Imagine praying for something all of your life, coming close to having it several times, but seeing it slip away each time you thought your prayers were being answered. Imagine that what you have prayed for is to hear God speaking to you in your own language, but you are growing old and almost losing hope that God will answer your prayers. Now imagine being asked to take part in the process of bringing God's word to life in your language. Great joy and praise to God would be my reaction, and it was precisely the reaction of the Kaguru translators and the people who recently participated in the Kaguru dictionary workshop and the workshop for receivers. To give you some perspective on their long - time pursuit of God's word, here is a brief history of the Kaguru Bible translation.
1894 -- Anglican missionaries translate and publish the gospel of John in Kaguru, but the translated scriptures are never made available to the Kaguru people.
[This year we received photocopies of the Gospel of John from Australia. Not only has the language changed a lot since 1894, but those early drafts did not pas through the proper checking stages. So even though it is available, it is not suitable for publication. However, it saves the current translators time a they can utilize this old translation as a rough draft.]
1960's -- Some young Kaguru girls in secondary school see their classmates with the Bible in their mother tongue, and they ask each other. "Why don't we have that in Kaguru?" So they started translating on their own initiative and were soon sent to Nairobi, Kenya to receive training on translation principles. They complete rough drafts of the gospels and submit them to the Bishop. These drafts are set aside and ignored, and the work in suspended.
1995 -- A group of Anglican pastors in Berega village form an "Initiators Group" to translate the Bible into Kaguru. John 1:1-31 is drafted at the first meeting, but the pastors are soon transferred to different parts of the diocese and the initiative is suspended again.
1998 -- One of the Anglican pastors writes a letter to Bible Society of Tanzania (BST) requesting assistance in the Kaguru translation. The director of BST agrees to meet with the Initiators, and he advises them to submit their request to the Diocese. Shortly afterward, Pioneer Bible Translators (PBT) conducts its first sociolinguistic survey in Tanzania, in the Kaguru language. The survey concludes that a Kaguru Bible translation is needed.
1999 -- The request for a translation program is presented to the Synod of the Anglican Morogoro Diocese and a copy of the PBT survey report is submitted as a supporting document to the request.
2000 -- The Kaguru people receive the good news that the Diocese has authorized the translation program and Canon Kadege is appointed as the head translator. The Diocese makes an official request to BST, and BST agrees to supervise the project. The first meeting of the translators take place in September. In October the group is stunned by the death of Canon Kadege. In the words of one of the translators, "This was for us a heavy blow, because we were starting to hope that we were going to be consoled after all of our efforts." There followed another "period of silence".
2001 -- After receiving the invitation from BST to assist in the Kaguru translation, PBT takes a group of interns to Berega for a week long visit. During that visit, Brad Harvey meets with the Church leaders and explains to them about the "Morogoro Cluster" language program that PBT is initiating, and how the Kaguru language can be a part of that program. He also tells them that the PBT office is moving from Dodoma to Morogoro in anticipation of the start of this program. In December, some of the original initiators are selected as members of the official review committee.
2002 -- As the new drafts of the Kaguru translation begin, with two Kaguru translators working separately, their completed work is sent to the PBT office where the typist, Amana, works part-time to input the data into the BST computer program. In August a dictionary seminar is held in Berega and in only two weeks, 10,000 Kaguru words are elicited and classified. In September, the review committee is finalized with representatives form all the dialects and denomination sin the Kaguru area. In October a workshop is help in Morogoro and nineteen reviewers are trained, using the new drafts of Matthew and portions of Luke that have just come "off the presses". Two of the older women who attend this workshop were in the groups that receive training and produced those lost rough draft back around 1962, and one of these women is the mother of Amana, the typist.
2002 is a year of joy and praise for the Kaguru people who are seeing their dream come true and for PBT as we are blessed to be part of bringing God's word to life in the Kaguru language. To God be the glory!
December 2002 -- You are one of the first people to receive a copy of the Christmas story in the Kaguru language. You cannot read it, but you can lift it up in praise before the Lord and give "glory to God in the highest" for His answer to the prayers of the Kaguru people and for the "good tidings of great joy" that is for all people, including the Kaguru people.
Injili Fina Foyandikwe na Luka
1 Muchigele chicho misigililo yalawa kwa Kayisari Augusto ikugamba, "Awanhu wose mchilunga wandikwe masina gao". 2 Aino yowa nyandikigwa ya kwanza yalawanise ugele wo undewa wa Kirenio yoile mundewa wa Siria. 3 Kwasoko yo wanhu wose howeluta kuandikigwa, chila munhu ukaya ukwao. 4 Yusufu naya hakakwila kalawa Galilaya, Mukaya ya nazareti kaluta Yudea mukaya Daudi ikunangigwa Betelehemu, kwasoko imwene ni wa lukolo Iwa Daudi. 5 Hakaluta kwiandikisha hamwedu na Maria mtumisigwa wakwe naye hakefunga. 6 Ichigele chicho fowowile uko, majuwas gakwe gakifungula gela gafika. 7 Kefungula mwanage nhula lanju naye hakowa mgosi, kamfasa wasapata lukeka msinyumba sa wageni.
8 Na muisi iiya kweja kowa na wadimi wedwikala kuidimo ne isao yao hechilo. 9 Malaika we Mundewa hoyowalawila, kema hagati yao, utunyi we Mandewa houwagubika, nao howokingilwa na itisi ikulu. 10 Malaika kawagamba, "mung'hogohe" nikumwigalilani mbuli swamu, mbuli ya chinyemi chikulu, awanhu wose wakonela (wonyemuka) 11 Kwasoka diyelo mkaya ya Daudi kelekigwa muhonyi wenu, mwihula, no Kristo Mandewa. 12 Achino no chitangilo chenu, mokona mwana mdodogi kafasigwa suke sa chali, kagoneswa hanhu hakudiila sing'ombe.
13 Kamai baho itewa dya Malaika kulawa kulanga, waunga ne miyao wekwimba: 14 "Utunyi ulute kuchanhya kwe mulungu, na Muchilunga chuwe chinyemi kwa wanhu woyasagule."
ne miyao wakugamba, "Hambiya chilute Betelehemu chikone adiya do 15 Malaika fowaleuke na kuluta (kuya) kulanga wadimi wetamila wakugamba , "Hambiya chilute Betelehemu chikone adiya dochitamiligwe ne Mundewa"
16 Howoluta kimwandemwande, wamfika Mariamu na Yusufu na yuya imwana mdodogi kagona ahakudiila sing'ombe. 17 Howomona imwana na kuwatamila gose gowahulike humuhusa imwana. 18 Wose wahulikesimbuli salongigwe na wadimi hawesina lugano. 19 Ninga Mariamu hoyogeka na kugadoga gose mumoyo wakwe. 20 Awaya wadimi weja woya, akuno wekumtunya Mulungu, (kwa) kwa gose gowahulike na kugon, ifene fowatamiligwe.