The Inner Seraji speakers, a people group within the larger Kullu Pahari people group, number approximately 195,000, with a 40-50% literacy rate. Predominantly animist, the Inner Seraji worship local deities known as "devtas", with each village and clan claiming its own devta. Throughout the valley in which these people dwell, there are more than 300 devtas, giving it the name of "the valley of gods". Additionally, the village priest confirms all important decisions such as buying, selling, or traveling.
Although the Christian influence arrived in this valley slightly more than 40 years ago, only about 50 families practice Christianity among the Inner Seraji-speaking people, and church planting is just beginning. A national missionary, though not an Inner Seraji, began to evangelize years ago. When Bibles International learned of his work and adopted the Inner Seraji New Testament Translation project in March 2004, this well trained Christian brother and his wife became the translators. In addition to translation, they also worked on grammar, orthography, and a dictionary in the development of Inner Seraji. They also produced Inner Seraji evangelism booklets to prepare the hearts of the people for receiving the Scriptures.
With the printing of 4,000 copies of the Inner Seraji New Testament and the dedication held in October 2017, there was great rejoicing among the believers in these young churches. The three-hour service testified not only of the faithfulness of the dedicated believers who labored and waited for over 20 years, but also the graciousness and goodness of God in providing His people access to the Scriptures in a language they could finally read and understand for themselves. During the interim period before Old Testament translation begins, the translators will continue assisting with literacy and Scripture use among the Inner Seraji.
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