We began work on the first Protestant Bible with helps and applications written by Africans for the African context. This is a momentous project - one that has great potential to impact the church in Africa. This week the Coordinating Committee meets in Accra, Ghana to determine the parameters for how the project will unfold.
I have just turned on my mini water heater for a hot shower after my 24 hour travel day. What a day it has been! People are arriving in Accra all day from all over Africa. Those of us who arrived already shared a good meal. Together we represent all ends of Africa from North to South and East to West – Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria. We shared fellowship over fried plantains, jollof rice and some mighty hot and spicy paste with our meat.
Some came at great personal sacrifice. My friend and former New Testament classmate, Dr. Atef, came from Egypt which continues to experience great political and economic turmoil the day after graduation at his seminary – where he presides as President.
As I arrived I was thinking about how God has chosen each one of these people – there is a story for how each got here in a unique way.
We were welcomed at the hotel by a team from the national paper, wanting to understand the thing that brought all these leaders together. Dr. Tite Tienou, Oasis board member and faciliator of this Coordinating Committee meeting, did an excellent job with the interview, even with only a few hours sleep.
The First Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills, greeted us with a welcome letter. And, I am here in my room looking at my first personal letter from the office of the president of a nation. I’m excited to witness God showing such favor to us.
She writes, "I very much identify with the objectives of the NLT for Africa [our working title for the project]...I envision an African NLT Bible that is easily readable, affordable and the notes relevant to issues we face on the African continent. I trust that the notes will include Biblical interpretations and Biblical teaching categories that are absent in Bible Notes produced outside Africa and that the notes address pertinent issues that regularly confront us in the African contexts… In addition, I will request that you please pay special attention to women and children in developing the NLT for Africa notes. Please let me know in whatever way I can participate with you in the Africa NLT project in the future."
It's been an exciting day and we look forward to starting our work tomorrow. Several delegates still coming in tonight, who will get little sleep before we have an intense planning day. Join me in a special prayer for their strength and stamina and that God brings these remaining people to us safely on flights that arrive on time.
Dr. Matthew Elliott
President of Oasis International