There is no doubt that getting God’s Word in their heart language impacts not only individual people but whole communities in very significant ways.
Take the Shilluk people of South Sudan, who got their Bible in April 2013.
South Sudan split from Sudan in July 2011 to become the world’s newest nation, following decades of civil war that claimed the lives of 1.5 million and displaced a further 4 million people. With their new nation established, many displaced Shilluk people of the Upper Nile State began returning home, and the Christian community longed to be able to build their church on the truth of the Bible – one they could read in their own language.
In April 2013, as part of the 100 Bibles in 1000 Days campaign, the Shilluk Bible was launched in Malakal stadium, to much celebration and excitement.
Once again forced to flee
Sadly, within the year, the country once again found itself mired in armed conflict, and many Shilluk people once again were forced to flee their homeland, many taking refuge in UN camps or evacuating further afield. In the midst of this, the Bible they had recently received became for many a sustaining force.
“Like many in South Sudan, Shilluk families are experiencing grief, trauma and anxiety because of this conflict,” says Dr Edward Kajivora, who leads the Bible Society in South Sudan. “Many Shilluk people took their Bibles with them when they fled, and are reading them in their settlements in Waw Shilluk, Ditang, Lul and Kodok.”
“The ones I saw being used by people in the UN camp are almost worn out from constant use. The Shilluk Bible is keeping people alive – it is food and consolation during the difficult times we are facing.” Roda, one of the Shilluk Bible translators.
Access to the Bible in your own language is a priceless gift for many around the world, and yet many languages still don’t have a full Bible. See the current statistics for Global Scripture Access here.