Sena NT Dedication in Beira

SelemaneSena is spoken by roughly 2 million people in the lower Zambezi valley.  In response to a request for help from the Mozambique Bible Society, the translation of the New Testament began in 1995 with John and Barb Heins of Wycliffe Bible Translators working with Luis Nyazeze, a retired school teacher and senior pastor in the Nova Aliança Church.  The team grew over the years with Silva Francisco, Arcanjo Branquinho and Jorge Bongece joining the team.  In 2001 the team organized a local association to support the translation, PRODELISE.  Jim and Virginia Vinton of Wycliffe joined the team in 2005.  The Seed Co. became involved in supporting the program in 2005.  Final consultant check and publication was handled by the Bible Society.

Jim & Nyazeze & FatimaOn March 21st Sena NT was dedicated in Beira.  The Bible Society of Mozambique, Wycliffe and PRODELISE jointly put the celebration together.  SIL and the Bible Society shared the cost and PRODELISE did all the organization and preparation.  Pastor Bongece did an amazing job of putting together and coordinating everything.   It was as formal a dedication event as I have participated in so far.  The Governor of Sofala was represented at the event, as was the Mayor of Beira and the Provincial Director of Education.  The Provincial Director of Justice was present with us.  In the Governor’s address she boldly spoke of the of the transforming power of the Word of God and of the urgency of evangelization of the entire nation, even to the remote rural areas, for it is the gospel that changes lives, transforms society and invites peace and prosperity.  These were indeed amazing and refreshing words and very appropriate to the occasion of the dediSBM Beiracation of the Sena New Testament.

Five thousand copies of the Sena New Testament were printed by the Bible Society of Mozambique.  There are 13 populous districts in three provinces where Sena is spoken.  Over the years the PRODELISE team has had an active information campaign with the churches in these districts that was coupled with a scripture community verification plan.  Now they are working on a plan to revisit these same groups of church leaders in the districts and ensure that the NT reaches the farthest corners and is sold out in as short a time as possible.

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Thank you for your participation over these years in the support of the Sena translation team.  It has been a long road, but now the New Testament is published and available and we are confident that God will bless and prosper it, that it will not return void but will perform the work for which is was intended.

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Good things happen

3 March 2015
Nampula, Mozambique

Most Excellent Theophilus,

Our arrival in Mozambique was special in a strange way. We arrived in Nampula from Johannesburg, an easy flight of just over two hours. We were glad to be flying. By car it would have been several days and the flooding was very obvious even at 30,000ft. At the immigration desk they were training new people and as we have permanent residence documents it was easier than crossing the US-Canadian border. Customs officers were uninterested in our bags and one of the baggage handlers made his way in to the customs area. So, to save hassles later I engaged him and passed two bags to him. My hands were full as I approached the door and another dozen baggage handlers descended on us like pigeons on bread crumbs. One of them approached me and reached for the bag in my left hand. I didn’t recognize him but by his smile I felt I should have. I said, “I’m short on change.” He didn’t let go. I repeated, “That is, I don’t have any change at all.” He said, “That’s ok, God will compensate me.” As we struggled through the crowd, both of us holding on to the bag, I asked, “And how is it that God will compensate you?” He answered with confidence, “Tomorrow when I go to church I’ll ask God for a special blessing and He will bless me for what I have done for you today. You don’t ahve to pay me.” I immediately released my hand and let him carry my bag. This man knows his Bible, “In as much as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me.” I’m home again, and God sent this humble servant to welcome me. Ian was at the car and I begged some change from him to pay my helper.

Pressing on,
John and Susan

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Another 29 Seconds in Beira

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29 Seconds in Beira

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29 Seconds

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Ninswaliki 104

Most Excellent Theophilus,

From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?The waters become hard like stone and the face of the deep is frozen.      Job 38: 29-30

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Pennsylvania is cold right now.  The Susquehanna River is choked with ice and the ponds that we swam in just a few months ago are now only fit for ice skating.  It doesn’t do this in Africa, and it has taken me some time to get used to the idea of cold that just doesn’t go away when the sun comes out.

But we have had a wonderful time these past months, including many adventures in an aging car.  We did not travel as far as we had planned.  I think we are getting older.  And I confess, we have not been the correspondents that we wanted to be.  Some of you haven’t heard from us at all during this time, while others are weary of seeing us so often.

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Since October we have been hosted in this house in Laceyville, Pennsylvania, just across the street from the church.  It was a real treat to have a home in which to host visitors, especially our children.

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The Christmas season was a wonderful time with our children and extended family, getting involved in the church, singing in the choir and so much more.

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But then, in early January Laura went back to Buffalo to teach school, Mary and Steven to Williamsport, Emily back to university and Andrew has gone to Spain for a semester abroad.   When they all left Susan and I were feeling quite blue.

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As we go back to Mozambique we have some changes before us.  I am very thankful for Ian Lund standing in for me as field director in my absence.  But then in the next few months I will be turning over my director responsibilities to Serge Razafinjatoniary who will live in Johannesburg and direct the work in Southern Africa from there.

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One of my last duties as director will be to participate in the dedication of the Sena New Testament in Beira.  I will continue on, serving as a translation consultant for our programs in Mozambique and in the Southern Africa region.

Our plan is to go back to Balama to live and be close by to encourage Jacob and Amisse as they close in on the final stages of checking the New Testament in Meetto.   The entire text is now in draft and Lord willing in the next few years we will be able to see it through the final checks, recording and preparation for publication.

Thank you for a refreshing time at home and for standing with us in prayer as we return to Africa to continue on in bringing God’s Word to those who still have not heard.

Pressing on,    John and Susan

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Ninswaliki 103 (Post Script)

4 September 2014
Stevensville, PA

Most Excellent Theophilus,

Yesterday I sent out a letter, Ninswaliki no.103. I made two errors. First, I presumptuously stated a phone number contact that I had not yet experimented. My apologies. I will indeed work to get a semi-permanent phone number and when I do I will let you know.
Secondly, I had promised to attach the following story which many have found encouraging. This was the account that Zacarias, our cook, related to me on a Monday morning about six weeks ago.

Back in Nampula, Zacarias arrived and related his adventures of the weekend. He has visited a remote village in Meconta District, that is, to the east of Nampula, about 40 km away. I can’t remember how he first landed up out there, but he now has a small group of believers meeting and he goes out to see them every few weeks for more teaching. This past weekend he wanted to go out again, but as he doesn’t have a motorbike he was looking for someone who could go out with him and give him a ride. It was then that he discovered that João was staying with his brother, in Zac’s old house. Apparently there was another round-up of political undesirables and so João had to disappear from his own house. João has a motorbike, and so it was very convenient for both of them – Zac who needed wheels, and João who needed to get out of town and be unseen for a bit. They went to the village in Meconta District and had a grand time preaching. Apparently this is one of those many villages in the Nampula hinterland that has not a hint of evangelical presence in it. The people were all ears and uncommonly welcoming and they spent most of the day together. Later in the day, as they passed through another village on the way back to Nampula, they suffered a major blowout. They didn’t have the necessary tools with them to fix the flat and so sought out the local motorcycle tire repairman and he set to fixing their tire. While waiting, the local village leadership approached them with their typical suspicion of strangers and asked them why they were there. They responded with blunt frankness, “We’re evangelists, on our way home from preaching the gospel in the next village.” The village leaders were likely driven by jealousy, and not wanting to be outdone by the next village, they urged them to preach there as well – right now! So, within minutes there were gathered a huge number, most of the village, as João and Zac shared the gospel with these people. Zac noted that João, as a convert from this familiar background and being familiar with their holy writings, preached with uncommon boldness. Again, it was a village without any church of any kind and after their presentation Zac asked for a show of hands and virtually everyone raised their hand and said they wanted to know more. Zac is not so naive to believe that all these understood and believed, much less were interested in obeying the gospel, but the elders of the village did ask them to please come back and share more as well as to secure formal governmental recognition for having started a gospel work in that village. By the time all of this was over, it was getting dark and the tire was fixed. Plans were made for a return visit and they made their way back to Nampula.

What did you keep busy with the last time your car was in the shop?

Pressing On,
John

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