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Christmas story will be accessible in a new way in Ethiopia

Next Christmas, the Shinasha people of Ethiopia will be able to read the Christmas story to their children in their own language for the first time.

In 2005, there was no Bible translation in Shinasha. There were no books, period—there wasn’t even an alphabet!

RCA missionary David Ford, then a college student, interned with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Ethiopia. Over the summer, he helped to develop a writing system for Shinasha, working with Maru Duguma as a native speaker. At the time, Maru was a government teacher.

“Maru became so excited about the prospect of having a written language in which he could one day read the Bible that after that summer, he quit his job to head up the translation of the New Testament into Shinasha,” Ford says.

“Today, the Shinasha alphabet which I developed is being taught in schools, books are being read in the home, and a draft of the New Testament has been finished, with publication and distribution expected for 2014.”

More than 300 million people still do not have access to the Christmas story in their own language. Learn more and donate to support Bible translation work at

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