The Latest Launch: The Guji Gathering!

Imagine what it must be like to wait 25 years for something to happen! That’s how long the Guji translation project has been on the go – but, just two weeks ago, the Guji people of Ethiopia finally received their full Bible. There were three well-attended dedication services in three different locations, with thousands of Guji people gathering to celebrate. Whilst we haven’t yet received a full report, I did receive a couple of WhatsApp messages from someone who attended – and I thought it best to let those unpolished reports speak for themselves, to give you a flavour of what it was like:

“Dear Friends. We had an exhausting but amazing time yesterday at the launch of the full Bible for the Guji people. We flew in a light aircraft to a dirt landing strip lined by curious onlookers, some cows and some guards who were trying to keep people off the airstrip. Our first attempt to land failed because the clouds were too low. And so after diverting to another region and waiting for a couple of hours, the pilot then succeeded on his second attempt by descending very cautiously to break through the clouds, to find the air strip.

We then had a half-hour journey, rocking and bouncing about in a 4×4 at high speed, along very bumpy dirt roads – brushing past donkeys, tuk-tuks and pedestrians. When we arrived at the venue we had to squeeze our way through thousands of people to our designated seats. The speeches that I could understand were good and the people lovely. Laughing, joyful people caressed my hair, shook my hand (a gazillion times) and embraced me into a score of selfies, in a sweet and respectful way. At the end we were pressed to stay for a meal of goat, chicken and fish, and whilst our pilots were anxious to get away in order to land in the allotted time at Addis, we eventually made it back with 2 minutes to spare! It’s been such an epic blessing for me. Scratching away behind the scenes as an editor in our training department can sometimes make me feel as though I’m not very useful – but to see 200,000 Bibles given away for free was a privilege”!

“The joy that these Bibles bring outweighs the grief of my loss”…..

Amidst the news of these incredible celebrations, there is some a sobering news as well. A week before the events took place, as the truckload of Bibles arrived in the region, crowds of Guji people on horseback and on motorbikes gathered to celebrate. However, a tragedy occurred when a passing truck ploughed into three young men who were celebrating, all of whom were killed. Just a week later, the father of one of those young men was asked to speak at one of the dedication events. This is what he said: “There is sadness at the gate of my home…but I am also filled with joy because we now have the Bible in our own language. Like Simon who saw baby Jesus at the temple, I am now ready to be released! The joy that these Bibles bring outweighs the grief of my loss – so go and spread this gospel that is now in our own language”. That’s how much the Word of God means to those who have never had it before! And my prayer is that I may be filled with a greater passion to get the Bible out to people in their heart language.

Ethiopia – the stats: Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a landlocked country in East Africa. It shares its borders with Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan & Sudan. It’s five times as big as the UK in regard to its land-area, and is the 10th largest country on the African continent (472,000 sq. miles). Ethiopia has a population of 129 million people, which make it the 13th most populous country in the world, and the 2nd most populous in Africa. With so many different tribal groups, there are over 88 different languages spoken in the country!

Ethiopia has had, and continues to have, its fair share of troubles, including civil wars, famine, drought, political instability and inter-ethnic clashes. In 1974 Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed and a Soviet-backed military junta took power for nearly 17 years. During that oppressive communist rule, many churches were closed, Christians were persecuted, and some pastors were imprisoned. However, following the collapse of communism in 1991, Christianity has since become the most widely professed faith in the country! TWFTW has been working there since 1998, and is currently involved in 28 translation and literacy projects.

Diary Dates (UK Director):

  • 2nd July:    Mid-term review zoom meetings with Seed Company, our major partner 
  • 5-13 July:  Family holiday to the Orkney Islands in Scotland
  • 17 July:     Preaching at mid-week service – Corsham Baptist Church, Wiltshire (PM)
  • 19 July:     All-day meeting with Growth Partners Development consultant – Burford
  • 21 July:     Preaching at Ladyfield Evangelical Church, Chippenham (AM)
  • 24 July:     IllumiNations Comm meeting at Evangelical Alliance offices in London
  • 28 July:     Preaching at Corsham Baptist, Wiltshire (AM)

Praise & Prayer Points:

  • Ethiopia: Praise God that the full Guji Bible has now been published, after 25 years of work!! Pray that these Bibles would be used and that lives would be changed for Christ. The Ethiopian office is also looking for a National Director as the current Regional Director’s responsibilities continue to increase. Pray for the right person to be found.
  • Serbia/Croatia: All three team’s (Arli, Chargash, Gurbet) are progressing faster than planned! Pray for Michal as he becomes the consultant for these three languages, and for Saša,  the National Director, as he organises the teams. 
  • Continuous Prayers:
    • Protection for translators and their families in regions of conflict
    • Safe travels for all team members on the move
    • Guidance and discernment for both new and ongoing engagements
    • Divine connections for the right individuals to collaborate with TWFTW
    • Wisdom in managing time, finances, and resources with diligence

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