By God’s grace we are working on publishing the first Bible Translation into Kaang Chin language
The People And Their Language
Kaang Chin is a dialect in Chin State Myanmar spoken by tens of thousands of people in a large group of villages between Mindat and Matupi and many more in communities around the world. Most of the villages where this dialect are spoken in Chin State are inaccessible by car and are deep in the mountains. The majority of Kaang Chin people converted to Christianity from Animism through evangelistic work in the 1960s, but are beginning to fall away for several reasons. One of the main reasons, is that they do not have a Bible in their language.
How we got involved
The Mission To Myanmar team has traveled to Mindat and Matupi several times and has visited one of these remote villages five times during the past five years. This village is called Kruk Village. Our indigenous network leader, Pastor Naing Thang, is from this village. Pastor Naing Thang, who holds his doctorate of Christian Education from an Evangelical Presbyterian Church seminary in Myanmar, speaks fluent Kaang Chin as well as English, Burmese and seven other languages.
Pastor Naing Thang is part of a 10-member committee formed in the year 2000 to address this great need of a Bible in the Kaang Chin language.
Since the work began nearly two decades ago, five of the original members have died and others have joined the committee to continue this important work. This effort has been a labor of great sacrifice and love for all involved. Their first problem was that Kaang Chin was only an oral language. A written language was developed using the Roman alphabet, A,B,C…., and it has become widely used during the past two decades. During this time they have translated the 27 Books of the New Testament based on 10 different Bible translations, including their Burmese Bible by Adoniram Judson, three other Chin Bibles, and six different English translations.
According to Pastor Naing, one very skilled hard-working Kaang Chin man has done the majority of the translation. This man is highly educated as well holding his doctorate of divinity. The other members of this committee have regularly reviewed the work during quarterly meetings as they developed a hand-written text. They did not have the benefit of computers or copy machines and this has made the task much more difficult than it will have to be going forward.
At this point, the written transcript of the New Testament is completed and the first two books of the Old Testament are completed.
For many years Myanmar has been ruled by a cruel military junta and has discouraged Christianity. This has made Myanmar, during the past 50 years, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. But things have been changing quickly and Myanmar has begun to open up to the world. Democratic elections have been held, the United States and Japan have opened up trade with Myanmar for the first time in 50 years. Religious freedom for all is the law. While God has opened these great doors of Myanmar, we’d love to put Bibles into the hands of the Kaang Chin while we can. Who knows if this door will shut, it could at any time, we believe time is of the essence.
Our plan is to find the best way to take the written text and input it into a computer program for publication. Our IT people are trying to discern if the written text can be scanned and turned to text without the need of someone to type it all out word for word. We should be land on a decision on this in the next 30 days. Pastor Naing estimated we should be able to get the New Testament ready for publication by the end of 2019 even if we have to type it all in one word at a time before making revisions. If we do this, we’ll need to hire a small team of workers and we’ll need about $6000 to purchase electronic equipment and pay those we hire for the work.
We may be able to do the work over the internet using equipment we have access here in the USA but we’ll still need about $5000 to do the work if we go that route.
Our plan is to complete and print the New Testament as soon as we have it print ready. We are shooting for January 2020 for the printing.
We’d like to print 10,000 paperback copies which we estimate will cost us $30,000 to $40,000 depending on how large it ends up being. This is a rough low-end estimate but we think it’s possible we could get that many printed for this amount.
Our plan to take the New Testaments immediately and begin distributing them in the villages and taking this opportunity to get the names and contact information from all those who are getting them and get a better idea of how many we’ll need for everyone who wants a full Bible once we have one to give them.
Our plan is to deliver the entire Bible to them once it is complete and we have that printed. Obviously, this is a much larger and long-term project we are trying to get our minds around now. We are committed to helping the translator devote himself to this work entirely so we are committing to provide him monthly support for two years, to start.
In addition to this, Pastor Naing Thang has written several textbooks teaching the Kaang Chin Language in the village schools. Up to this point, teaching of this new written language has happened one on one and spread throughout the villages. They say it is very easy for the Kaang Chin children to learn and the textbooks will make this process much easier and many more will learn how to write their language much sooner than the way it is currently done. Pastor Naing said he can print the textbooks for $3,500.
We are praying for God to give us $100,000 for this project and hope many will join is in making this dream the Kaang Chin people have of having the entire Bible in their own language.
Harrison Justice Murphy
Dominion Covenant church