As translators meet goals to produce New Testament books and the “JESUS” film, they look forward to next steps.
In the Central African Republic, the Banda-Linda people live in relative poverty. Their livelihood is derived from agriculture and livestock. Their access to infrastructure is inadequate, especially as it relates to healthcare.
The Banda-Linda were first exposed to the gospel in the 1920s. Despite a century of access to the Bible in the national language, no heart language translations of Scripture existed until recently. As a result, Christians remained a minority with only about 25% of Banda-Linda people professing Jesus. During recent civil unrest, the region experienced hardship and seemingly irreconcilable division.
At Seed Company, some of our most cherished memories come out of helping to bring God’s truth to seemingly hopeless situations. Over the past few years, translation teams have been hard at work, bringing that truth to the Banda-Linda through New Testament books of the Bible and literature about healing from trauma.
Radio Broadcasts and God’s Provision in the First Phase
During the first phase of the translation project, team members took to the radio to raise awareness of the work, and several people attended an informational meeting. There, they learned more about Bible translation and how they could contribute to the project’s success. The new recruits were eager to contribute, with some even pledging to donate their crops!
God’s provision also included protection. While organizing a Scripture-engagement workshop, word of possible rebel attacks began to spread, but the churches responded in faith, not fear. They began to pray fervently, and according to Clarence, the translation coordinator for the project, “The Lord protected us and the tools we had brought. None of our equipment was stolen or taken by force. May his name be praised forever!”
Heart Language Scripture and Heart-Level Transformation in the Second Phase
In July of last year, volunteers organized an event to screen the “JESUS” film in Banda-Linda. God’s message of forgiveness, love, and peace reached the people in a new way, speaking directly to them in their own language and in a way they could see.
“Many people gave their lives to Jesus,” Clarence reported. They abandoned many objects used in occult practices, turning to Christ instead.
In fact, the Banda-Linda version of the “JESUS” film kindled the passion of the local church for translating more of God’s Word. Even leaders whose educational backgrounds were centered around the national language of Central African Republic have found new meaning through Scripture in their heart language.
One pastor named Paul said, “Never had I known that the ethnic groups in Africa, especially the Banda-Linda, could be in the presence of God and praise him in their own mother tongue.”
Pastor Paul has committed himself to serving the translation team. His vision is set on the future goal that “one day in heaven, each person can worship God in his language.”
More Translated Books and Multiple Formats in the Third Phase
While the second phase of the work among the Banda-Linda has wrapped up, the momentum hasn’t stopped; the translation team is eager to continue until the entire canon of God’s Word is available to the people.
In phase two, the focus remained on New Testament texts, like the Gospels, as well as Galatians and Ephesians. Additionally, team members worked with Cru to produce Scripture-based resources that aid in outreach ministry.
As the team presses forward into phase three, they will, in a sense, be moving in reverse—going back to foundational narrative texts like Genesis and Exodus in the Old Testament. Their goals include providing the written material in print, digital, and audio formats.
Their three-pronged strategy ensures they can balance the ease of digital distribution with the educational and technological barriers that the area faces. As new Scriptures are translated and released, the team expects to see more and more stories of life transformation.
Join us in praying for them and the work they are doing.
Father, thank you for the work that has already been accomplished in Central African Republic. Your provision astounds us, and we know that you love to give good things to your children. Protect the Banda-Linda translation team so they can continue their work. Give them wisdom, and protect them from warfare, spiritual and otherwise. Let your Word go forth and change lives. Amen.