Friday, February 23, 2024

Reverend Dr. Samuel Ajayi Crowther

The "Sword of the Spirit," placed in the hands of the congregations, in their own tongue, will do more to convince and convert them than all our preaching, teaching, and meetings of so many years put together.” — Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c. 1809-1891)

Before he was known as Reverend Dr. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, his name was simply “Ajayi.” Ajayi grew up in West Africa among the Yoruba people. In his early teens, he was captured by raiders and crammed aboard a Portuguese ship bound for the New World. But the ship never made it. A British warship attacked the Portuguese ship in an attempt to stop the slave traders. Ajayi was one of only 87 of the 189 enslaved passengers who survived the attack. He was then sent to Sierra Leone. After learning English and beginning to study the Scriptures, Ajayi became a Christian and took the name “Samuel” at his baptism in 1825.

As a college student, Crowther studied Greek and Latin in addition to West African languages. In 1843, Crowther began compiling a dictionary in his own language -- Yoruba -- and began translating the Bible for his people. While the full Yoruba Bible would not be completed until 1884, Crowther aided other West African translation projects. Local and foreign leaders saw Crowther’s work as a groundbreaking approach to indigenous-led Bible translation that helped affirm the power of local communities. In the last 50 years, churches and organizations worldwide have rediscovered the importance of that approach to Bible translation. Dr Crowther's legacy continues today.

Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c. 1809-1891)

Recent Highlights -- Answers to Prayer:
- The January/February work project is complete! Thank you for your prayers!
- I'm beginning to feel more settled into my home. I'm almost at the one-year mark here.
- My prayer/devotions/quiet time plan is still moving forward. More about that next month!
- While I don't have specifics about the Nkukoli workshop, we continue to get good news from Nigeria about the progress of Bible translation.

Items for prayer:
- Pray for Bible translation for those who have no access to God's Word in a language they clearly understand.
- Pray for consistent progress on another long-term departmental project that is due in May.
- Pray for growth in my personal disciplines.

What a joy to be on this faith journey together! How may I pray for you?

For partnership opportunities with my Wycliffe ministry: