The Ngbandi-Ngiri, Lobala, Mono, and Pagabete New Testaments (left-to-right)
In April 2021, Jessica and I traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to participate in the dedication of four New Testaments: Mono, Lobala, Ngbandi-Ngiri, and Pagabete. For me, this was the fulfillment of many years of hard work, sacrifice, and prayer.
In the 1990s, I lived in DRC (then Zaire) doing linguistics research on Mono and laying the groundwork for the Mono New Testament. Together with SIL colleagues and local leaders, we established a writing system for Mono (i.e. alphabet, punctuation, etc.), and this research formed the basis for my PhD dissertation, “The phonology and morphology of Mono.”
In the 2000s, I taught at the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology in a program for training mother-tongue Bible translators. Among my students were the project leaders for the Mono, Lobala, Ngbandi-Ngiri, and Pagabete translation projects.
In the mid-2000s, these project leaders “took the reigns” and began translating. There were difficult circumstances along the way (e.g. funding issues), but the translators persevered and brought the four New Testaments to completion.
Now the Mono, Lobala, Ngbandi-Ngiri, and Pagabete people can read the New Testament for themselves!