Press Release: June 6, 2024

The Church is a Global Church

How Global Partnerships Impact Church Growth and Bible Translation

In July of 2020, Rev. Dr. Rich Rudowske interviewed Reverend Linus Otronyi of Nigeria. Their conversation, although recorded during the uncertain times of the Covid-19 pandemic, highlights the joy of partnership in Bible translation. 

Otronyi grew up in the small town of Iboko, Nigeria which also happened to be where Lutheran Bible Translators founder Reverend Morris Watkins lived. Born about the same time the Yala New Testament was finished and dedicated, he understood firsthand the lifechanging impact of having Scripture in the language he understood best. 

As a young man he attended seminary in Nigeria. Rev. Chuck Tessaro sought him out and encouraged him to keyboard a manuscript in the Yala language. After prayerful consideration, Rev. Otronyi agreed. Since that time as an International Associate of Lutheran Bible Translators he has served many of the 515+ languages of Nigeria through surveys, studies, and audiovisual recording. 

From left: Rev. Linus Otronyi, Rev. Chuck and Karen Tessaro, and Rev. Kierien Ayugha

The Importance of Collaboration and Partnership in Bible Translation

In the interview, Rev. Otronyi recognized the expansion of indigenous Bible translation organizations, “In the past, it used to be few, but we have witnessed growth.” He also celebrated their collaboration, “the Language Program Coordination Forum coordinates all the different Bible translation agency organizations…they share information about training, statistics and other relevant information. The Forum of Bible Translation Consultants in Nigeria, which comprises of translation consultants and coordinators from different organizations also meet from time to share ideas and discuss Bible translation in Nigeria.” 

When asked if collaboration from the Western world is still necessary, he responded emphatically, “I think the church is a global church. We still have needs in areas of Bible translation that will require help from our [missionary] brothers, especially certain skills that we may not have here, like computer skills or scripture engagement skills or technical skill like translation advisor or translation consultant or literacy advisor.” 

Rev. Otronyi participated personally in global partnership by traveling to Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone to consult on a liturgy translation project. “We did the translation of Divine Service and Evening Prayer, responsive prayer, the Order of Baptism and Confirmation, the Order of Matrimony, the Order of Funeral Service, and, of course, Collects and Prayers. These were some of the things that were translated into the languages Mende, Krio, Kissi, and Kono.” 

He described the church leaders in Sierra Leone as, “Very humble people who have the Spirit of God, who are willing to do the work of God in spite of their challenges, in spite of the little resources they have.” 

Rev. Otronyi’s love for the Lord and for his Word is obvious throughout the interview, “Anytime somebody asks me, what do you do? It gives me an opportunity to talk about what I do and how they can pray for me. So that gives me joy. Seeing church leaders promoting and speaking to encourage their members to use translated scriptures, sharing from their experience the impact that translated scriptures has had in their life or in someone’s lives, that also gives me joy. Also, seeing people’s life change as a result of their engagement or their encounter with the Word of God, that gives me joy.” 

Click here to listen to the full interview with Rev. Otronyi. 

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