Friday, October 7, 2011

Translations of LDS Materials and the Book of Mormon Approved for the Kamba Language

Missionaries serving in Kenya report that the First Presidency has recently approved the translation of basic church materials and the Book of Mormon into Kamba.  Spoken by over four million native speakers, Kamba is currently the language with the 48th most speakers without LDS materials.  At present, the Church has not officially translated any materials into Kamba although senior missionaries reported that local members have made some unofficial translations of the sacrament prayers to facilitate comprehension among elderly members who have difficulty listening to the prayers in English.  The Church has held a strict standard for baptizing new converts in Kenya and several other African nations over the years by requiring members to pass their baptismal interviews in their country's respective national languages.  Within the past couple years, the Church has become more flexible in permitting converts to join the Church despite low levels of competency in English or their national language if it is determined that they will likely remain active.  The decision to translate church materials the scriptures into Kamba is a major development which will likely increase growth and testimony development among many Kamba-speaking Latter-day Saints.

Currently, Kamba-speaking Latter-day Saints are concentrated in the Kilunga Hills which are located approximately 50 miles southeast of Nairobi.  Four branches function in the Kilunga Hills and each have exhibited good convert retention and member activity rates.  One of the most recently organized branches - the Matini Branch - has nearly 300 attend church services at present.  The total number of Kamba-speaking Latter-day Saints may currently number over 1,000.  Prospects appear very favorable for a district to be organized for the four branches in the area as they do not pertain to a stake or district at present.

It is unclear when translations of LDS materials and scriptures will be available in Kamba, but based on the time table for other languages translations of basic materials may be available within the next year and the Book of Mormon may be available by 2015.

3 comments:

Matthew Crandall said...

A new triple combination is ready in Estonia after many years of waiting. It includes a new translation of the Book of Mormon, the D&C, the Pearl of Great Price, and the bible dictionary,and full foot notes. The new triple is in the mail being shipped to Estonia as we speak. The online version is already posted. http://lds.org/scriptures/?lang=est

BuffaloNY86 said...

I know this is not related to the current thread. However, I have been looking at the atlas recently and wondered what was keeping some large stakes from splitting. Do you by chance know the process that is required in order for a stake to split? Is it something that the stake itself has to apply for, or is it directed by area authorities? Also what requirements have to be met, i.e. number of wards, distance, etc. Just wondering in case you or anyone else knew. Thanks

Matt said...

I have kept track of the stakes with the most church units for nearly eight years now. Within the past couple years, the standards for new stakes to be organized appears to have increased and today most stakes do not appear to split in the United States unless there are over 6,000 members in at least 13 wards. Because of this, many stakes often are organized from two or more preexisting stakes. The ratio of the number of wards per stake has also steadily increased over the past decade as the average number of wards per stake has increased.

Stakes are split when a recommendation is put forth to the Area Presidency. This must be approved by the Area Presidency before it goes before the First Presidency for approval to organize a new stake. The standards for stakes to be organized differs between the United States and in other countries. For example, in Brazil nearly all new stakes have only five or six wards and on a few rare occasions only have four wards and a branch or two. Many factors come into play in addition to the number of congregations, such as the number of active members, the number of full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders, and predictions for future growth trends.

Distance is an interesting issue as it has been something which has led to the discontinuation of some stakes. Distance between units within a district in many nations deters the organization of a stake as local members struggle to regularly travel long distances. Then again, other nations have areas with extremely large stake boundaries such as in Canada and Brazil. Distance is likely something that is heavily influenced by policies from an Area Presidency.