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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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