The 1.9 million Sena people live a simple live along the Zambezi River in central Mozambique. They live in houses constructed of sticks and mud. They grow rice and corn for their families but often experience a shortage of food in February and March. After several decades of civil war the church is seeing much growth as a result of new found religious freedom. Currently an estimated 40% of the population of Mozambique claim to be Christians. The Sena people have a high regard for their own language and desire to see it written and developed. In 2000 the Christian community organized a translation committee that is still active. They began partnering with The Seed Company in 2005.
In mid 2009, the translation team had the opportunity to visit the women’s group in the church of Lamego, a small village in the Sena-speaking area. What’s interesting is that this church is using the Sena Scriptures for worship just as quickly as they can be translated and printed. Many of the believers are unable to read, so the entire congregation has been memorizing Bible passages in Sena to use during the services.
The women’s group has been especially devoted. As they studied the Gospel of Mark, they found they couldn’t understand many of the Old Testament allusions in that book. They understood what the text said, but they’d just never learned much about the Old Testament. So a missionary who works with them spent several months helping them learn the Old Testament references in Mark. All her instruction had to be done in the Sena language, using stories and simple drawings.
Meeting with these women was an encouragement to the translation team; most of these women have never learned to read, yet already they’re using the Sena Scriptures to learn about Jesus. Without God’s Word in their own language, they would have been cut off from this teaching.
Praise God for giving this small Sena congregation His much-needed Word in their own mother tongue.
Thank the Lord for impressing upon this church the worth and usefulness of the Scriptures in their language.
Pray that God will richly reward the eager desire of the women’s group to understand His Word.