Children and adults alike from Kiribati and Tuvalu in the South Pacific are delighted to have Bible comic story books in their own heart language for the very first time.
“Their reaction was one of amazement and they were so appreciative,” said Charles Cleary and Seremaia Rareba from the Bible Society of the South Pacific (BSSP). “Please thank all the generous supporters in New Zealand for making this possible,” they said.
More copies of the Bible comic story book titled, The Man Who Trusted God, The Story of Abraham, with content from Genesis 12 to 22, are currently being distributed to Kiribati and Tuvalu churches and communities in Suva, Fiji, before being shipped to the islands.
The Abraham Bible story comics are part of Bible Society’s ongoing mission to reach the people of the South Pacific with the Bible in their heart language.
The next translation project to be finalised in the South Pacific will be the Hano New Testament in Vanuatu. Here, the Hano language is spoken by more than 6,000 people in the North Pentecost area of the island with 1,000 speakers in the main centres.
The last publication of the Scriptures in the Hano language was in 1988, consisting of the four Gospels. The New Testament is nearly complete now with final checking in progress.
It’s hard to imagine that many people in some of New Zealand’s favourite Pacific holiday destinations still do not have the Bible in their own language.
Tropical getaway destinations such as Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Niue and French Polynesia, many of which have multiple languages, are waiting for Bible translation projects to be completed or started.
Seremaia (left) from BSSP with Rev Kabong, a church minister from the Kiribati community, with some of the comics.
Without the Bible in their own heart language it’s much harder to connect intimately with God.
There is ongoing translation work on the Tongan Contemporary Old Testament. Text is also being prepared for Bible resources such as concordances and electronic Bibles, which will be distributed in Tuvalu, Kiribati, Niue, Tahiti and Tonga.
In Fiji, translation work continues on the Maumi and Korobubu-Ba New Testaments, with both projects due to print trial editions of completed books later in the year.
Finally, people experiencing trauma will be helped by the translation of biblical trauma healing materials into various South Pacific languages.
Apenesia Lewatoro joined BSSP because he was fascinated with translation work and had a heart to make God’s Word available in the language of his people.
He said, “Bibles were originally translated by the missionaries in the 1800s and one of the challenges now is people don’t understand the languages of the past. We’re working towards translating the Bible into today’s languages of contemporary Fijian, Kiribati, Tongan, and Samoan. Then people can understand God’s Word and make changes in their lives.”
“Thank you so much for your kind hearts in supporting Bible work in the South Pacific. God bless you all.