You may or may not know that last week UNESCO held their annual Mother Tongue Language day. For most people the day passes every year mostly unnoticed and this year was probably no exception, at least for most of you. Our ministry is all about helping to get Bible into those mother tongues. I may seem simple or even unnecessary; we are sometimes asked why can’t they just use the English Bible? The speak English in Nigeria right? For some people that might be true but to be honest for the vast majority of people here, a Bible in English is completely unintelligible. A Mother tongue language is the language that used at home from birth, it is the language that a person understands best of all, the language they think in, process in, pray in, some might say dream in.
Nelson Mandela said “if I read in my mother tongue language, then I know exactly what the Bible means” so simple but so poignant.
Ali shared this story in our email update a couple weeks ago.
I recently heard of some translators from a Nigerian language group who were working on a translation of some portions of the gospels into their own language. They were blown away when they finally understood that Jesus had died for THEIR sins; they had always thought that he had died for his own sins.
A subtle miss-understanding but rather fundamental to understanding the Christian faith! Something we probably take for granted when working with other Christians but in this case it was all because they had never before had it in their own mother tongue language. That is EXACTLY why we are involved in Bible Translation ministry.
A local Nigerian paper just featured an article all about Nigerian languages, it speaks very highly of the ministry we are involved in – it is quiet long, but an interesting read.