The Sara Kaba Naa Bible Project

Profile of the Sara Kaba Naa-speaking People

Location

  • Primarily in Chad, Africa
  • Some speakers in the Central African Republic

Speakers

  • 35,000 (Ethnologue); 65,000 (Joshua Project)

Religion

  • Primarily Christian (74% adherence with 28% evangelical)
  • 24% practice Animism

Literacy

  • Literacy primers and Old Testament storybooks were written and distributed
  • Teacher training took place in 2011

 

Overview

Communication with the Sara Kaba Naa through school boys who knew French or Sango first started in the 1940s when Baptist Mid-Missions missionaries went to Kyabe, to the northeast of Sarh. The missionaries began translating the Sara Kaba Naa language into some simple songs and verses and began a dictionary. Later another BMM missionary began translating the Gospel of John and some hymns. BMM missionaries Nancy Knopf and Ada Temple began a serious study of the language and using a new orthography required by the government began to translate the New Testament. In 1973 the missionaries were expelled from Chad, and the churches were forced to close. In 1975 the churches were finally allowed to open again, and one of the pastors, Moses Taramba, felt the Lord would have him work on completing the New Testament. With the return of the missionaries in the early ‘80s, among them Ada Temple, much progress was made on the New Testament.

Bibles International was originally organized by Baptist Mid-Missions in 1981 to give coordination and help to its translation efforts scattered around the world. Ada came to Bibles International in 1986 with the manuscript of the newly translated Sara Kaba Naa New Testament. For six weeks she and another lady did the final editing and proofread the entire New Testament. By the end of that time, Ada’s linguistic gifts had become evident; she was invited to join the ministry of BI permanently.

There is no question that the translation of the New Testament has furthered the church among the Sara Kaba Naa. One national gave this testimony:

Since the arrival of the New Testament in Sara Kaba Naa, there has been an increase in the number of churches and Christians. In the town of Kyabe, there used to be only one prayer meeting. Now there are six classes that have been organized. All this because teaching has become clear in our New Testament. Some churches that had been closed since the difficulties of 1975 were reopened.”

Work is now being done on the Old Testament as the churches of the Sara Kaba Naa desire a complete Bible. BI missionary consultant Anna Beth Wivell is working with the nationals on this effort.

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