A small ABT team of two families moved to Benin, West Africa, during 2017. This email introduces the Weno* language group among whom they are living. Although other Christian workers have been working with this large group of people in recent years, Bible translation and church planting is still a great need. This team responded to that need with the blessing of their church and ABT.
The Weno people have long and successfully resisted efforts to convince them of the Good News. As long ago as the 1940’s there were delegations who sought to reach the Weno, but when resistance was too great and neighboring people groups were welcoming, the natural thing to do was to say that God was “redirecting”! This is not to blame earlier outreach efforts, but it does help to explain how a people group as large as the Weno could go seemingly untouched until now.
The name Weno:
Because of the level of resistance that the Weno have shown towards the Good News, including current hostility towards family members who would like a New Life, it was deemed wise to code-name the project. This name is used in digital communication, but also by everybody on the ground. This is done to prevent any potential alarm caused by a devout local person overhearing a discussion of “the project.” The meaning of the code-name comes from a language several hours away, where the word means “now is the time.” Now is the time to advance the kingdom, now is the time to despise the resistance, now is the acceptable year of ‘our master,’ and we have been given gifts for a time like this. On so many levels the name is a fitting one for the project. Please beg our Father that now would truly be the time of lasting change!
Currently, a major portion of our team’s time is focused on language acquisition. Weno is a tonal language, so it has presented us with an interesting set of challenges, especially as the tone is affected by the surrounding tones and is, therefore, a ‘moving target.’ Another challenging aspect has been the many two-letter words and particles, all of which have an incredible array of uses and meanings. The language has a comparatively limited vocabulary, but “re-cycles” a lot of words. Our language helper calls it a “lazy language”!
My fellow team member,** who has been here with his family for several months longer than we have, has had great success building a network of contacts and friends via a creative access model. He is using very practical skills to fill a great need in our city. The avenue he has chosen allows him to have regular contact with many business owners and supervisors—and consequently their apprentices—in a way that is very relationship-building. Our desire is that many, many apprentices (and their bosses) would become disciples.
There is a very small team of local men who have begun with the translation. In fact, they will soon be done with ‘the beginnings’! We’re grateful for the progress that has been made, but there is still so much to do. Please ask for Favor and a Prospering Hand!
Give Thanks for:
-Language Learning progress
Please Ask for:
-Open & honest hearts
-Hunger for Reality
-Favored progress on all sides
-RH for the Weno team
*pseudonymous name of people group
**RH is an ABT Old Testament Translator (http://www.allnationsbibletranslation.org/go/be-an-old-testament-translator), and his teammate is an ABT Community Development Facilitator (http://www.allnationsbibletranslation.org/go/be-a-community-development-...).