(Above photo) Several Ambrym women in Vanuatu eagerly begin using just-published Scriptures in their mother tongue. Photo by Casey Ellis.
Interest in the complete Lentomi Scriptures was so great that in 2013, the publisher took the unusual step of releasing on its website a provisional version of all 66 books of the Bible.
In late 2014, it was reported that in the preceding year more than 45,000 portions of the Lentomi Scriptures had been downloaded from the Internet, including an average of 24 full Bibles every day. Government permission is needed for the importing and distributing of the newly printed Lentomi Bible in the country where most Lentomi speakers live. Plans to professionally produce an audio version depend largely on the Bible’s legal status, so official approval of the publication is crucial.
God has already been using the Scriptures in the Lentomi language to communicate the message of His love. Though a very small percentage of the Lentomi population, the number of Jesus-followers is now likely in the tens of thousands, and is growing in the midst of considerable opposition and pressure.
One Lentomi speaker wrote, “Though it is possible to learn a foreign language fairly well, still one’s mother tongue is the one language which speaks to the heart and can deeply move. It transforms the message from something foreign to familiar.
“I am looking forward to reading and studying the Word of God in this translation, and will eagerly wait to see how our Lord will use it to build up the Lentomi for many years to come.”
* Pseudonyms used due to sensitivity