With the Komba New Testament dedication only two months away, we would like to share our excitement about the completion of this translation!
The Komba translation project is located in a small village in northern Ghana. There are between 125,000 and 250,000 Komba speakers, most scattered throughout northeast Ghana and some in Togo.
Nearly twelve years ago, the Esala and Federwitz families began missionary service with Lutheran Bible Translators. In June 2003 they settled in Ghana. After a year of adjusting to Ghanaian culture and customs, they each began to work with the Komba New Testament project. Reverend Nate Esala was tasked to work alongside Komba speakers, local church leaders, and other Christians in translation theory and application. David Federwitz’s missional work focused on Komba literacy and Scripture engagement.
David Federwitz attended a Hebrews workshop in 2004 that inspired him in his mission work. The guest speaker, a well-educated Ghanaian (holding several masters and doctoral degrees), described the importance of having the Bible in one’s heart language. The lecturer said that “although one of my PhD’s is in theology, having the Scriptures in my own African mother-tongue has helped me understand God’s Word more clearly than any English version of the Bible.” He asserted that having the translated Word of God allows nominal Christians to become strong and active when they are able to fully grasp the meaning of what they read and hear.
As new missionaries on the field, the Federwitz family found encouragement in the speaker’s own experience. As Lutheran Bible Translators, they were called to “not just help those that cannot read English, but to help the whole Christian church to be built up as more and more people are able to understand and accurately share the message of salvation given to us through Christ Jesus.”
Since the first New Testament passage was translated into Komba (John 18-20 – the arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus), the Komba New Testament project has been a coordinated effort between the Komba people and LBT. Over the past eleven years, the Esala and Federwitz families have worked together and with the local church leaders and Christians to effectively translate the Bible from its original Greek into the Komba language. By this team effort, literacy classes have been instituted, primers written, Scripture has been applied to the translation of liturgy and hymns, as well as all of the work involved in translating, editing, and reviewing the New Testament.
The dedication has been scheduled for the first of November – All Saints’ Day. Mark your calendars! Please remember the Komba people in prayer as they receive God’s Word for the first time in their heart language. Our prayer is that the whole Church may be built up and strengthened in the Word – so that the Komba disciples will in turn make disciples.