The Peoples Church in Toronto is an inspiring example of outreach and mission, both at home and abroad. One of their many projects is in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. They are fully funding Global PartnerLink’s project with the Biafada language (48,000 speakers), which they featured in a recent Global Missions publication (quoted below with permission).
2010 Special Project profile:
Bible Translation (Guinea-Bissau)
“There are approximately 6,900 languages spoken in the world today. Of these, only 1,144 have a translation of the New Testament and only 429 have a translation of the entire Bible in their native language. This makes Bible translation an important priority for missions funding.
With a population of just over 1.5 million people, Guinea-Bissau is a country easily overlooked on the south-west coast of Africa. It is one of the world’s poorest countries and has a literacy rate of only 40%. With so few people being able to read, oral traditions are very important. This means that truths that really touch people’s hearts in this tiny African country need to be communicated orally through stories, proverbs, drama, dance and song.
Global PartnerLink (a Wycliffe International partner) is working in Guinea-Bissau at ‘Bible storying’ which crafts God’s Word into oral stories that communicate His truth. To do this, they translate portions of the Bible into local languages from which they create oral stories to be shared with local people. This enables the Gospel to be shared with people in spite of the low literacy rates.
In a project fully funded by The Peoples Church, Global PartnerLink is working on a Bible-storying project in the Biafada language, a dialect spoken by the rural population in Guinea-Bissau which currently does not have any Scripture at all. The spiritual battle in this area is intense. There is a strong adherence to the animistic religion in the area, including many who still secretly sacrifice to the spirits of their religion. New believers are often persecuted and feel forced to renounce their faith. This project, by making stories of the Bible available in the Biafada language, will enable 48,000 people to hear the Gospel in their native language for the first time.”
Pastor Charles Price of The Peoples Church, in the context of making a faith promise for the growth of church and missions, addresses the question: “How much should I give?” His answer: “This is entirely based on how much you are willing to allow God to supply through you. It will be a test of your faith! C.S. Lewis challenges us in his book Mere Christianity, ‘I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if your expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little.’” Judging by the generous giving of The Peoples Church, they are certainly willing to allow God “to supply through them” to meet the needs of people like the Biafada of Guinea-Bissau, who are still waiting to hear the story of Jesus’ love for the very first time.