At the age of 14, I already had the dream of working in Bible translation and literacy in Africa. After university, studying linguistics and theology, my life initially took a different turn: starting and raising a family, and becoming a gallery owner. Then in 2016, I first spent a vacation in Ethiopia, and started working with the Tsaara people. The dream was starting to become reality.
Together with the NGO "Wycliffe Ethiopia Bible Translation", we are now striving to make a way for Bible translation and mother tongue education for the Tsaara. An alphabet and first reading materials have been developed. As a very first book in their language, the gospel of John has been dedicated to the people in 2019. It is my deepest wish for the Tsaara, and possibly other people groups as well, to gain access to the word of God.
I will invest my skills to support the teams in Ethiopia by doing linguistic research, by consulting and training local literacy teachers. Together we want a whole people group's longing for education and the Bible in the language of their hearts to be fulfilled.
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Connecting Africa with the Gospel in any language
Ethiopia is located at the "horn of Africa", a country with currently about 120 million inhabitants and an orthodox Christian tradition reaching as far back as the 4th century. Still, now, almost half of the population is orthodox, and about 20 percent are Protestants. More than 80 languages from four different language families are spoken here. For some of them, no research has been done, and no written material is available for these people groups. Until recently, Tsaara had been one of those.
The Tsaara people live as farmers in southwestern Ethiopia, still cut off from infrastructure and most influences of civilization. There is no electricity, no clean water, and no medical service. Death in newborns is at an estimated 25 % as a result of the lack of midwifery care. Although every Tsaara village has a primary school, teaching materials are only in the official language Amharic, a foreign language to Tsaara children. Making Tsaara a literate people will not only strengthen the community in their sense of identity, it will also preserve their cultural traditions. And at times it will transform them into even more life-giving values as the good news of the Bible opens up to them.
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It is no secret that from the very beginning of the church Christians have taken an active role in being missionaries and sending missionaries. Yet not all are called to be missionaries. (We are all called to make disciples)
Being a missionary is a calling, but have you ever considered that sending missionaries is also a calling? So what is your calling? Are you the missionary or a missionary sender?
All Kontaktmission staff live on support, meaning we believe that God will provide for his mission, through his church.
Please consider joining our sending team by partnering with us in prayer and partnering with us financially.
- Three young Tsaara men have been trained as Bible translators. They worked on a draft of almost the whole New Testament by now. They need protection for their families since they are often traveling between their remote villages and the capital Addis Abeba. Checking their drafts for accuracy is one of my jobs.
- Presently there are 9 Tsaara literacy teachers teaching the primer reading materials in 9 villages. Since there is a call for reading classes in all 15 villages, more teachers should be trained. Pray for wisdom in teaching them, their education level is low, and often they face many challenges in their villages; pray for support from the village elders and pastors.
- The primary school materials need to be translated into Tsaara. We want to train the teachers in Tsaara orthography and translation principles, and support them throughout the process. Designing a simple school grammar and dictionary with them is also one of my wishes.
- The Tsaara community often is harassed by a neighboring nomadic people group, stealing their cattle, and even sometimes killing people for that purpose, so families live in threat and hide in the bush for days and weeks at times. Pray for a lasting peaceful solution to that conflict.
- Communication is a huge challenge in the whole process. Pray that I will find time to learn basic Amharic in order to understand the main issues with those who don’t know English well enough.