Language: Kiwongo a.k.a. Wongo (ISO code: won)
Speakers: the Wongo and Bawongo in Congo-Kinshasa
Edition: Gospel of John, delivered in December 2012
The Gospel of John in Kiwongo
Among the projects that have had our attention in 2012, we had the joy of publishing 16,000 copies of the Gospel of John in the Kiwongo language in partnership with ASAREB (Swiss Association of Help to the Bandundu Region), an association founded by Liliane and Daniel Delessert-Eicher and family. These books are destined for the Wongo and the Bawongo ethnic groups who live in a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo located about 800 kilometers south-east of Kinshasa.
The translation of the New Testament in Kiwongo, begun in 1935, was carried on for 30 years by Hélène Eicher, a missionary in the isolated region of Balaka with her husband Auguste, a doctor. During that period of time she translated the Gospels and the book of Acts. Since then the language evolved considerably so that it became necessary to update those translations. By God’s grace, Liliane and Daniel met Jean Nkwembe, one of the best Wongo language specialists, during a recent stay in Balaka and then in Kikwit.
Mr Nkwembe, an attorney, is the son of one of the first pastors in Balaka. Strongly motivated to serve the Lord, he offered to update the Gospels and the book of Acts that had been translated more than 50 years ago and to continue the translation of the entire New Testament…”so that my people can finally have access to the Word of God.”
After completing the revision of the Gospel of John and having submitted it for checking by other specialists, he said: “Indeed, translation is no easy feat. It demands analyses, corrections, hours of work…The work of translation is moving along well. I am really on fire! God is working and giving wisdom and intelligence in this great work. Pray for me and for the Wongo people who will be so glad to have the New Testament in their mother tongue. Thank you!”
From Kikwit, Pastor Mayaya writes to his dear friends of MiDi Bible:
“Yes, it is a feeling of joy that moves me. I am so glad to hear and to see that someone is interested in my language. I will be overjoyed to see the arrival of the 16,000 copies of the Gospel of John in my Wongo mother tongue. May the Lord my God, who has permitted such an accomplishment to take place, bless you and be with you always.”
“We thank the Lord that we can do this work with you, MiDi Bible. It is fabulous to realize that you will help us to continue the translation and the publication of the New Testament in Kiwongo, the work started by my mother Hélène Eicher nearly 80 years ago. The Wongo people will finally read the Word of God in their heart language. Thank you, Lord, and thank you also from the Bawongos who are already rejoicing.”
Text updated in March 2013