the region, this didn’t seem wise. During the days leading up to the team’s trip from Beni, Judith woke up one morning and felt the Holy Spirit say, “Do not stay on the DRC side.”

She sat up straight and wondered what they’d do instead. The Spirit put it in her mind that the team should drive through the mountains of Uganda instead of through the DRC. “It was longer, but it was safer,” Judith said. 

The route taken by team members who drove the vehicle to Isiro, DRC.

So after the vehicle got through customs in Beni, Judith had the team head to the Uganda-DRC border at Kasindi, then drive around Lake Albert in Uganda to Arua, where the team crossed the border again into the DRC and drove west to Isiro. 

Upon arrival at Isiro, the team learned that there had been an ambush around the Beni area, with 16 cars torched and many people kidnapped, injured or killed. “And so, with hindsight and God’s grace, we made the right decision,” Judith said.  

The motorcycles were also delivered that week—more cause for celebration! Members of the Bible translation team, representatives of the supporting churches and other community stakeholders dedicated the vehicle and the five motorcycles.  

Another translation team in the DRC, the Yaka team, which works out of the western part of the country near Kinshasa, has also received a vehicle and two motorcycles. They, too, are ready to put them to use in spreading God’s Word to their people. 

Several translation teams in Africa are still waiting for vehicles and motorcycles so they can complete the necessary steps to keep progressing in their work on their New Testaments. 

Please consider giving to JAARS Land Transportation Solutions to provide the necessary, safe transportation teams need to continue the work of Bible translation. 

* Centre Interconfessionnel de Traduction de la Bible D’alphabetisation Region d’Isiro