Nkonya and the Book of Psalms
Submitted by Katie Peacock, working with the Nkonya bible translation project with Wycliffe
“You didn’t pray in Nkonya? Do you mean that you never prayed in Nkonya before you came to work with us on the translation project?” “No,” Emmanuel answered. I looked around at the rest of Nkonya translation team, all of them people of standing in their churches. They nodded agreement. Four out of five said that they hadn’t been confident that God would answer them, if they used their own language. I was flabbergasted.
Perhaps that is why having the book of Psalms, the prayer book of the Church, translated into Nkonya, seems so important.
The Nkonya New Testament was published in 2010, however many people struggle with reading. We really wanted an audio version as well. “Faith Comes By Hearing” (FCBH), an American mission, has an amazing ministry of recording newly translated New Testaments. They master the recordings with various speakers, music and background sounds. Then they provide small players and help set up listening groups. It’s a gift. They pay the expenses. We were on the list. We waited. A number of years passed. “Perhaps,” I thought, “it isn’t going to happen.”
Meanwhile translation work on the book of Psalms progressed through various drafts and checking stages. The church reviewers approved it. Last November, 2015, the final Psalms were checked by a consultant.
And then, and then! in February, FCBH announced that the Nkonya New Testament would be recorded this April. Wonderful. We couldn’t resist and asked. “Would it be possible for you to record Psalms at the same time ?” They were intrigued. Most language projects do not have Psalms translated by the time the New Testament is taped. They checked with their Theovision partners, the ones actually providing technicians for the field work. Turns out, adding Psalms was not a small thing at all. (Good thing I didn’t know before we asked or I might not have had the courage!) Still, FCBH agreed to bear the pre- and post-production costs, and Theovision agreed to cover the salaries of their technicians, if we would cover the local costs – food and accommodation and the expenses of local readers.
An opportunity too exciting to miss! Just think: the comfort, the praise, of a whole book of prayer in Nkonya, in recorded form. Worth it, even if we had to dip into savings to do it. Then the Missions Mobilization Team at Crossroads stepped up. “Write us a Psalms proposal before we meet on Tuesday, and we’ll consider it.” Their email came. “We’ve approved the project, money on the way.”
So the New Testament AND the book of Psalms have been recorded and are now in the hands of production technicians. Many thanks to God for well timed delays, so that Psalms could be included, and to FCBH for sharing our passion. And many thanks to Crossroads Church, who “get” the importance of Psalms, for their timely support, once again.