Atara Koffi is a translator for the Akebu people in Togo, Africa. Though his family was heavily involved in traditional, pagan religion, Atara learned about Jesus and became a Christian early on. Now he wants his family and community to know the truth of the Gospel like he does. This is his testimony.
“I am from a family that doesn’t know Christ. My grandfather was one of the greatest fetish priests in the Akebu region. People came from various parts of our land and beyond to consult him. Some of the things that lead the Akebu to believe and devote themselves to the traditional gods are the fear of the invisible and of witches and wizards.
“When I was very young, I stayed with my grandfather and participated in his practices. Though a fetish priest, he allowed me to attend the local Catholic church. I attended church, but still continued with the traditional religion. I was going to church without having a personal relationship with the Lord.
“At school, I passed all exams without much difficulty until I reached the last class in high school. I took the same exam many times without success. Then one day a colleague came to me and shared the Gospel with me. He encouraged me to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. I accepted, gave my life to the Lord, and passed the exam that same year. I joined a local church and got baptized some months later. I have been a Christian since then.”
Why Bible translation?
“After my conversion I was asked to stand by the preachers of the church to translate their preaching into our local language, Akebu. I used to do it with a great joy and devotion. Through that service I could see the importance of language in the communication of the Word of God. I also came to understand that many people in my church and in other churches in my Akebu region did not understand the message at all when it was not translated. Then one day the leader of an evangelistic group I was working with called me and said, ‘My brother, I wish you were trained to translate the Bible into your language!’ That started my desire to translate the Scriptures for my people.
“I was sent some years later to be trained as a Bible translator. I have chosen to devote myself to Bible translation because the Bible in the Akebu language will have more impact on my people. Non-Christians will come to Christ through their contact with the saving Word of God in our language, and Christians will be strengthened in their relationship with God, for they will know Him personally.”
Atara and many other translators need our support this summer, when giving tends to drop and their work is harder to sustain. You can help the Akebu translation keep moving forward by supporting Wycliffe’s summer campaign.