A dear friend in the UK, Dr. Sarah Casson, has been working for many years as a translation consultant with the Omi Bible translation team, near the border of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with South Sudan. She recently wrote a beautiful newsletter about the translators, their community, and how the translated Scriptures are already being used. The Omi are set to publish their New Testament + Genesis in the coming months. I asked if I could repost part of her newsletter here, and she kindly agreed. I have edited slightly to remove names, and added emphasis (bold).
“By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth…” Ps. 65:5
The New Testament and Genesis, combined in one volume, are now typeset and awaiting printing. It’s hard to express how extraordinary this achievement is! Before preparation for Bible translation work began in this disadvantaged community, the Omi language had never been written. Speakers were used to their language and culture being despised and overlooked. Even in other parts of DRC, people have rarely heard of the Omi people. Church services in the Omi region are frequently led in more dominant languages such as Bangala and Lugbara, though Omi speakers often only understand these partially. This gives the message that Omiti is not a worthy medium for communicating important information and that God speaks a foreign language. Gradually as the translation has progressed the Catholic church has started to use passages in church services, following the lectionary. Scripture read in Omiti triggers lots of animated discussion outside church. People are starting to grasp that God speaks their language and loves them and their culture!
church choir and traditional harp on the move