Believers in Ethiopia look forward to better understanding Scripture and reaching neighbors
In East Africa, a translation project that began in 2010 has hit the important benchmark of completing a New Testament. Join the celebration by watching the video below, then read on to discover how this achievement came to be.
It Hasn’t Always Been This Way
According to project coordinator Samuel, missionaries first brought the gospel to the Me’en people about 30 years ago, and the good news had an immediate effect. Those whose lives were ruled by witchcraft, gambling, and human trafficking began to repent of sin and turn toward Jesus.
Samuel was happy to report that the missionaries did well to train the Me’en on discipling others. But even as “the local church blossomed,” believers struggled to mature in their faith. They needed Scripture in their heart language.
So in the early 2000s, a team drafted the New Testament, but the work was never completed. In 2010, Seed Company partnered with the local church, and a new translation team finished the New Testament in 2016!
Sadly, delays in publication and shipping processes prevented the community at large from accessing the work.
But recently, that all changed.
Two Dedication Ceremonies
Last year, the Me’en people celebrated with two different ceremonies to dedicate their Scripture. Together, the events saw more than 7,000 people gather to rejoice over God’s faithful provisions: a church plant in Ethiopia over 30 years ago, and now, a heart language translation to use among the people.
The participants looked back at the transformation they’d seen in their lives and in their community, and they celebrated the freedom they had found through the gospel.
One church leader, Berhanu, described reading Scripture in Me’en as a third birth:
My first birth was a physical birth from my parents. The second was my birth into the house of the Lord, the family of God in heaven. This third birth has granted me access to the Word of God in my very own tongue. Now, I’ve become a qualified speaker of God’s Word to my people. From this day onward, I go with my New Testament to share the good news with my people. Now, I can properly know the message because the Bible came in my language.
Some government officials also attended, with the president of the district purchasing 20 copies of the New Testament to distribute among his colleagues. He said that his people “will now be guided by eternal law, which is superior to earthly law.”
Creating a New Normal
At both dedication ceremonies, the translation team and church leaders read John 1:1-14. They long to see their people embracing the gospel and putting their faith in Jesus.
We join them in praying that Me’en people—now equipped with access to the complete New Testament in their heart language—will make Jesus a central part of their everyday lives. And we pray that as they engage with the truth of Scripture, they will grow in mature faith and long for more of God’s Word in Me’en.
Currently, the team is pressing on to translate the Old Testament. In a few years, we hope to have new videos from a new celebration that matches the intensity and joy the Me’en are experiencing today.