Amid the lush, green vegetation of the forest region of West Africa, 150,000 Toma people live in scattered villages. Over 50 years ago, one of their own brought them the Good News from another part of the country. Since then, about 15% have abandoned their traditional animistic religion and accepted Christ. This core of committed believers even sent Toma missionaries to other areas. Their hunger for God’s Word in their heart language led them to appoint a Toma pastor to translate the New Testament, which was published in the 1970’s. Unfortunately its dialect and style do not communicate clearly to most readers. In the 1990’s, the Toma Christians realized their need for help with translation and asked Pioneer Bible Translators to send someone.
Jeff and Laura Wilhoit arrived in 1996 to join two Toma pastors in the translation of the Old Testament and the re-translation of the New Testament. Now the whole Bible has been drafted, with over half in advanced stages of revision. When the team finishes going over the translation for clarity and faithfulness to the original biblical texts, the people will have the entire Bible in modern, natural Toma language. This will greatly increase the daily usage of God’s Word, resulting in changed lives throughout the region.
Currently, Genesis through 2 Samuel is being published, the largest volume of the Old Testament ever printed in the Toma language. Jeff is traveling to West Africa in February to dedicate this volume.
The Toma phrase on written above means, “May God bless you.” This phrase is not used lightly; it is a sincere blessing. Notes from believer in the States accompanied cards with the Toma phrase and were delivered to West Africa in February of 2014. Specail thanks to those of you chose to participate in this great spiritual event by writing a prayer or blessing to the Toma people.