After a workshop in June explaining the Bible Society of Botswana’s expectations of translation committee members, the Wayeyi Bible Translation Project advisory committee formed officially in July. This is a huge milestone for this project.
The Bible Society of Botswana extended an official invitation to me to be the project’s exegete and advisor, as part of the Botswana immigration process. My residency paperwork was approved in December.
The new chairman of the committee, Mr. Matlhale Motsamai, had a regrettable duty to fulfill in September when he represented the committee at the funeral of Mr. Esmond Kauthemwa, the committee’s vice-chairman. A chief from Sepoa, he helped me and another coworker check Mark and Bible stories by cell phone. His excitement for this work was palpable and he will be sorely missed.
But he was not the only recent loss to this project. While we were discussing the history of the translation work at the June workshop, I leaned that Mr. Otukiseng Hakudze had passed away at Easter time in 2010, while I was in Texas. The news came as a blow; Hakudze was the translator of the handwritten Shiyeyi New Testament that serves as the foundation for our planned translation work.
These past few months have been for me a season of joy with moments of pain. My heart aches when I think that these men of God have passed from this world without being able to hear the word of God in their heart language as it is spoken in fullness to their people.
Thankfully, there are thoughts that give me comfort within the grief. One thought is that they at least knew that Shiyeyi Bible translation work would continue and that LBT had demonstrated their commitment to seeing this happen by assigning me to the project. The still brighter thought is that death is not the end. While they will not be able to rejoice with the Wayeyi at a Scripture dedication ceremony some years from now, there is a greater celebration yet to come, one that you and I can attend together. Won’t it be amazing to see them face-to-face, to tell them that we stood with the Wayeyi people in their quest to hear God’s Word in Shiyeyi, when Hakudze and Kauthemwa could no longer stand?
Eshinee Veith serves as a Translation Advisor on the Shiyeyi project of Botswana. Her husband Rob serves as a Vernacular Media Specialist and Ethnomusicologist. You can learn more about them by visiting their home page on the LBT web site or following Eshinee’s personal blog.