There are few things as thrilling as seeing Believers receive the Message in their language. In many countries of the world, English is spoken by many, and may even be the national language, but there may be a significant portion that can only receive the Message in their native tongue. Nigeria is just such a country, and this is the burden of Bible Believers.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, most commonly referred to as “Nigeria” is a West African country boasting just over 225 million inhabitants spread across 356 600 sq mi.
It is the most populous country of Africa and is ranked sixth in the world as far as population size.
As it is common amongst African countries, there is an official language and multiple dialects spoken by diverse ethnic groups across the country.
With English being its official language, at first it may appear that a need for non-English translations is not as important. Initially, our impression was that the vast majority of the educated population would be able to read and hear the Message in their official language.
However, we have come to find out the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria (Hausa in the north, the Yoruba in the west and the Igbo in the east) represent 60% of the Nigerian population, roughly about 135 million inhabitants.
The Yoruba ethnic group represents over 20% of the population, roughly 50 million, split between Nigeria, and neighboring countries Togo and Benin.
It is estimated that only 50-60% of the Nigerian population is proficient in English or at least speaks some form of English. This implies that over 110 million people would not be able to read the Message of The Hour.
To put this in perspective, if the Message was in a foreign language and the USA literacy rate in that language was similar to Nigeria’s English literacy rate, over 165 million Americans would not be able to Hear the revealed truth of the hour in their native tongue.
This put a burden on several brothers now realizing that translations in these major ethnic languages are critical, as we labor to find the last sheep, which may very well be a Yoruba speaking believer that is yet to hear the Word of the Hour in their language.
Some Yoruba translations were available in the past, most notably the Seven Church Ages, when Brother Yomi, who immigrated to Cloverdale Bible Way in Canada from Nigeria, began translating one Message in Yoruba and found that the need for translations in this language was far more than He could keep up with and far more than what was initially thought.
This burden was communicated to Missions Director, Bro Tim Dodd, who, in coordination with Bro George Oyetola of Nigeria set up a team of translators and proofreaders who began the work in November 2021.
Working at the rate of 10 translations per month, the Yoruba language now contains 110 translations.
In 2022, believers in Nigeria, under the same burden began to raise funds to print a thousand copies of 4 titles every quarter. These printed books have been distributed and received with great joy.
Once again, this underscores the importance of local believers catching the vision and the burden of the Hour for their own people.
In conclusion, let us remind ourselves of the vision of John in Revelation 7:9
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
Yoruba Believers rejoicing
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