COUPLE COMMITS THEIR LIVES TO TRANSLATING THE BIBLE INTO IKA LANGUAGE

 

That
is the true position of a wonderful couple, Dr. and Mrs. Chinedu Obinna Luke
Anya who despite their privileged status in the society, has opted to commit
their lives to doing the work of God and assisting the under-privilege in Ika
Community.

 

Dr.
Anya who is a medical doctor and his loving wife Mrs. Ebelle Anya have been
fully committed in missionary work in Ika land with the translation of the
Bible into Ika language. The couple who spoke to Ika Weekly recently
said that even though the job of translating the bible to Ika language has been
very tedious and demanding, they derive so much joy and satisfaction in doing
it.

 

Dr.
Anya who disclosed that he had to abandon his medical career to go into full
time bible translation into many other local languages, especially Ika
language, stated that as the translation work increased his medical work
diminished, until it (medical work) had to take the background to enable him
concentrate more on what he said was a personal calling. “The translation work
has been going on and has become increasingly more demanding and our whole
lives have now gone into it. Though I still engage in skeletal medical work
which we do for 3 main reasons; (1) to assist people who need medical attention
but cannot pay for it, which we give to them at no cost; (2) Any time medical
work proves helpful for the bible translation endeavour we bring it out fully which
may be either to raise money for bible work or to create contact for the work
and (3) we apply it as it acts as door opener for every aspect of missionary
work. Apart from these three areas, my medical practice has remained entirely
at the background. What I am saying in summary is that we are bible translators
with medical ability” he explained.

 

Dr.
Anya who disclosed that God asked him, during his youth service year, to come
to Ika land to mobilize people for missionary work to preach the gospel to
those still ignorant of it, stated that he and his wife whom he said he met
during his youth service year, started by helping out with bible study classes
at Owa-Alindinma, in the process they discovered that the scriptures were not
available in the language the people understood. “So we began to feel a strong
burden in our hearts to have it translated into the language the ordinary Ika
people can understand. This was in 1998. That was how we delved into bible
translation. And we started right away. However, there was a little break
between June 1998 and October 1999 when we went for a diploma training
programme in Theology and Cross Cultural Missions in Enugu. On our return, we
settled at Ekuku-Agbor to run the Baptist Health Centre while at the same time doing
the bible translation work.”

 

Speaking
on challenges they face in their bible translation work, he noted that as human
beings they are frequently confronted by the devil with the thought of
abandoning the project to venture into other areas where they could make more
money to live comfortably. He however stressed that “the most important thing
about life is that I am a sinner whom God forgave and brought into His family.
He gave up His heavenly glory and came down to earth to be able to achieve that.
The same God has asked me to give Him my life. The truth is that I owe God
everything, and God never ask for what He did not give.”

 

Part
of the challenges, he stated “is the hardship of giving oneself and family to
bible translation work especially when one knows that he can be making more
than enough money through medical practice, but you have to feel deprivation
and hunger because God deserves and demands such sacrifices.” Speaking further,
he said that another challenge is that there are different dialects in Ika
language, which creates the difficulty of combining them during translation to
make each part easily identifiable by their speakers. “There is also the
problem of low reading and writing of the language by the people. We have been
faced with strong pioneering work like breaking hard ground. There is a lot of
disinterest by Ika people. Unfortunately, Ika language is not being taught in
schools in any significant level. Igbo language which was taught, was taught
only uptill the early 1970’s. Again translation work is extremely technical and
requires constant electricity to power equipment such as computer laptops.”

 

On
his message to Ika people, Dr. Anya who hails from Mbise in Imo State quoted
Kay Williamson who averred that “if you don’t use your language you will lose
it” saying that the bible teaches that when people hear the word in their own
language, they pay more attention. He noted that it was Cameroon Townsend who
said that “the bible in the mother tongue is the best missionary. It does not
go on holidays and does not need an interpreter.” He therefore call on Ika
people to do all they can to keep Ika language alive so that God can use it for
the salvation of the people and also preserve them as people.

                            

To
the general public, he said “you cannot serve God more than your knowledge of
Him. You cannot know Him except you know Him in the language you understand.
Every responsible leader would strive to communicate in the language that the
people understands. It is a debt that a leader owes those being led and a duty
everyone owes God. If our leaders in the church should emphases the use of
mother tongue for the scriptures as they emphases money issues, there would be
an increase in the understanding of the Word of God in a very short time in Ika
land.”

 

Dr.
and Mrs. Anya have so far translated the four synaptic gospels, which are
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John into Ika language and it is now selling for
N200.00 per copy.

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