The MBTT Bible Translation
Completing the task God had laid in the hearts of Donald Fonseca and Bishop Andrea Vuni from 1958-1964 Madi Burulo Bible Translation of the New Testament from the book of Matthew - Revelation is underway. The project was started in 1957 by a young American Missionary Donald Fonseca and his South Sudanese co-laborer, the late Bishop Andrea Vuni. Mr. Donald Fonseca and his wife Ruth got married in 1957 and took off to the mission field to Sudan. God took them from one place to another until He brought them to my grandfather, Bishop Andrea Vuni in the village of Opari, Eastern Equatoria state. There, for the next 7 years, they worked together to translate the Gospel According to John from English /Hebrew /Greek to Madi Burulo which is a language spoken by the Madi of Moli and Madi of the Bori community of Sudan. The work of the translation was brought to halt by the Sudan Islamic regime in 1964 which was the year, I was born. They kicked out all the missionaries from Sudan as the country erupted in a protracted Islamic war of persecution targeting Christians and missionaries. The translation project has been hindered for 55 years to date. 5 years ago, Bishop Nickolao Vuni, the son of Bishop Andrea Vuni asked me to find Don Fonseca's where about in the USA because he wanted to know if he was still alive and whether he kept some of the manuscripts from the work he did with his father, the late bishop.? After a long search, 3 years ago, I stumbled upon this legendary missionary and his wife Ruth, both were in their 80s living in Franklin, TN in assisted home living. Mr. Fonseca gave me the completed Gospel of the book of John in Madi Burulo and he challenged me to take the mantle of leadership to finish the work he and my grandfather had started. It would take me the next 2 years after we met to find someone with whom we can launch this initiative. On my recent Missionary trip, I finally met the Elder who can help me achieve this task. I put in charge a 70-year-old gentleman name Jino Longa to take on the task of assembling a team of translators from among the community. In Opari, we met with Pastor William Bandassi and Pastor Martin to discuss the plan to start translating the New Testament from English to Madi Burulo and the opportunity to open a church. These men are all on board with the plan. Praise the Lord. Now we need your prayers as we get the ball rolling.
On July, 27, We convened a meeting led by Mr. Jino Longa and Pastor Michael Levi in Juba with Madi Burulo pastoral Elders about the initiative to translate the New Testament into Madi Burulo. I welcome the outcome of the gathering and the content of what was discussed. This is an overdue effort because Madi Burulo is a language in South Sudan, spoken among a very, very small Hebraic tribe of Pageri county in Eastern Equatoria state about to die off. We must complete that initiative which our Late Bishop Andrea Vuni and Donald Fonseca had started from 1958- 1964.
We want to thank Bishop Nikolao Vuni , Chairman of the Madi Burulo Bible translation team, for hosting the first meeting in respect to monumental task ahead of us. It is not only monumental task ahead of us, but it is also the spiritual accountability we must be concerned about, i.e. from what translation and Linguistical source of the Bible to Madi Burulo. ? Skeptics, and scorners who scorn the word of God, always assign the blame on inaccuracies of the Bible due to the fact that words are lost in linguistic translation. There are those like Muslims and atheists who lie and falsify things saying vile things that the Bible is not the word of God. So, in the light of this, pending attacks from the enemies of our very existence, it is imperative for the translation team to conduct due diligence research in the Linguistical dictionary of Greek, and Hebrew, and of course English as part of a broader oversight in translation.
From our side of ONMI and the Nile Beth Israel Messianic Congregation, we came together as a board and met Jino Longa and shared our vision to insert the Biblical Translation Department within our existing initiatives back up with a budget which we can undertake and account for. We want to network with the Chairman of Madi Burulo Bible translation team, Bishop Nikolao Vuni of CBC, Pastor William Bandassi of AIC, Ambassador Angelo Vuga, and several Madi Burulo speaking Pastors, Bishops and even historians to be on the board of Counsel of Elders to advise us when needed going about the translation beginning with the book of Matthew. We set up our headquarters at Yerushalayim Summit on Gordon MT. Mr. Jino Longa will be our full-time staff. Part-time staff and contributors will be paid on commission as per need.
Quarterly meeting will take place at our headquarters on Gordon MT compound. We will sponsor the events in full. The event will be one-two days depending on the gravity of the meeting. when Jino Longa and Pastor Michael Levi met with the team, they found out, several pastors and Bishops have started the translation project which is a good plan. I also learned that all the Pastors and Bishops who are involved in the translation of various books in the New Testament are from prominent and established congregations of AIC, CBC and, ECSS, who have already started the translation before this meeting. So since we are assigned the book of 1 Corinthians, we will not go back to the Gospel of Matthew.
So, it should be expected that this effort must continue as it is. From our point of view, each respective church should and must contribute to the cost of the translation to cover the cost of the translation and the translator. We are going to cover the cost of Jino Longa, who will be spearheading this initiative as the secretary of the translation team.
These are things I would like us to commit in prayers.
1- Operation Nehemiah Missions can commit to one term expense to purchase 12 laptops and printers for each translator. - $10,000.0
2- ONMI can invest in printing Press where we can take the manuscript and print the book ourselves once the manuscripts are ready.
3- We are assigned the book of 1 Corinthians, great, we will work on that with Jino Longa.
Pray for the translation team to not hastily get involved in this project. Everyone must check their motives before God as to why they are moved to do this important project. Every man's work and motive will be tested by God through His word because we are doing His work and He wants us to be right with him. But too Satan will get permission to disrupt the work. He will assign diabolical adversity to tempt each one of us. God forbid, he wants this work to fail.
5- Central to that need is to pray that money issue and murmuring, division, blame, and Gossip and etc. We must come against this as one.
6- Seeking God's wisdom and provision of funding, favor to bring the project to completion." Unless the Lord builds the house, we shall all labor in vain."
7 - Let us pray that the Madi Burulo Bible Translation Team this time, next year will visit Israel and walk on the same land where Jesus himself walked. Pray for me because I will be going to Israel in November 2019 for a week to set the stage.
In His grace
William Levi, Founder, and Overseer