Thursday, April 7, 2011

Missionaries Create Alphabet Bible For West African Language


After 15 years living among the Buem people in Ghana, in 1996 Andy Ring's work was finally complete.

With help from villagers, his wife, Kate, and a team in the U.S., the Daytona Beach native successfully created an alphabet for the Lelemi language and translated the Bible's New Testament into Lelemi -- the first book ever written in that West African language. All that was left was a celebration for the book's dedication.

"The first person to meet me outside the doors as they ushered us out the back, singing and dancing in celebration, was a man from over the mountain. ... He said, 'The chief of (my) people has asked me to come and ask you, what about our language?' " Ring recalled.

"In fact, there were three men there, all from different languages, who had been sent by their communities to say, 'What about writing our language?' "

So the Rings stayed in Africa for 15 more years.

Back in America now, the Rings are still involved in Bible translations through Wycliffe Bible Translators. On March 31, Andy Ring was a guest speaker during a Wycliffe banquet at Sunset Harbor Yacht Club in Daytona Beach.

Every year, Wycliffe offers free banquets throughout the country where translators share their experiences, according to Don Skekel, who serves with Wycliffe Associates. He called Andy Ring "one of the top half a dozen speakers that we use" because of his communication skills and field experience.

"He has translated one New Testament, he and Kate, and has since trained four other language groups to do their own translation work. And that is completed, and now he is working with a group of about 10 or 12 languages in Nigeria to do the same," Skekel said.

Read More From The Daytona Beach News-Journal

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