Falam Chin Literacy

  • Location: Myanmar
  • Bible Completion Date: 2018
The Falam Chin people reside in and around the city of Falam, the former capital of Chin State (1892-1965), which can be found in a township of the same name. The Falam Chin-speakers in Myanmar number about 69,000, with a total of approximately 108,000 worldwide. The faithful ministry of American missionaries resulted in the vast majority of Falam Chin people converting to Christianity. Ninety percent of them profess Christianity, 60% of whom claim to be evangelical, predominantly Baptist. Ethnic religions make up the remaining 10% of the population. Most of the youth and some of the older people, if educated, can read Falam.
The Falam Chin believers greatly desired an accurately translated, understandable Bible, so the Revival Baptist Churches of Myanmar presented their request for assistance with a New Testament translation project to Bibles International in a letter written August 5, 2004, and BI adopted the project in February 2005. In reality, BI consultants had been working informally with Falam Chin New Testament translators since 2002. The project team finished, printed, and dedicated the Falam Chin New Testament translation in 2009, while the BI literacy department developed a writer's handbook, a reading primer, and an Old Testament storybook in partnership with the Falam Chin project.
Following the completion of the Falam Chin New Testament, several BI consultants began working with the Falam Chin translators on the Old Testament translation in 2010. Dr. Timothy Mang diligently continued the translation work as head translator while traveling to sixteen different countries during these years and conducting consultant workshops in four different countries. Upon the completion of the Old Testament translation in 2018, seven different locations celebrated the Chin Standard Bible's publication with joyous dedication services throughout November and December of that year. Myanmar hosted five dedication services, while another took place in a neighboring country and one more in Brisbane, Australia. More than 3,000 people attended to celebrate this joyous occasion, momentous not only for providing the Falam Chin people with the Word of God in their language but also for additional reasons unique to this project. For only the second time in its history, BI was privileged to support and work with national believers from the beginning to the end of a full Bible project. Additionally, God's grace allowed the translation of the entire Bible in just 16 years, only a few more years than the average completion time for a New Testament translation. The Falam Chin and all those involved with the translation and literacy work saw considerable cause for jubilant celebration. An elderly Falam woman, surrounded by the joyful celebration and praise, unwrapped her new Bible, opened it, and began to read with tears filling her eyes. For over 16 years, she had testified to Dr. Mang, "I pray every day that God would allow me to read His Word in my own Falam language before I die." God, with His infinite wisdom and perfect timing, answered her prayer and the faithful prayers of many more believers at the dedication of the Falam Chin Bible. Literacy development continues, with a writers’ handbook completed in 2018.

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