What’s in a Script?

The following was written by Kim CoXne, a Free Church colleague in Fulani ministry in the Central African Republic.  It captures well the need for the scriptures to be in a language that people can read.  If you are interested in supporting this task, let me know and I’ll direct you how to do it.


We wouldn’t normally think changing fonts would make that much difference!  To us, such is purely cosmetic!  That was essentially my attitude when I learned that Scott ClaXrk, a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators, was “transliterating” – i.e. changing the script but NOT the words – the Fulfulde Bible into the “Ajamiya” script!  My attitude of indifference changed overnight when I first took books of the Bible written in Ajamiya to Fulani encampments in the remote bush and discovered that at least 1 “malloum”, or ‘korXanic teacher’, in each camp could actually read these books without any instruction!  Historically, in Africa, missionaries have had to teach reading first before they could hand out the Bible.  To my astonishment, I suddenly realized that using the Ajamiya script meant IsXlam had already done this onerous task for us!

Just recently, I set up opposite a mosXque in a remote village at the end of an almost impassable road.  To my amazement, when the mosXque let out, the faithful crowded around me to check out the colorful books I’d placed on a bench:  2 gospels, the Psalms, a tract on the names of God and more!  When they saw the script, their enthusiasm climbed to the next level!  “Ajamiya” is the proper term for Arabic script when it is employed for languages other than Arabic.  Because it is also phonetic, Arabic script, like Roman script, can be used with minor adaptations to write any language on earth!  However, unlike Roman script users, those who use Arabic script have a certain reverence for the script itself.  And so, a colleague accurately, but perhaps a bit indelicately, stated that while the Roman-scripted Scriptures might end up serving as toilet paper, the Ajamiya-scripted Scriptures never would!

If we had enough copies, we could place thousands of these Bible books into the hands of MusXlim Fulani truly interested in reading them!  Almost no other literature of any kind exists in both the Fulfulde language and the Ajamiya script.  The Fulani can phonetically sound out the words of the KoXran but understand almost nothing because Arabic is a totally-foreign language to them!  Unfortunately, lack of funding has limited the number of books that can be printed at this time.  Pray that our Lord would raise up adequate funding so that more Fulani can have His word not only in Fulfudle, their heart-language, but also in Ajamiya, their heart-script.  I stand corrected.  A script CAN make a HUGE difference!

(Note that the misspellings in key words are deliberate to diminish the searchability and increase security of the message.)

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