During a community engagement meeting in the Themne-speaking town of Lunsar in Sierra Leone, one man commented, “I never had the opportunity to listen to the Word of God in my heart language until today.” As a traditional leader and Muslim, he promised to attend any meetings where God’s Word is discussed or preached in the language he can truly understand.   

Though the Themne New Testament is available, low literacy rates among this mostly Muslim population has hindered Scripture use. Josh and Ruthie Wagner of Lutheran Bible Translators are working to change that. As Ruthie serves with the Old Testament Translation, Josh explores innovative ways to bring Scripture to people who may never learn to read and write. Interest is high when people discover they can watch and listen to God’s Word on their phones or tablets.   

Ruthie and the team have drafted approximately 50% of the Old Testament. These books are in circulation among Themne communities and churches. Feedback has been very positive. As people come to a better understanding of God’s Word they are able to apply the morals and ethics learned through Scripture to their daily lives.  

Over the coming months, drafting and team checking will proceed as the team continues to develop and improve their translation skills. The community engagement program, targeting major Themne communities, will be expanded.  

GOALS

Complete the drafts of Genesis, Leviticus, and Psalms.

Implement community engagement programs in major Themne-speaking communities.

IMPACT

Use of translated Scripture brings about a better understanding of God’s Word.

People respond well when presented with ways to watch or listen to Scripture in Themne.

Pray for consulting financial support for the project.

Pray for good health for all those associated with the translation.

Praise God that completed Old Testament portions are being well received by Themne churches and communities.

Bible Translation in local languages is pivotal if people are to deeply engage with the Word of God. Your gifts provide translated Scripture used in outreach to those Themne who have not had the opportunity to hear the Word of God in a language they can understand. 

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