Meet the eight people that we have asked to work with us to translate the Bible into Kwakum! Throughout the years, we have worked closely with many Kwakum individuals and watched how they interacted with people, especially when they disagreed with each other. We have watched how teachable they were when criticized. We have also watched to see how capable they were in their knowledge of the Kwakum language. Then, this past month we put out an application to see who would be interested in becoming official translators with us. We received 18 applications, called references, interviewed people, and prayed. In the end, we are very excited to have to have this group of people to work with. Let me introduce you…
Koo – Up until a couple of months ago, Koo could not read, write, or hold a pencil. Koo has never been to school and is an orphan. And yet, Koo has been gifted by the Lord with a sharp mind, an ability to think conceptually, and incredibly articulate speech. He has recently become a believer and longs to learn all that he can and serve the Lord. We are discipling Koo and he has been like a son to us in many ways.
Brigitte – I first met Brigitte in the market years ago and have worked with her as a language partner ever since. She has attended all of our workshops dealing with anything from tone, to orthography, to charting Kwakum stories. When I asked her why she wanted to be a Bible translator, she said that she wanted to be in the Bible so that she could know if there was any unconfessed sin in her life she needed to repent of. This is exactly the kind of heart that we were praying the Lord would send us.
Albert – Albert is an intellectual as well as an artist. He is slow to speak, gentle, and is also our illustrator for Kwakum books. When asked why he wanted to join our team, he said he wanted to understand the Word of God and that he also wanted to be stretched intellectually.
Jules – About six months ago, I, along with two Kwakum colleagues, went to all the Kwakum villages inviting people to come to Oral Bible Storying workshops. In one remote village, I was introduced to a man named Jules who I was told feared the Lord. He has worked with us ever since and has been characterized by one who grasps concepts quickly and who is a peacemaker.
Raphael – Raphael has remarkable penmanship and has consistently received the highest scores in my literacy classes. He will serve most likely as someone who checks the first drafts of the translations and he will also be one who will write songs based on Scriptures. He has already written an alphabet song and a song with the Kwakum names of the months of the year and they are loved by young and old. He said that he wants to translate the Word of God because he wants to know God, his works, his strength, and his love for people.
Michel – Michel is a fast learner, has a perfect story-telling voice, and “just wants to be used by God.” He has a burden for this work because he says the that Kwakum people cannot understand French well. We haven’t worked with Michel for very long but believe that he will be a great asset to the team.
Bosco – A missionary from Burkina Faso came to the Kwakum maybe a decade ago and led Bosco to the Lord. Since then he has been pastoring a church in a nearby village and conducting it in Kwakum. He has been mine and Dave’s right hand man in everything from language learning, to selling books in villages, to teaching the Gospel after we’ve projected films about Christ in French. Bosco is one of the most generous people I have ever met. He often carries regimes of plantains from his field in the bush all the way up to his house in order to give them to us. We treasure our friendship with Bosco and look forward to working with him.
Patrice – When we did a vision trip to the Kwakum about 10 years ago, we met a man named Patrice who was a pastor at that time. He looked at us and said, “how are my people to understand the Word of God if they don’t have it in their language?” He pleaded with us to come to the Kwakum and, because of him, we did. He is our neighbor and one of our closest friends. He wants to translate the Bible because he longs “for the Kwakum to know God”.
Dave – Dave’s primary roles will be translator training, Bible exegesis, and organizing Oral Bible Storying workshops.
Stacey – Stacey’s roles include overseeing the project, dictionary work, literacy, testing what has been translated, translator training, Bible exegesis here and there, and making sure that what is written conforms to the Kwakum writing system.
We start translator training, Lord willing, on February 25th and plan to spend the next 2.5 years translating Old Testament Bible stories. We would like our first day of training to spent entirely in prayer and invite anyone interested and available to Skype in and pray over our team of translators. We want to approach this important work with a very tangible expression of our dependence on the Lord. If you would like to Skype in, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss the details.
As we begin, our prayer is, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17