FIJI: Ba Translation Project Update

In all my trips to Ba, I planned and travelled on Sunday afternoons. This is to allow me to spend Sunday nights in Ba or near, so that we can start the review sessions on Monday mornings. I treat the review work just like my regular 8.00am – 4.30pm work in the office. So we work with this many hours every day to cover and finish my targeted seven chapters of any book that is to be reviewed on a single trip. For example, Mathew with its 28 chapters was reviewed with 4 trips, Mark with 16 chapters, was reviewed with 2 trips, and John with 21 chapters was reviewed on 3 trips.

Our next book is Romans. With its 16 chapters will be covered in 2 trips.

My February trip took place on February 16 – 18. My target was John chapter 8 to 14. Our venue for this review work was the Ba Mission Assemblies of God church in Yalalevu, Ba. We were hosted in this church by its Senior Pastor Rev. Jone Lesu.

Rev Jone Lesu is a longtime friend and supporter of Bible Society. He has a big church with a good size congregation. Until this project started, the frequency of our interaction has grown due to frequent request from us to use his church – as the venue for our work. Both our February and March reviews was carried out from his church.

On the February trip, I worked with only 2 reviewers. While it still went well, we all felt the need for one or two more people to be added. This was solved when I called and asked Rev Nakeke’s help. Rev Nakeke got back to me in no time with the names and phone numbers of two gentlemen. So by my March trip, I worked with a four member review team.

My March trip took place on March 15- 18. We covered John chapters 15-21 and thus completed the book. The new additions to the team were good and fit in well. They were quick learners and good contributors too.
We finish the book of John before the first Corona virus infected person was announced for Fiji. We are looking forward to our next book which is Romans, which according to our review work plan should be reviewed in the next quarter.

The Four reviewers are:
1. Meli Naivalu (Nailaga, Ba)
2. Mosese Soro (Varavu, Ba)
3. Savenaca Naliva (Sorokoba, Ba)
4. Vatukilagi Ratu (Natalacake, Ba)

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TONGA: Bible Work in Tonga

Translation work on the Tongan Contemporary Old Testament began with a translators workshop in October 2014 conducted by Dr Daud Soesilo. Seventeen translators were involved. In April 2015, the project was officially launched. The translators were given the “Book of the Twelve” to begin with. By the end of 2016, the first draft of the OT had already finished. Currently, we are up to stage 2 reviewing this project while also reviewing the New Testament to be combined with the OT, as the Tongan Contemporary Bible. The work is ambitiously projected to be completed at 2023.

The Launching of the Book of the Twelve
In line with the working objectives of UBS that once some part of a translation project has been completed then it can be launched as a way of informing the church, we had aimed to do the launching of the Book of the Twelve during the Annual Conference of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga. This is because, the Free Wesleyan is the mainline denomination in Tonga.

The Conference lasted from Monday the 24th of June to Monday the 1st of July, 2019. Prior communication with the church leaders and the local Bible Translation Committee in Tonga resulted in the leaders of the Free Wesleyan Conference agreeing to launch the Book of the Twelve on the opening night of the Conference by presenting it to the King of Tonga, His Majesty King Tubou VI. This was considered a great privilege for the project. The organization of the launching was for the chairperson of the Bible Translation Committee in Tonga, Lord Matoto, to present the work to the King but he was not available. So, I was asked to present the Book of the Twelve to the King on the opening of the Conference.

BSSP had printed 500 copies of the The Book of the Twelve. We are dividing it up between the denominations that are taking part in the translation of this project – Roman Catholics, Wesleyans, Free Church of Tonga, Constitutional Church of Tonga, Tokaikolo Fellowship and the Anglicans. The aim is to get copies of this part of the project to church members to read and if possible to give us feedback for the reviewing stages 3 and 4 of the Tongan Contemporary OT.

The Director Translation BSSP Rev. Apenisa Lewatoro visited the Tongan Translation Projects from February 25th – March 2nd, 2020. Rev. Lewatoro expressed his appreciation to Mr. Viliami Falekaono for organizing the meetings and also to the Catholic Church in Tonga for the provision of their facilities for BSSP programs since the beginning of the project.

Rev. Lewatoro carried out various activities involving discussions on the status of the Tongan Contemporary OT project, the installations of Paratext 8 for a couple of translators, a one-on one Paratext Training, the checking of the Tongan Bible (West) “Word List’ and Book of Psalm spot checking. The team are currently working on the translation of the Tongan Contemporary Old Testament and the proofreading of the scanned text of the Tonga Bible (West).

The Bible Society thanked God for the support from all the Churches in Tonga and individuals who are involved in the two projects. BSSP also thanked the UBS and donors of the project.


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FIJI: Final Proof-reading of the Fijian Study Bible

When I came into BSSP 2005 as a volunteer, the Fijian Study Bible Cyclopedic index review was already an ongoing task carried out twice a week by a team of reviewers. How far back the work started and those involved in translating the encyclopedic index, I do not know. But work on this material continues down the years till this year. They were some untranslated pages and some missing pages that had to be translated or retranslated by the late Pastor Mosese Waseiyaroi and retired school teacher Tevita Lala.

Plans to final proofread both the bible text and the study materials that will make this bible a study bible took place at Coral coast Christian camp on the 19th of November to the 22nd, 2019. Thirty five readers from different age groups, denominations, and backgrounds took part in this 3 days & 3 nights of proof reading camp.


We proofread the whole bible text and finished about 84 per cent of the study materials. The 35 participants of this exercise expressed great joy and enthusiasm participating in this part of the process and talked about the how fortunate they were and how beneficial the exercise was to their own understanding and spiritual life.

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NIUE: Church Supports the Digitization of their Bible

The Ekelesia Kelisiano Niue is very supportive of the idea of putting their Bible under the United Bible Societies’ Digital Bible Library program so that the Word of God in the Niue language can be easily available and accessible through the people’s smart phones, tablets, and computers wherever they are located. Once the Bible is made available electronically, this opens the door to the development of further scripture products such as the Scripture-Audio Bible and Bible products in different formats (compact, large print, pulpit-size, etc.).

The digitization process begins with the scanning of the Niue Bible and followed by the proofreading of the scanned Bible by the Church to remove any typo error that might be on the scanned version. This partnership with the Bible Society was reconfirmed by the EKN Executives led by the Church President Rev’d Vili Viviani and Church Secretary Rev’d Holo Tafea after their meeting with the BSSP Translation Advisor Rev’d Apenisa Lewatoro during his visit to Alofi between 8-12 July of this year. Former BSSP General Secretary Mr Solomone Duru has made the last visit to Niue in 2017. Work on the proofreading is ongoing under the supervision of the Deputy President Rev’d Nukanuka Tauevihi and his wife Rev’d Taimond Talagi Tauevihi.

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NAURU: Bible Society Re-establishes Contact with Nauru

A five-day courteous visit to Nauru by the BSSP Translation Advisor at the end of September has given rise to some renewed contacts with the Churches in Nauru. The key objective of this visit was to discuss the proofreading of the scanned Nauru Bible for its entry into the Digital Bible Library with the Nauru Congregational Church Council. This would result in the Nauru Bible to be freely available and accessible through smart phones, tablets, and computers for the community in Nauru and abroad. Through the leadership of the NCC Council led by the Secretary, Rev’d Dennet Roger Mwareow, the Council then reported at the last day of meeting that the Church still feels that it needed more time to process this move by the Bible Society on their Nauru Bible. However, the visit helped to reconnect BSSP back to the local Churches in Nauru. Rev Apenisa Lewatoro has recommended that BSSP continues to work together with NCC Council and other Churches in Nauru in the lead up to BSSP’s future Bible Advocacy and Engagement programs in the Pacific region. The Nauru Congregational Church was very supportive and hospitable to their BSSP guest throughout. A return trip is highly possible once the NCC Council affirms their decision to go ahead with the digitalization of the Nauru Bible. A visit to express support to the newly elected President of Nauru, Mr Lionel Aingimea, was also arranged but took place the following Sunday after Rev Lewatoro had left the republic on the first day of October.
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FIJI: Mission Visits the Yasawa Island Groups

It is by grace alone that we were able to make a second trip to the Yasawa’s this year, 2019. The team consists of; Mr. Solomoni Cinavilakeba (Fiji Mission Cordinator), Mrs. Iva Teilai (Sunday School Teacher Training facilitator) and Ms. Teupola Waqainabete (Fiji Mission Administration Officer).

Bible Society of the South Pacific engaged with churches where the Assemblies of God, Methodist Church and Catholics are the major Christian denominations of those islands. Catholic churches are in specific areas like Vuaki Island and Nacula Island.

The team travelled to the Yasawa group of islands to equip the Sunday school teachers through training and supplying them with Sunday School materials. Bible Society of the South Pacific, specifically the Fiji Mission sees this opportunity to meet the needs of the communities by inviting a guest facilitator like Mrs. Teilai to deliver a one and a half days program in three venues, speaking to Sunday school teachers from all Christian denominations.

The first part of the trip was a follow-up trip to the already visited Naviti Island and Nacula, to distribute the certificates of those teachers who were trained in our first visit in May. Also on the agenda was to deliver some of their resource materials to help them teach their Sunday school classes.

The first visit in May allowed us to train 19 Sunday School teachers from Naviti & Nacula island before we continued the journey to Yasawa island to conduct trainings in Bukama, Teci and Tamusua village.

We were able to train 17 teachers from Bukama village, 13 teachers from Teci village and 11 from Tamusua village.

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