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Supporting Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Tunen project

Until a few years ago the 35,000 Banen people living in the rural areas of Ndikinimeki and Makenene in Cameroon had no written language, not even an alphabet. While their ‘official’ language is French, the vast majority grew up speaking Tunen and consider this their ‘heart’ language.

Thanks to Wycliffe Bible Translators and CABTAL (Cameroonian Association for Bible Translation), volunteers have been working on translating the New Testament into Tunen since 2003:
  • There is now a complete alphabet and a writing system in Tunen
  • Villagers can attend classes to learn how to read in their mother tongue
  • A number of schools now teach Tunen, and new leaflets in Tunen on Banen culture, mathematics and everyday life are being produced
  • School children are so thrilled they can now read and write their ‘heart’ language, they celebrated by marching with placards written in Tunen!
  • Over 60% of the New Testament is now available to all in Tunen
  • A number of churches use portions of the recently translated New Testament in their services
  • Bible study groups are being held in churches, and listening classes are taking place in people’s homes
  • Many who have heard the word of God being preached in Tunen have had their lives transformed; saying it “makes the Bible come alive
Before my visit to Cameroon, I had not understood what it would be like not to have a Bible in my own language. It seems obvious, but people need to hear the word of God in the language they not only understand but speak daily, think and dream in. The Banen people could read and pray from the New Testament in their own language in as little as two years’ time. Please help us to faithfully support the Banen teams’ work to bring the project to completion, and in turn bring hope and light, positive change and progress to this group of people.
Liz Miller


+++ If you want to know more about the Tunen project or Bible translation, get in touch with the Mission Links Group via the Abbey Office 01225 422462 /


Case studies

When Jesus speaks Tunen

An 80-year-old man from North Ndokmem (Yingui), after listening to the reading of Luke 10 : 25-37 in Tunen exclaimed: "Oh ! I give thanks for hearing Jesus himself speaking in my language, so much better than in the Douala language which was how I was taught.  If only the first Banen pastors and evangelists could be here today to hear Jesus speaking in Tunen, because at the time they were told that God, even Jesus, could not speak Tunen because the Banen were people of the bush and God didn’t speak the language of bush people."

This prejudice is now dying out as a result of Tunen being taught across the villages. In the use of the portions of the Bible which have already been translated in the churches, many Banen are giving their lives to Jesus Christ and accepting at the same time that the Holy Spirit can guide them so that all the Banen people can live together in harmony


Overwhelmed with happiness

A group of 40 women were in attendance when a literacy teacher read aloud a portion from the Tunen Luke Gospel. When she finished, the women burst into spontaneous applause they were so overwhelmed that someone had just read the Word of God to them and they could really understand the message from it. 

Unthinkable becomes reality

An elderly man, Papa Bissiongol, was so moved by the success of the Tunen project that he shared how in the early days of independence, it would have been unthinkable to even consider the possibility of the Tunen mother tongue having a writing system. He concluded that it was a great privilege for the Banen to have their language developed and that it is essential they continue to promote it.


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