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by Kenny McKee
I have been recording the New Testament on audio in Gabre-Kimre with Amos since around 2009. We record together when I am around and time permits...maybe 2 hours a week.
On the 29th December Amos flies to Chad to train a group of 120 pastors and evangelists for six weeks. He is taking our Saber MP3 players, solar panels for the players and A3 size Bible picture flip charts with him.
These 12 Sabers have been loaded with the new recordings we have made together. The Solar panels for the Sabers and the set of flip charts will increase the effectiveness of these Sabers. As well as the New Testament, GRN's 'Good News' has also been recorded and loaded.
Some other information.
The Gabri-Kimré people live in southern Chad. There are approximately 20,000 speakers. There are 17 villages, with the central being Kimré. Kimré has a dispensary, a small airstrip and a primary school. Most Gabri are farmers, cultivating crops and raising small animals, but this only just meets their needs, so many see themselves as being victims of their circumstances and dependent on outside support. This is common in many African countries as they have learnt to become dependent on the West to provide relief. So there is an opportunity for the churches to become counter-cultural, showing local people that through Christ they can be effectors of change rather than recipients.
Until 2008, the Bible was read in Ngambay or French. Sometimes the sermons were preached in Ngambay, and translated into Gabri, since most people do not understand Ngambay well enough. Pastors were trained in French or Ngambay, so sermons were more an exercise in translation than preaching.
In the 1970's Kabam André, a Gabri-Kimré pastor, started a language committee, which led to the first translations of hymns into Gabri. A literacy project was started in 1994 by Amos and Heather Oumounabidji, who developed the writing system, enabling Gabri people to read and write in their own language for the very first time. Bible translation began in late 1994 and the NT in Gabri was made available in 2008.
Pastors in Kimré area have no on-going training and limited resources. They attend Bible College for 4 years and then are appointed to a local church. Since many of them have little or no income, they have little time for their work as pastors, and there is limited support for them in their role. To bridge this gap, Amos, while working on the translation, spent time with local pastors in Kimré, mentoring and supporting them. Bible study was an integral part of this work.
Village churches have around 20 in their congregation within a village population of 100. Since they have only had access to the Gospel in their own language since 2008, there is still much to be done to enable local people to read, use and apply God's Word to their lives and the wider community. We trust these GRN audio recordings will bring life to those who hear"
Conditions in Chad are difficult with heat, travel, isolation & economic hardships. Please pray for Amos and the people who will hear of God's love from these Sabers.