The Chakma people reside in several Asian nations, numbering 378,000. Christian adherents make up only 5% of the population, an unknown percentage of whom claim to be evangelical, while 83% of the Chakma follow Buddhism. With a literacy rate of 70%, the educated Chakma and most men also use Bengali.
Pioneer missionaries from the Baptist Missionary Society of Great Britain brought the gospel to the Chakma people in the early 19th century, but unfortunately, mission work ceased when these missionaries died. A British Baptist missionary resumed work in the early 20th century.
A New Testament in Roman script, published in 1926, proved too difficult for modern readers, so the Chakma received another New Testament, translated and published in 1991, using Bangla (Bengali) script. Unfortunately, this translation did not resolve the difficulties, since the Chakma in other countries complete their education in English, and they do not speak Bengali, nor are they able to read Bangla script. The Chakma people needed a better New Testament translation printed in Roman script.
Bibles International received a request for translation and publication of a Chakma New Testament in Roman script from a Baptist church association in June 2000. Made up of 300 Chakma churches, the Baptist Church of Mizoram church association became the sponsorship committee for this translation project. Several BI personnel attended the dedication of this New Testament along with the joyful Chakma believers and BCM members on August 5, 2012.
Although three different New Testament translations have reached the Chakma people over the last century, the Chakma believers look forward to having a complete Bible in their language. After receiving a formal request to adopt the Chakma Old Testament project, BI adopted the project intending to make necessary revisions to the New Testament before the printing of the Old Testament translation. In 2019, BI printed and distributed the first Old Testament trial edition, Genesis, to the Chakma people.
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