The Bible In Kiitharaka Language
The joy of receiving the Bible in Kiitharaka language could not be hidden on the faces of the Tharaka people. The long wait of 30 years was finally over; they had been patient, weathering through orthography issues, harsh weather, limited access to holistic understanding of the scriptures but on 13th June 2019, nothing could keep them back.
"..And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
Romans 10:15 (KJV)
Did you carry the Pokomo New Testament?
Shedrack Falama is not just a translator. He wears shoes of different needs of the Pokomo community he translates the Scriptures for. In his community, he is not Shedrack Falama but BTL. At one time, he was invited to speak at a funeral in a neighboring village, “I shared of our Bible Translation progress of the Pokomo Old Testament. This is what the people expect of my colleagues and I to tell them in every event they invite us to.”
As he made his way back to his seat, a Giryama pastor approached him inquiring if he had carried a copy of their Pokomo New Testament. “I had carried neither a hymn book nor a New Testament, I never imagined of anyone in need of it and especially in a Giryama populated area.” As he conversed with the pastor, someone who had sat close to them overheard the pastor’s question. “He too stood to join in our conversation with the pastor. He also expressed interest of a copy. I was overwhelmed.”
Shedrack Falama’s office was 10KM away from the burial venue; he decided to go for the two Bibles. “I rode my motorbike to our office. When I got back, on the mourners seeing me hand over the copies to the two fellows, more than 10 others came forward expressing needs for their own copies.”
“My Bibleless hands did not worry of what they were going to give to the brethren that stood before me; instead, my heart rejoiced for what the Lord was doing in the lives of His people. I saw a thirst for God’s Word in a way that I could not understand.” Since Falama could ride back to his office, he promised the growing number to carry enough copies for them as soon as he could.
*Pokomo New Testament was dedicated in 2005. Translation for the Old Testament is at its final stages and we are hopeful that in the next 2 years, Pokomo full Bible will be launched and dedicated. Pray for the remaining process of the translation to proceed well.
The camel returned the Book it had ‘eaten’
The Rendille community has always believed that the ‘Bible’ meant for them had been eaten by a camel. This is the reason why they have not had access to the Scriptures in their heart language for a very long time. On 18th August 2018, this narrative changed as they hosted a multitude of guests from Kenya and beyond to witness the ‘Bible’s’ return by their treasured animal, the camel.
I graduated with Jesus and not a goat
Nareio is a lovely Rendille Woman. She feels good when she is asked how she came to know about Christ. “I was looking after the goats when I heard of Rendille classes that were to begin soon in my vicinity. I registered for the classes because I was promised a goat upon graduating from the class. That was my motivation; to graduate with a goat,” She says.
The old men helped!
Atonement! What is the right word for it in Pokomo? Sacrifice? No. Reconciliation? How? I racked my hairless head, and got nothing. I asked my colleague Vincent, he too saw blank. Now what? I called a few old men who always bailed me out whenever I was hemmed in by bonds of limited language and asked them to give me an equivalent word for atonement. They too did not know! I asked myself, “Why call themselves old men, if they did not know something as simple as atonement?”
Please let Jesus continue to talk
One day I was traveling by bus to Chuka, a town in my own language area. That morning I had just set Luke Chapter 4 of the audio New Testament as the ring tone for my phone. Somebody rang me, and so people heard Luke 4 being recited in my language. It took me time to realize that it was my phone that was ringing. It had, however, drawn the attention of a number of the passengers who sat close to me. Unknown to me there were people listening to the Bible portion very keenly, and when I answered the phone I interrupted them.
As I was putting the phone back into my pocket, a man patted me on the shoulder and said, “So the Bible is in your phone? Please allow Jesus to continue talking. Let us listen.” It happened that he was not the only one: the passengers told the driver to turn off the radio and told me to turn up the volume of my phone. Unfortunately it was not loud enough to be heard in the whole vehicle above the noise of the engine. But those who sat near me listened attentively to several chapters of the Tharaka Bible before we arrived at Chuka. I also sent some chapters of the Bible to three people via the Bluetooth function on my phone.
This has inspired us to plan to distribute the audio bible using memory cards which can be played on phones, DVD players and even on motor bike radios
by Onesmus Kamwara
I thank God He found me!
*Kazuri is a pleasant old woman, who cannot stop smiling. Are you always this happy? I ask her, as we chat outside her house. “Yes, who would not be? since I became a Christian, I have known only Joy. I do not even get sick – I was a sickly woman.
She is eager to tell me how she became a Christian. “ I heard a man preaching in Kigiryama, reading from the New Testament and I said, "that God must be real. He knows our language! The more I listened to him preaching, the more I became interested. My grandchild continued reading to me and telling me about Jesus. Soon, I knew that I needed to commit my life to this God…”