Mbembe is located in the Ako Subdivision, Donga-Mantung Division. This region shares a long boundary with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mbembe is spoken by over 10,000 people in Nigeria, but it is entirely different from that spoken in Ako. It has a population of about 56,000 inhabitants. Access into and within this place is difficult, especially in the rainy season. 95% of the population live on farming, with palm oil being their main source of income. The people enjoy social activities such as singing and dancing, and have a strong sense of community. This area has 18 chiefdoms.
About 38% of the popu-lation are churchgoers and 61% are committed to traditio-nal religion. The largest deno-minations are Presbyterian, Baptist, and Catholic. Islam is about 1% but is increasing.
Basic linguistic research was started in 1982 by SIL. Pastor Emmanuel Echebi, who was convinced God had called him to serve in the domain of Bible translation in Mbembe, undertook various courses in SIL and was sent for studies by CABTAL at the Pan African Christian College in Nairobi, Kenya. He has been the leader of the project since 2004.
The project is carried out by CABTAL with input by local stakeholders (church and community leaders). The on-going activities inclued: Bible translation, Scripture use, lin-guistic research, developing a dictionary, literacy material de-velopment, vision sharing and community mobilisation. About 35% of the New Testament has been translated.
The Christmas story and some parables have been published and a transition ma-nual from English to Mbembe is ready for publication. Most of the local pastors preach in the Mbembe lan-guage and many worship songs in Mbembe. Adult literacy rate is 25% in English.
It is anticipated that the Mbembe pastors will better understand the Bible, and thus be better able to teach and preach in the churches. The people will know and under-stand the meaning of the Scriptures through established literacy programmes, reading groups, and Bible study cells. In the long term, the Mbembe Scriptures will be printed and the lives of the people will be transformed as a result of reading the Word of God in their language and obeying it.
Pray that this people will walk in the light,
that they will have fellowship with one another as they
are being sanctified by the blood of Jesus.
Read 1John 1:7.
Last modified: 2009-02-09