Days 10 & 11: Sowing God’s Word among the Roma in Croatia and Serbia

After spending the night in the town where Djena and Biljana live, we drove an hour and a half to Slavonski Brod, the city where we used to live. It was great to meet up with our old teammates and the translators there in our old city.

We showed the Roma village to Pierre and then had a meeting with our former teammates to talk about the new steps forward on the Bible translation project with Pierre.

After that, we met at the Baptist Church where we used to attend, to do what is called “field testing” or “community checking”. This is where we have speakers of the language who have never heard our translation before, gather together and spend several hours with us listening to and reading our draft translation and hearing their feedback and suggestions.

One of the field testers was very nervous since she thought we were “testing” her knowledge. But we explained that actually we, the translators, are being “tested” to see how well we have translated. The goal, we assured them, is that they understand the translation and we highly value their input and suggestions.

She had never read in her Roma language before (Ludari), so was hesitant, but within 20 minutes she was reading the text and telling us in Croatia what it meant.

We don’t have anything finished in her language yet so we could not play any audio clips, but we played the story of the prodigal son in the Bayash language, which is a related language. As they listened, the other tester, her fifteen year-old son began to tear up and cry when he heard the story of the father’s response when the prodigal son returned.

After the testing, we had a late supper at Zoki and Stanoje’s house in the Roma village and talked about the needs and possibilities for the translation in the Ludari language to proceed farther with more books of the Bible after Luke is finished.

We spent the night at the church and the next morning had a very constructive meeting with the pastor of a Roma church in the town. Our goal is to involve local churches and pastors as much as we can in the Bible translation process.

We then walked through the village so Pierre could see it, then had lunch with Sergej, Željka, Andy and Lim, and talked more about possible plans for the future of the Bible translation work in the Ludari language, which they are excited about and involved in.

Then we met with two more speakers of the Ludari language for field testing, to go over a chapter in Luke in draft form in their language, Ludari, and get their feedback. It was very encouraging to see how much they understood and to get good feedback from them and make corrections and improvements to our draft of Luke.

Sergej showing the field testers how footnotes work in a Bible
Field testing Luke 20 in the Ludari language
Todd with Andy and Lim at their home and ministry center in the Roma village
Sergej doing field testing of Luke 21 in the Ludari language

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