The Haitian Creole-speaking people reside on the western third of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea, between Puerto Rico and Cuba. They number about 7,000,000, with an additional 1,000,000 living in the United States. The majority of the Haitians (94.9%) profess Christianity, 17.74% of whom claim to be evangelical. Although Haiti recognizes two official languages, French and Haitian Creole, more Haitians speak and understand Creole than they do French. The Haitian Creole language obtained legal and educational status in 1961, resulting in 61% literacy among Haitian adults.
Since Baptist Mid-Missions began church planting in Haiti in the early 1930s, Bible-believing churches among the Haitian people have significantly increased in number. About 10% of the Christian churches in Haiti classify as Baptist, but a general lack of understanding of the Bible caused by the limitations of the available Scripture translations hindered church growth. The Haitian believers only had access to a French Bible that a majority of them could not understand and a Creole translation with significant inherent weaknesses.
Bibles International adopted the Creole New Testament project in 1990 with Dr. Hantz Bernard as the main translator and Ross Hodsdon as the BI senior consultant for the project. Spiritual opposition to this project manifested itself in various ways, including two car accidents involving the translator and consultants, but in 2002, BI published their first Haitian Creole New Testament and printed 13,000 copies. After revising this translation, the translation committee printed an additional 35,000 copies in 2007. Another publication of the New Testament, with the inclusion of Psalms and Proverbs, produced 15,000 more copies in 2016.
Although thankful for the provision of some of the Scriptures in their language, the Haitian believers greatly desire to have the Old Testament translated into their Creole language as well. BI adopted the project in 2008; however, eight years passed before finding a translator who could translate the Old Testament. Now, with Dr. Daniel Telfort as the main translator for this project working alongside BI consultants, the translation work continues on the Haitian Creole Bible.
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