The Shekgalagari Bible Translation Project Board is now referred to as the ‘Advisory Committee’ (AC) under a proposed agreement that is pending with the Bible Society of Botswana and Lutheran Bible Translators. This group continues to provide a critical role of connecting the work and mission of the project with the community. We ask for your prayers as we work out funding details between all the various stakeholders in the project and meet on June 6th to take the next steps in finalizing arrangements and beginning to implement them.
In the meantime, the AC has authorized the printing and selling of a revised book of translated hymns and a revised picture dictionary in order to raise awareness for the project and also local funds. This effort will demonstrate in part if we have been effective in connecting with the community and will also demonstrate the willingness and capacity of the Bakgalagari to purchase printed material. These are both unknown at this point but important as we make decisions going forward about end products of the project.
Certainly some portion of the Bible will be translated, but how will it be made available to the people? Printed books? Recordings? Training people to pass the stories on orally? These and any number of options are available so we are trying to discover what will be impactful with the limited resources available. Based on some of the things we find out, we may find that there are additional partners who can bring expertise and resources to the table.
This work is far from the image I used to have of the Bible translator setting up his computer and finding a couple of people and getting to work. That model can work in some contexts, but here where we have churches and leaders with influence in the community, we need to work side by side and learn from each other. This is challenging at times but we hope the payoff will be a group of people transformed by the Word of God in their mother tongue in a way the can access it most effectively.
Rev. Rich and Maya Rudowske have a translation ministry among the Shekgalagari-speaking people of Botswana. You can follow their missionary journey regularly on Rich’s blog: The Encouraging Word.