The Sara Madjingay (Sar) people reside in the southwestern region of Chad and number about 183,000. Although 91% of the population profess Christianity, 32% of whom claim to be evangelical, animism and Muslim beliefs remain a strong influence among the people and culture. Six Chadian tribes utilize the Sara Madjingay dialect as their main language. Due to literacy development within the churches, along with their use of the Sara Madjingay literacy primers and Old Testament Storybooks, the churches see a higher literacy rate than that of the general population.
Chadian believers received their first New Testament in 1972 from Baptist Mid-Missions missionaries. That same year, the Chadian government attempted to force all citizens to undergo pagan tribal initiation rites in the name of nationalism. When the believers refused to comply, 13 Sara Madjingay pastors from the original translation team, along with other faithful believers, were tortured and killed. Their steadfast faith in God's Word gave them the courage to go to their death in its defense.
Due to years of wear and tear from constant use of the volumes, along with jungle rot and mildew, not a single copy remained from the 1972 edition for the Sara Madjingay believers to use, so Bibles Internationial completed and dedicated the second Sara Madjingay New Testament in 1986. Following its dedication, missionaries and Bible school students traveled into the bush to share the Scriptures with other Chadians. One reported that 90 people accepted the Lord as Savior after only two days of preaching. Another believer testified, "When I heard it, even when no one explained it, I understood what was written in the Word of God." The new translation has made a tremendous impact on the Sara Madjingay people, as over 100 pastors teach from the Sara Madjingay New Testament, evangelists preach from it in itinerant ministries, and every copy of the second edition New Testament has found its way into the hands of the Sara Madjingay people.
Bibles International adopted the Sara Madjingay Old Testament translation project in August 1994, with Jean Madjisem as the main translator. The team has completed trial editions of Genesis, Exodus, and the Minor Prophets as well as an Old Testament Storybook.
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