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Kenya: Bible translation pledge

June 2019

The Deputy President of Kenya, Dr William Ruto, has pledged that the government of Kenya will stand shoulder to shoulder with Bible translators ‘until every citizen of this country will read the Word of God in their mother tongue’.

This promise came during a speech he gave in April, in Kilifi, to celebrate the dedication of a full Bible in Giryama, part of Wycliffe’s translation work.

The event was attended by over 2,500 people, including church leaders, government officials, Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL) Kenya workers and partners (including people serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators), and Giryama community members.

Dr Ruto was the chief guest of the day, though the dedication was presided over by the assistant bishop of the diocese of Mombasa, Bishop Lawrence K Dena, assisted by five other bishops from the region.

The dedication represents the fulfilment of a project begun back in the 1980s. The Giryama New Testament was completed in 2004, but following ongoing work by Bible translation teams, now the Giryama have the whole Bible.

One church leader, called Peter, said, ‘The tool we are putting in the hands of the Giryama people today is the only thing that can bring a lasting transformation in their lives.

‘We, the Giryama community, will never walk again in darkness, because light has come to this land through the Bible that we dedicate today’.

Kenya has 53 recognised languages. Of these, 16 still have no Scriptures, one has some specific Bible stories, six have selected parts, 12 have just the New Testament, and 18 have the Bible. Wycliffe is currently engaged in two projects in Kenya.