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Sengwer Cherangany

New Testament

Country

Kenya

Language(s)

 

Sengwer Cherangany

Speakers

70,000

These forest dwellers face the loss of their right to hunt. Church leaders urged for mother-tongue Scripture and indigenous advocacy. “Bible translation is much more than just getting our rights. It gives eternal life!”





the Need
Early in the twentieth century, much of the Sengwer Cherangany people’s home—the forests of the Rift Valley—fell to colonial powers. More recently, it has been made a protected area, and the Sengwer Cherangany can no longer legally hunt where they live. Adrift from their traditional livelihood, some now farm and raise livestock; others work as casual labourers in nearby factories. Some still continue to rely on beekeeping and creating handcrafts from forest material. National and regional languages are used in the churches attended by Sengwer Cherangany people. The uneducated among them have very little understanding and consider Christianity as a form of colonialism. To overcome these obstacles, church leaders requested training in language development and Bible translation. This partnership is providing the community with much more than advocacy for indigenous identity and land rights could ever do. One of the translators says, “Bible translation is more than getting our rights. It gives eternal life!”
The Project

Sengwer Cherangany project team members, trained by staff from our national partner in Kenya, have made the commitment to:


  •  Develop an alphabet.


  • Translate the New Testament and distribute it in print and digital formats.


  • Produce mother-tongue literacy materials.


  • Provide the language community with mother-tongue materials such as calendars, a book of folk stories, and Bible study materials.


  • Promote engagement with and ownership of translated Scripture among local churches and Sengwer Cherangany people.

Translation Progress

Drafted

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94

Community-Checked

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69

Quality-Checked

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57

Serve the Living God
Kibor had stopped attending church during the pandemic and never went back—he just didn’t see the point. However, when the project team offered him an opportunity to work on recording Bible stories in the Sengwer Cherangany language, he was happy to help. As they listened to the recorded stories, it was like Kibor was hearing them for the first time. “After listening to these stories, I realized I do not value the church because I am not rooted in the Word of God,” explains Kibor. “I have realized that I have been missing out on many good things, especially when I hear it in my language. I understand it and it touches me so much. I must go back to the church and serve the Living God.''
Called to Do His Work
Lillian loved to dance and sing the traditional songs and dances of her people, and her skill was well-regarded in the community. She was among those invited to perform at a Scripture dedication in her community. “As we were escorting the Bible to the launching site, I was unexpectedly given the luggage of the translated Bibles to carry,” remembers Lillian. Then later that afternoon, she was again asked to carry copies of God’s Word to the dedication site. “I have never told anybody this but that day I went home, and I cried for long, since I was asking myself, ‘Why me? I am just a sinner, and I was given the Bible to carry twice!’” Lillian had never bothered to go to church and didn’t believe God could help her or anyone else. However, she now felt God calling her to serve Him. Then, the project team approached her to participate in a community checking session. “I realized that God was giving me the burden of doing his work and I have since sworn to the Lord that I will do his work,” says Lillian. “Even now I have stopped producing traditional songs and I am now doing gospel songs in the Sengwer Cherangany language.”

"I can truly testify that through the Scriptures in my language, God has given me hope."

Lillian, Sengwer Cherangany woman on the review comittee

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