"Your Language is the most precious element in life that still includes all major values of your ancestors. What does that mean for your children, and your grandchildren and their future?"
"Does Bible translation and literacy have a role to play in the vision of the churches of Akwaya?" This was one of the important questions addressed by church leaders and SIL representatives in the remote town of Akwaya, South West Province, on February 7th this year.
Twenty-seven ordained and lay church workers from the Akwaya region, along with four SIL members, including the General Director, Nelis van den Berg, met at the Presbyterian church, Akwaya town, for an all-day meeting. Amongst the church workers, some of whom had trekked up to ten hours to attend, five of the local "Tivoid" languages were represented.
These speakers of the languages expressed their felt needs of more members of their churches being committed, well-trained believers who can connect with the traditions of the local people. They also desire continued unity amongst the believers and effective means to reach out to those outside the church.
The SIL representatives responded by noting that Bible translation and literacy in the mother tongue can greatly help with making these connections. They outlined the long process of language development work and encouraged the Akwaya church leaders to be instigators of this process. It may indeed be a long road for the ten Tivoid languages, but
with the concrete resolutions made by the church leaders to form prayer groups in their language communities and to continue to meet together about this, the Akwaya churches have made a hopeful start.