Tanzania, East Africa
Long ago, the island’s leader, Chief Ruhumbika, would communicate with the people of Ukerewe via large drums. These drums would send important messages far and wide that were important for the safety and social life of the people. To this day, the drum is a symbol of Ukerewe Island. It's a lush island, about the same size as Maui. With a steady source of water on every side, it’s a great place for farming and raising wildlife. Fishing is a major industry here as well. This island serves as a breadbasket for the region.
Animism is a major religious force on Ukerewe Island. It's hard to find a book about Ukerewe that doesn't mention something about it. It is a system which is driven by fear of the spirit world, and teaches that the spirits must be appeased through ritual practices and sacrifices. The people have appointed spiritual experts who communicate with the spirits, instruct the people on how to harness spiritual power for their own gain, and are responsible for administering healing rituals.
The unfortunate reality is that many people don’t realize that they are being held captive to the prince of darkness through this religious system. The spirits which they are communicating with are demons, and the powers that they are experiencing are not fake, but truly evil powers. We know from the Word of God that the enemy of our soul comes only “to kill, steal and destroy”, and this system is doing that very thing to the souls of the people of Ukerewe Island.
It’s our desire that they would be set free from fear through the power of the Gospel, and learn about the true Creator God who loves them and sent His Son to deliver them “from the domain of darkness and into His marvelous light”.
In 2017, Rev. Andrew Gulle invited the first Bible Translators to the area, and our family was selected to serve here. He said “It is important for Andrew and Alexis to come and work with the project of translating the Bible into the Kerewe language. We want the Kerewe people to hear what God is speaking to them through their language. We want God to speak with the Kerewe people.”
After only 5 years, the New Testament stands at 60% completion. It's incredible to see what God has done through the efforts of the local church. The people are excited to begin receiving their first Bible pamphlets.
As people hear the truth in their own language, we believe they will be transformed, and faith will be formed in their hearts. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the message, and the message through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).