Nzanyi Luke going viral on cell phones

“My Muslim relatives are asking for a copy of the Gospel of Luke!”

The stories are coming in from the dedication of the Gospel of Luke in February:

Well over 500 people were there. Hundreds of copies were sold of Luke, The JESUS Film, The Reading and Writing Book, a Folktales Story Book and Megavoice, a solar-powered MP3 player with Luke on it. One person paid 300,000 Nira ($1700 USD) for a copy of Luke, out of pure delight (and out of a desire to support the project)! On the dedication day alone the project raised 2,300,000 Nira (over $15,000 USD).

Since the dedication, Immanuel from our team has sold 240 copies of Luke, 150 copies of Folktales, 150 copies of the Reading and Writing book, and 150 copies of the JESUS Film DVD, and he is only one of many people who are selling them, including a number of Muslims. There are orders for hundreds more of each. The Megavoice players have run out, so they have ordered another 120 from the manufacturer. People are complaining that they didn't know that the dedication would have all this or they would have come, and they are now asking for copies. People now know about the Nzanyi Bible translation project and many are giving to help support it, both Christians and non-Christians.

MP3s of Luke are going viral on people's cell phones. Both Christians and Muslims have bought them and are listening to them daily.

One person writes, " I sent a copy of the Gospel of Luke on Megavoice to my mother who is a Muslim. My younger sister told me that almost everybody in the house goes to hear the Megavoice every evening. Two of my younger brothers also came requesting copies of the Book of Luke, Megavoice, Folk tales, Reading and writing Nzanyi. I have been receiving calls from other relatives, most of whom are Muslims, asking for their own copies."

The former Nigerian Ambassador to Zimbabwe is a Nzanyi speaker. He is listening to his Megavoice MP3 player and following along in the printed Luke and is learning to read Nzanyi that way. He told others about his method and now this is also spreading.

Over the past year the following books have been drafted: Mark, John, Acts, Philemon, 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude. Mark has also been team checked and back-translated and the first six chapters have been consultant checked (as of today). Acts is in that process now. A Nzanyi student at theological college is translating 1 Timothy as a class project, and the main translator is about to start on Genesis.

The Word of God is being put into the heart-language of the Nzanyi people. Regardless of their religious background, they are hungrily devouring it and it is changing lives.

With greetings from Nigeria,

John Heins

One of the Rakaai translation team members wrote the following at the end of a workshop to express his enthusiasm for what they were able to accomplish.


I want my people to hear, read, have and understand the Word of God in our mother tongue for the following reasons:

The Bible translation guides my life:- I have been involved in the Bible translation since August, 2010, when I started working with the translators as their typist. But I had no peace of mind because the Bible translation work conflicted with my job with Nigeria Telecommunication Services. So I decided to drop one job and carry on with the other. The allowance from my old job was almost four times the translation allowance. But the blessings, knowledge and respect I receive from the translation work is beyond measure compared to that of my old job. So I dropped that job and fully involved myself in the translation work. Every day my faith increases and I am restricted from bad influences that are contrary to the Christian doctrines.

The Bible translation opens my mind:- Since I was about ten years old, I have known how to read the Hausa Bible and have memorized over 100 verses. But it was all from the Hausa Old Version Bible, which consists of a more literal translation than the King James Version. As I am progressing in the Bible translation work and comparing my memory verses with the Rakaai translation, I have discovered that there are many misinterpretations of meaning in the verses I have memorized. In fact, sometimes it hurts me to imagine how children are stressing themselves trying to memorize the difficult versions of the Bible like I did. I now realize that I had been keeping only the form of these verses in my mind without considering the meaning behind them. Also, I now realize that the Word of God needs to be interpreted/translated in a simple way so that even laymen will understand the intended message of the original text.

The Bible translation gives me a vision and a mission:- In the process of translating the Bible into my language, I often go to local churches for preliminary testing. I always get shocked when I hear people discussing/arguing about issues in the Bible and concluding that they actually don’t understand what it says. This is not because they don’t know how to read the Bible, but because the translation they are using is too hard for them to understand. In fact, they don’t know either the Hausa or English languages very well. Whenever I go for preliminary testing of our translation, many people respond in surprise as they see how we interpreted the Word of God in our mother tongue. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever said that the interpretation of the Hausa Bible is better than Rakaai. This is because they know the Rakaai language better than any other language.This convinced me that everyone needs to hear, read, have and understand the Word of God in his mother tongue.

The word of God will never be void; it must accomplish its purpose in every individual life.