The Long Phuri Naga people reside in the Layshi township in the Sagaing state of Myanmar. Numbering between 1,000 and 2,500, with an additional 4,500 living in neighboring countries, approximately 98% of the Long Phuri profess Christianity. The first Long Phuri believer, Mg Maung Thein, heard the gospel from his Christian friends as a young man. After accepting Christ as his Savior, he attended a Christian seminary in Yangon, and following his graduation in 1968, he returned to his people to spread the gospel. Thanks to the far-reaching impact of this man's childhood friends, around 30 churches exist today among the Long Phuri people.
After learning of Bibles International's work among their neighbors, the Goga, the Long Phuri believers contacted BIMS in 2019, requesting textbooks, a dictionary, and a Bible. Previous translation efforts had resulted in portions of the Scriptures in an ancient Long Phuri language script; however, the Long Phuri are unable to read any of them today, as the modern language remains unwritten.
In early 2020, the BI literacy team met with two Long Phuri groups in Layshi, Myanmar. During this productive meeting, everyone worked well together, demonstrating a friendliness and passion for their common goal of Long Phuri language development, the only language that all of them could use to understand one another. Already, the Long Phuri have created a "first reader" to show their language's current orthography. In an excellent show of initiative and vision for future ministry, the Long Phuri believers have begun teaching this book in their churches among the adults, with plans to begin teaching the children to read the language during their summer camp programs. Although children speak it at home, they do not yet read Long Phuri.
The Long Phuri believers greatly desire God's Word in their language, despite the enormity of the task and their need for additional help. They long for their children to know more about Christ, but their young people cannot understand other languages well enough to learn from the currently available resources. The two representative groups have begun writing songs in Long Phuri for their churches, supporting and encouraging one another as they pray and look forward to the day when their people, both young and old, can read God's Word in their language and understand every word.
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