The Malila people of Tanzania dedicated a translation of the New Testament in their language on Sept. 5, at an event held in Ilembo. The Malila are hopeful that the New Testament in their language will reach across the generations.
“It will draw Christians . . . to understand the Bible in their language,” said one church leader. “Because when you speak Swahili with them they don’t understand, but when you speak Malila they do. Even the elderly, they love to listen [when they hear Malila spoken].”
The 70,000 Malila live high in the mountains in the Mbeya Region of Tanzania. Their language is the dominant language in Malila society, and is spoken widely by children and adults alike.
The culmination of a translation effort that began in 2003, the event was attended by more than 100 people from the Malila language group, as well as local dignitaries, church leaders and visitors from outside the region.
Also attending were staff from Wycliffe Bible Translators, who work alongside the Malila Bible translation team.
The event included lively processions, songs in the Malila language sung by local church choirs, speeches, and plenty of food.
“Whenever I have been in the Malila language area,” says Wycliffe’s Helen Eaton, who served as a linguistic consultant to the project, “I have noticed just how vital the language is. People of all ages continue to choose to use Malila instead of Swahili when they are together with others who speak Malila.
“It’s wonderful that the Malila now have the whole New Testament in the language they love to use. I pray that God will use this to transform lives in the Malila community.”