The Kwanja ministry at times looks somewhat barren to us, as the evidences of spiritual life we look for aren’t always apparent. The seasons of the year remind us that there is a time for growth. We are still preparing the seeds for harvest among the Kwanjas, as we work towards preparing the New Testament for publication.
Prior to 2006, the Kwanja people of Cameroon did not have Scripture in their language. Martin and Joan Weber—who began serving among the Kwanja in 1982—saw limited signs of Christian growth even in the years leading up to the dedication of the Kwanja New Testament. They knew it would take time for God’s Word to take root and flourish.
Many missionaries use the analogy of planting seeds to describe their work. They know that Scripture translation is only the beginning of a long process that will—with God’s help—transform lives and communities.
The dedication of the Kwanja New Testament was a milestone for the Webers and the Kwanja people. But Martin and Joan knew there was much more work to be done. They continued to assist with the development of literacy materials, the audio New Testament and the Kwanja Lectionary Series. Their work extended to other language groups as they helped with Vuté and Dowayo translation projects.
Is every Kwanja speaker a practicing Christian today? As much as I’d like to say yes, the reality is that many are still struggling with traditional beliefs. But the seeds have been planted. Kwanja Christians are sharing God’s Word through their own language in villages and churches. They are promoting literacy so people can both hear and read Scripture. The Kwanja have transformed from a community that was dominated and exploited by more powerful tribes to a people who are confident of their place and importance in God’s creation.
One by one, lives are being changed from hearing the Word of God, especially in the language that people understand in their hearts. God speaks to people through His Word. People are comforted, wrongdoers turn their lives around, the hopeless put their trust in the One who provides for their needs… things change!
What was planted so long ago is growing. God’s Word is nourishing hearts and lives. And the harvest will repeat itself in the generations to come.
At the dedication of the Kwanja Lectionary in March 2020, one poor elderly lady bought the lectionary book, even though she cannot read. She said, “It is a precious book. I want it so my children and my grandchildren will borrow it and read it!”
Thank you for putting Scripture in the hands of the Kwanja and so many others around the world!