The Ranglong people dwell among the deep green valleys, picturesque hills, and lush verdant fields of the eastern Himalayan mountains. One of the well-known sub-tribes of a vast Asian community, the Ranglong number approximately 8,000, with 80% of the population professing Christianity, 25% of whom claim to be evangelical, and 20% following animist practices. In addition to their language, the Ranglong speak Bengali, Mizo, and English.
Beginning with the salvation and baptism of Mualzuiril Ranglong in 1956, God worked through Baptist Mid-Missions to call the Ranglong to saving faith in Him. Bible studies among the youth initiated a rapid spread of the gospel to the rest of the people, resulting in a significant majority of the Ranglong leaving behind their animistic beliefs and trusting in Christ. Seventeen Baptist churches now exist among this small group.
While ministering to their church members, Ranglong preachers and teachers read Scripture in another languages but orally translated into Ranglong, which caused troublesome inaccuracies when studying the Word of God. The New Testament translation project began in 1987 and finished in 2003, to the considerable delight of Ranglong believers. In addition to the work on the New Testament, the translation project also included literacy improvement efforts through the publication of a Ranglong primer in 1995.
Immediately following the completion of the Ranglong New Testament, the enthusiastic believers expressed their desire for the entire Bible in their language. In a letter written to Bibles International in February 2003, the Ranglong confessed their need: "We are very sure that translating the Old Testament in [the] Ranglong language is very uncertain if [the Bible societies] do not do it for us. We are in need and want to read and learn the Word of the Lord in our own language, so that we understand better."
Despite the 2003 recommendation and 2004 adoption of the Old Testament project, translation work ceased for seven long years before reviving in 2011 and becoming one of the fastest moving projects in the country. Meanwhile, BI continued its efforts to improve literacy among the Ranglong by publishing two Old Testament storybooks in 2004 and 2006, a revised primer in 2015, teacher training materials in 2016, and a Writers’ Handbook in 2019. These resources and endeavors have raised Ranglong literacy to 80%.
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