I could start by describing the atmosphere at Mayor’s Gardens on the morning of 23rd Dec 2016.But i don’t think I have the words to do justice to it. Instead let me start with a quote,
“The Bamasaba have broken a record. We went with the same quantities of Bibles to three different launches. First, we went to Karamoja to launch the Nga’karamojong Bible, but we went back with Bibles to Kampala after the launch. Next, we went to traveled for the Kumam Bible Launch, we took back Bibles to Kampala. Then we went to Busoga to Launch the Lusoga Bible, we took distributed some and took back many to Kampala. Then we brought the same number of Bibles to Mbale for the Complete Lumasaba Bible Launch, and they are already finished. We have sent for more from Kampala…” Simon Peter Mukhama, General secretary- Bible society of Uganda.
For a long time, the Bamasaba had read the word of God in foreign languages like English, Luganda and Swahili. Nothing was going to deter them on that bright sunny morning. So on, they went, off to the busy streets of Mbale town for a Bible March, to proclaim what the Lord had done for them.
Led by Bishop Patrick Gidudu of Mbale Diocese and other clergy plus congregants from several churches in and around Mbale and a Marching Band, they stopped at various locations and took turns to proudly take Bible readings in their mother tongue.
By midday, the tents were parked to capacity and but not even the sweltering heat prevented the guests from taking the stage with copies of their Lumasaaba Bibles to sway and shake to Lugisu dance tunes as different entertainers were called upon to perform. And when I say guests, I mean Members of Parliament, Pastors, Bishops, BSU Board Members etc.
I am sure the Umukuka, considered to be the cultural leader of the Bamasaba, from his designated tent, felt very proud as he watched his people dance to their tunes with copies of their Lumasaaba Bibles.
If you have been in Uganda for the past five years, then you are probably familiar with the term “Yellow boys” or “Yellow girls”. When you see them dressed in their favorite yellow color, then you know a VIP in government is coming. At around midday, they walked out of their tent. A few minutes later, the sound of a chopper was heard. And through the Grapevine, Kasule Lumumba, the Secretary General of the ruling NRM party had arrived. She was representing the President of Uganda as guest of honor. Now you know why the yellow boys were fully clothed.
In the 34 degrees Celsius heat, we learnt from one of the speeches that the Lumasaaba Bible Translation had taken 13 years to complete. The first New Testament had been launched way back in 1977. In 2003, revision of that New Testament started and was launched in 2011. Translation of the Old Testament began in 2008 and was launched in 2016.
The biggest challenge according to Reverend Milton shissa, one of the translators was the existence of many Lumasaaba dialects. This made revision sessions hard as each thought theirs should be used. And this will probably necessitate translation of the Bible into another Lumasaaba dialect.
All in all, the Bamasaba from all walks of life came for the launch, marched, bought the Bible, sang, prayed, preached, danced and after the guest of honor had delivered the president’s message and the national anthem had been sang, the ones who had placed orders for Bibles after they had run out, sat and waited for their Bibles to arrive from kampala.
As the Bible says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12– ESV