Introduction / History
The Mbato language group of southern Cote d'Ivoire likes to be called Nglwa. They live in a tropical rainforest fringed by a coastal lagoon. The nearby city of Abidjan, the country's economic capital, is also home to many of them. The majority of people earn a living from agriculture. Some are subsistence farmers, living off what they raise in their own fields. Others work in agricultural cooperatives that grow palm oil, coconut, cassava or bananas. Still others work for large producers of rubber and palm oil.
Christian workers from Africa and Europe brought the Gospel to the Nglwa people about 100 years ago. Today a large percentage profess Christianity but also follow the rules of animistic traditions deeply ingrained in their cultures. Those strong in their faith often face daily pressures from those who insist on using fetishes - objects believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular, a man-made object that has power over others - to ward off evil spirits. Nglwa Christians are beginning work to translate the Bible. The Word of God in Nglwa will give Christians the grounding in their faith they have lacked. Strengthened as Christ's disciples, they will be equipped to share His Good News with their animist neighbors and resist animist influences themselves. Scriptures set to music will enhance worship. This exemplary grass roots effort may well spark new, church-led Bible translations in other parts of Cote d'Ivoire.
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