My Cameroonian friend Kuku is old enough to be my father. He enjoys telling stories and is always ready to chat. He doesn’t (yet) read Nizaa. I’d love to convince Kuku to learn to read Nizaa so he can understand Scripture, because I firmly believe in the power of God’s Word. When people are confronted with the Word of God in a way they can understand, God transforms lives. He grieves hearts over sin. He moves people to repentance. He inspires saving faith in Christ.
But as much as I want to convince Kuku to learn to read Nizaa, I must realize he is an old man. Why would he spend the time and effort?
Thanks to previous missionaries, Nizaa is a written language with a number of published literacy materials. Literacy classes began, but discontinued around 2006. When I asked, Nizaa leaders seemed ready and willing to re-start a literacy program. It hasn’t happened. We’re hung up on several questions. How can we fund the program in a sustainable way? How can we help Nizaa writers publish more literature? How can we motivate the population to learn to read and write in Nizaa? Are we (my wife and I) even the best people to lead literacy endeavors? We came to translate the New Testament.
How then can Kuku receive the Scriptures in an understandable way? Instead of focusing on literacy, perhaps we can create Scripture recordings and songs.
I have discovered from numerous spiritual conversations with those in the Nizaa community that people always listen when they hear spiritual things. When we adapt Scripture to recordings or songs, we bring God’s Word that much closer to people. If we can distribute audio Scripture, stage public debates and discussions on biblical topics, and otherwise adapt Scripture, Nizaa people who do not yet read their language can hear it.
We are working on a recording of Genesis 1-3 in Nizaa. It will be followed by questions that encourage the hearer to reflect on the text, especially the promise of one who will crush the serpent’s head. Would you ask God to guide these efforts?
Thank God for making Scripture available in the heart language of the Nizaa community. Ask God to move Nizaa leaders to re-launch literacy work. Pray that their efforts would lead to many Nizaa speakers learning to read and write their language.
To learn more about the Kuhns and their ministry visit https://www.lbt.org/project/mike-kara-kuhn/.