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Posts Tagged ‘Cameroon’

Oku Rich Fool Cover

A few days ago I blogged on the idea that Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Fool could be a good parable for Boxing day – see The Rich Fool:Jason Ramasami style

Today however, on the cusp of 2016, I think it’s a parable for any time of the year and for every culture. I want to illustrate it by showing you how the Oku Bible translation and literacy team from NW Cameroon  produced the parable in a booklet before they had completed the whole New Testament in Oku.

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’

14 Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ 15 Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’

16 And he told them this parable:

Oku Rich Fool 1

Oku Rich Fool 2

Oku Rich Fool 3

Oku Rich Fool 4

Oku Rich Fool 5

That’s it! The Parable of the Rich Fool that Jesus told to a first century Jewish audience in Palestine, probably in Aramaic – translated into Oku and graphically illustrated in the cultural style of 21st century rural NW Cameroon

I wonder how many Oku readers will see this post: if there are, I’d love to hear from you. For the anglophones, the parable is below in the NIV version of Luke’s Gospel.

Whether in Aramaic, Oku or English, Jesus’ message is the same: God must take first place in our lives.

‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.”18 ‘Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”

20 ‘But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”

21 ‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.’

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Oku couple, NW Cameroon, reading their newly published New Testament

Oku couple, NW Cameroon, reading their newly published New Testament

Often when I speak in churches, I encourage people to listen to the familiar Easter story as if for the first time. There are three reasons why I think this is a good thing. First, as Christians it is good to re-visit the reality that is the basis of our faith. Secondly, others may come to faith. And thirdly, it helps people appreciate what it means to literally hear the story for the first time!

So when my friend, Marlene Ferguson, recently wrote an article for her Ballyhenry Presbyterian Church website, I asked her permission to re-blog on John 20:21.

A woman from Burkina Faso, baby tied to her back, clutching the New Testament which she had just received in her Bissa Lebir language

 

Imagine that this year you hear the Easter story and truly understand it for the first time…

Jesus willingly allowed men to kill him in an extremely brutal way.  Why? Because he loved us.  He did it because we deserve a brutal punishment for selfishly sinning against God, but He wanted to save us from such punishment.  He did it because no-one else could have stood in the gap like that for us.  He also knew that only He could conquer the power of death and when he rose from the dead, death was conquered – once for all.

Jesus’ death and resurrection was a ‘once for all’ event.  Once only did he die; once, through which all men might receive salvation. After he rose, he asked the apostles to make disciples of all nations. He still asks that of us. Indeed, it is prophesied in the book of Revelation that there will be people from every nation, tribe and language worshipping the Lord in Heaven.  That’s all nations, all tribes and all languages represented before the throne of God, adoring him with one unending song of worship.

Unfortunately, there is much confusion among people who still don’t have access to God’s Word in their language.  A pastor of an Asian language group without God’s Word once asked “Is the resurrection for white people only?”  Of course not! The resurrection is for all people.  Wycliffe Bible Translators are working to ensure that all language communities receive this message in a language that they can understand and Ballyhenry is playing its part to support this goal. Through God’s power at work in us, people from all language communities will have the opportunity to respond to Jesus’ invitation to worship the Lamb in eternity.

There are 2,195 Bible translation projects currently underway around the world and it is thought that 1,860 are still in need of work to begin in their language!  Wycliffe Bible Translators supports Bible translation in order that all people will be able to hear the Easter message of salvation in a language that they can understand.

I’d encourage you to check out a short video on YouTube by one of our partners, the Seed Company, entitled ‘The Gamo see Jesus’ to be refreshed by the reactions of a group of Gamo people of Ethiopia as they watch the Jesus film (based on Luke’s Gospel) dubbed in their language for the first time.

This Easter imagine that you are one of those people who will finally hear the Easter message and understand it for the first time.

Thank you, Marlene!

 

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A few days ago I sent out our first newsletter using MailChimp. It included some stuff that I’ve blogged on before. Anyway here it is… If you wish to be added to the MailChimp list, please e-mail me.

One Sunday morning in March, I was speaking at Ardtrea and Desertcreat Church of Ireland churches in rural County Tyrone. On the wall of the vestry at Desertcreat is a list of vicars, rectors and curates dating back to 1440. Going back further, in the fifth century AD, Saint Patrick was travelling throughout Ireland and Christians were worshipping at Desertcreat back then. I was standing in a church with a lot of history.

Celebrating the New Testament in the Oku language of NW Cameroon

Celebrating the New Testament in the Oku language of NW Cameroon

I showed photos of the Oku New Testament dedication in NW Cameroon and thanked the churches for their faithful support for that project. I went on to introduce them to a new project translating God’s Word for 16 languages in a cluster of islands in Indonesia.

Later I wondered, could St Patrick himself have stood close to the spot where I was speaking..? Probably not! But it is exciting to be encouraging support for Bible translation in a context where God has been worshipped for sixteen centuries.

CogsIt makes me feel like a small cog in something so much bigger than I am… and that’s how I’ve been feeling recently. I’m like one of those cogs in this image, doing my bit in a much bigger picture.

After a lovely Easter week with Ruth in the Algarve far from the office and e-mail, my workload with the Wycliffe Church Engagement Team in Belfast has now dropped to two days a week in the office. My role is primarily relating to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, building contacts with individual congregations and ministers – and with people interested in serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Ruth and I are at that stage of life when my parents need more of our time and we are also keen to see as much as possible of our nine month old grand daughter Ellie who lives with Stephen and Rachel in Edinburgh. Now that Cathy also lives and works in Edinburgh, we can easily see them all in one trip.

"So, Ellie, that's what your dad looked like when he was about your age."

“So, Ellie, that’s what your dad looked like when he was about your age.”

We started with the long history of Christian worship in Ireland. As we finish, we want to thank you for your history of support and encouragement to us and for your involvement in the work of Bible translation.

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Je n'ai pas de chevre

“Je n’ai pas de chevre”

The book was sent by a friend and former member of Wycliffe Bible Translators from N. Ireland who spent some time working with Wycliffe Switzerland. Recently she has been in Switzerland at the 50th anniversary of Wycliffe Suisse.

The book contains 50 stories celebrating those 50 years written by Swiss members who have lived and worked in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Cameroon, the Gambia, Nepal, Cambodia, Chad, Togo, Benin, Papua New Guinea, Congo Brazzaville and Brazil.

wycliffe suisse card

Wycliffe Switzerland have produced cards like the one above. On the reverse side it says…

La Parole de Dieu est indispensible pour traverser le fleuve de la vie. Vraiment? Intéressé à d’autres cartes? fr.wycliffe.ch/cartes

Some of the story writers in the book are former colleagues from our time in Ivory Coast. It is a pleasure to celebrate with them!

And like them, I remember the 1,919 languages of the world still awaiting the indispensable Word of God.

wycliffe suisse_logo

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Speaking in Desertcreat Parish Church

Speaking in Desertcreat Parish Church Sunday 23 March 2014

I’ve been in Ardtrea and Desertcreat Parish churches several times before, but although I knew the churches had a long history I only found out how long when I checked their websites this morning.

First Ardtrea…

Ardtrea Parish Church

Ardtrea Parish Church

The name Ardtrea means ‘hill of Trea.’ Trea was a virgin saint who was converted to the Christian faith by Patrick in the fifth century. She was said to live as a recluse at Ardtrea Derry.

Our record of former ministers dates back as far as 1406 so like Desertcreat we are a church with a lot of history.

Pretty impressive!

Now Desertcreat…

Desertcreat parish Church

Desertcreat parish Church

On the wall of the vestry room at Desertcreat there is a list of Vicars, Rectors and Curates. The earliest entries date back to 1440 but Christians have been meeting to worship at Desertcreat for much longer than that. In the fifth century A.D Saint Patrick was travelling throughout Ireland. Christians were meeting to worship at Desertcreat during this period so it goes without saying that we are a church with a lot of history. The building we use at present is the fourth building on the site. The name Desertcreat means the hermitage or desert of the two territories.

I showed photos of the Oku New Testament dedication in NW Cameroon and thanked the two churches for their faithful support for that project. As I went on to introduce them to a new project translating God’s Word for 16 languages in a cluster of islands in Indonesia… I wonder, could St Patrick himself have stood on or close to the spot where I was speaking..?

Probably not! But it is exciting to be encouraging support for Bible translation for the remaining 1,919 languages with no Scripture, in a context where God has been worshipped for sixteen centuries.

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Oku NT

The New Testament in Our Mother Tongue

Part of poem written for the Oku Dedication by Peter Ngum Oku Project team leader

Aba! The story of Oku has changed!

That time of darkness and ignorance is passing away

Because a great light now lights the way

And the people’s hearts once darkened, now are brightened.

For the Jesus who was called a white man

Now speaks like an Oku man.

The God of heaven and earth has done it again

Our attitude to Scriptures was disdain

But now Scripture is gain.

No longer shall it be said of us,

“Their heroes are only witches and witch doctors;

Nothing good can come from their sectors”,

But Jesus would be our true doctor.

Now we rejoice with joy unspeakable

For God has multiplied our joy;

Again we rejoice with joy unspeakable;

As though we have caught a tiger with our hands.

Yes, we rejoice with joy unspeakable

With radiance of smiles as of the bright gentle waves of Lake Oku.

I visited the Oku people in NW Cameroon in 2003 and again in 2009. I kept an interest in Peter Ngum and his team working away over the years to translate the New Testament into their heart language, the work supported by churches in N. Ireland.

On 12 October this year, the Oku people dedicated the New Testament in their own heart language.

Celebrate with us  that the Oku people can rejoice this Christmas by reading about the birth of Jesus in their very own New Testament.

May we all experience the Christmas story with fresh eyes and ears.

With our love and prayers for a Joyful and Peaceful Christmas wherever you are!

See also here and here and here

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Celebrating the arrival of the Oku New Testament

Celebrating the arrival of the Oku New Testament

On 12 October 2013, many years of work on the Oku New Testament came to fruition when around 2000 people celebrated the dedication of God’s Word in the Oku language of NW Cameroon.

The Oku people who live in more than thirty villages are mainly subsistence farmers. Churches (Presbyterian, Baptist and Roman Catholic) have existed alongside traditional religion for many years – without God’s Word in their heart language. But as the opening words from the celebratory poem below declare: “The story of Oku has changed!”

The New Testament in Our Mother Tongue
Poem written for the Oku  Dedication by Peter Ngum, Oku Project Team Leader

Aba! The story of Oku has changed!
That time of darkness and ignorance is passing away
Because a great light now lights the way
And the people’s hearts once darkened, now are brightened.

For the Jesus who was called a white man
Now speaks like an Oku man.
The God of heaven and earth has done it again
Our attitude to Scriptures was disdain
But now Scripture is gain.

No longer shall it be said of us,
“Their heroes are only witches and witch doctors;
Nothing good can come from their sectors”,
But Jesus would be our true doctor.

Now we rejoice with joy unspeakable
For God has multiplied our joy;
Again we rejoice with joy unspeakable;
As though we have caught a tiger with our hands.
Yes, we rejoice with joy unspeakable
With radiance of smiles as of the bright gentle waves of Lake Oku.

For to us, the New Testament has been delivered,
To us, a permanent document has been given;
It shall be called the preserve of language;
The reservoir of truth
A compendium of the verdict that sets all men free
The pointer of wrong in our lives; and
The source of everything that is right.

And concerning the use of this book there shall be no end;
For it shall be used from generation to generation,
And God shall use it to bring people to his kingdom
Through its powerful message of the kingdom
And people from Oku shall enter the kingdom
Through Jesus Christ our saviour and King.  Amen.

Bob Duff, retired Wycliffe member, once coordinated support from N. Irish churches for the Oku project and others. His church, Greenwell Street Presbyterian Newtownards, was one of those churches. Bob and fellow elder Alan McCormick represented Wycliffe UK at the dedication ceremony.

“The Oku people had waited for this moment for over twenty years and many had paid in advance for their copy of the New Testament so eager were they to read ‘God’s Talk’ for themselves.  The experience of being present at this event prompted one to ponder at the value placed on God’s Word by people In Cameroon compared with the sometimes casual attitude we regard those same scriptures in Northern Ireland.
“Heavy rain fell during the final stages of the event and it is our earnest prayer that this deluge might symbolise the showers of blessing from God on the faithful use and understanding of the scriptures by the Oku people.” Bob Duff

Peter Ngum receives his Certificate of Appreciation for his work and leadership in the Oku Bible translation Project

Peter Ngum receives his Certificate of Appreciation for his work and leadership in the Oku Bible translation Project

Oku people receiving their New Testaments

Oku people receiving their New Testaments

Receiving and studying Oku New Testament

Receiving and studying Oku New Testament

Oku Bob 2If your church would like to hear more about the Oku story or how you might support another Wycliffe Bible Translators UK InFocus project like Oku, please check out InFocus

[Thanks to Bob and Alan for account and photos of the event]

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