I never thought I could write a blog combining my trip to the Kouya New Testament dedication with the Belfast celebrations of the Titanic until…
The Titanic leaves Belfast
A colleague recently used this analogy about passenger classes in a letter.
Who’d be a third-class passenger on The Titanic? When the ship sank on 14th April 1912, only 24% of third-class passengers survived; compared with 42% of second-class passengers and 61% of first-class.
In God’s reckoning, there’s no such thing as first- or second-class, according to status or financial clout. So, for example, in Luke 5, Jesus deals kindly in turn with Peter (a fisherman, probably not wealthy or well-qualified), an unnamed leper (contagious and outcast), an unnamed paralyzed man (lowered through the roof by four friends) and Levi (a tax collector,
wealthy but probably dishonest and despised by others). But there ARE two classes of people: those who know they are sinners and need to repent, and act accordingly; and those who don’t (Luke 5:32).
Minority people often have a rough time in the class-stakes.
My colleague went on to tell a story of the minority people group that he and his wife work with, while I was reminded of my recent trip to the dedication of the Kouya New Testament in Ivory Coast.
The Kouyas are a small people group by world population standards… not many more than 15,000 in number. Sue Arthur told a story in her dedication speech about what Kouyas said to them back when she and Eddie first arrived to work in the Kouya project:
Several people told us that Kouya was not a real language like French! But Kouya certainly is a real language which can be written like any other language: it has its own grammar, it has its unique way of expressing things. It is a very rich language! And since 2002, Kouya is numbered among the languages in which the Word of God has been translated!
You could say that the Kouyas are not so numerous, that you are not a big ethnic group. However you are very important in the eyes of God and now you can hear his voice in your own language – in Kouya, the language of your hearts! (my translation from Sue’s French)
Part of the crowd at the Kouya dedication
It was so encouraging to see how the Kouya church has grown from the handful of Christians in the early 1980s. To see a multi-generational crowd of around 500 people at the dedication event. To know that Kouya men associated with the translation project are holding responsible positions in Christian organisations in Ivory Coast. To be with Kouya friends as they celebrated their first class status in God’s Kingdom!
And to return to my opening image, to see that the Titanic is being celebrated this year in the Kouya village of Déma – as well as in Belfast!
Maquis Le Titanic in Dema village, Ivory Coast
Read Full Post »