The Transformative Power of the Jamaican New Testament

Karen Roach, born in Jamaica in 1967 and arriving in the UK in 1987, embodies the journey of the Windrush Generation. Her faith, deeply rooted in her Jamaican upbringing, took a revolutionary turn when she discovered the Jamaican New Testament.

Karen’s faith was nurtured by her grandmother and Sunday school teachers. Her early fascination with Bible verses, coupled with the joy of receiving bookmarks for memorising them, set the foundation for her lifelong relationship with God. Despite the absence of her biological father, Karen found solace and a profound connection with God, whom she considers her first father.

Karen’s passion for sharing the Gospel led her to pursue a degree in theology and counselling. Her studies were complemented by hands-on experience in children and youth work and evangelism. Karen’s dedication extended beyond her local community, taking her on two mission trips to South Africa. These experiences reinforced her belief in the transformational power of encountering Jesus.

Inspired by her faith journey and the transformative experience of reading the Jamaican New Testament, Karen started an online Listening Group. Members gather to listen to and discuss the Scriptures in Jamaican, fostering a deeper connection with God’s Word. The group meets online every Thursday from 7-8 pm and holds in-person social events bi-monthly.

(JNT Listening Group at the Bob Marley’s One Love Biopic )

“Listening to the Bible in Patwa is absolutely engaging, even though I’ve heard the same texts in different forms of English. Patwa brings it to life in audio. Our discussions afterwards reveal insights we missed in English. Interestingly, not all group members are Jamaican, yet they feel the same energy. I eagerly look forward to our Thursday discussions. Honestly, I’ve never been this enthusiastic about the Bible. I can’t wait for the Old Testament audio to be completed.” (JNT Listening Group member)

Reading the Bible in her heart language brought Karen overwhelming joy and a deeper connection to God’s Word. It felt like a personal conversation with God, illuminating the Scriptures in a new light. The translation resonated with her, bringing the Word of God closer to her heart.

No Transformation Without Translation

The Jamaican New Testament (JNT) was a monumental achievement, published by the Bible Society of the West Indies in 2012, coinciding with Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence. Despite facing initial opposition and funding challenges, the project persevered with the support of The Seed Company, leading to the publication of the JNT in both written and audio forms.

Wycliffe Caribbean has played a pivotal role in the translation work, responding to the call for making God’s Word accessible to Jamaicans in their heart language. Their dedication and commitment have been instrumental in overcoming obstacles and advancing the translation project, ensuring clarity and authenticity in the translated text.

(Wycliffe Caribbean Team)

The demand for the Old Testament in the Jamaican language continues to grow, reflecting the impact of the Jamaican New Testament on individuals and communities. With ongoing support and collaboration, the vision of a complete Jamaican Bible is becoming a reality, enriching the spiritual lives of Jamaicans at home and abroad. Click here to support the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators Caribbean

Inspiring the Windrush Generation

(Fr Bertram Gayle – St Andrew’s Parish Church, Jamaica)

The Windrush Generation faced immense challenges that tore families apart, leaving deep emotional scars that still resonate today. This scandal not only affected their lives but also tested their faith and cultural identity.

The Jamaican Bible emerges as a source of healing and resilience. It bridges the gap between their rich cultural heritage and their unwavering Christian faith. The translation’s familiar rhythms and expressions of their native language make the Scriptures more relatable, offering comfort and solace during challenging times.

Karen Roach’s inspiring journey of faith—from her academic pursuits to mission trips and the creation of the Jamaican New Testament (JNT) Listening Group—highlights the transformative power of God’s Word. Her initiative invites the Windrush Generation to rediscover the Bible in a language that speaks to their hearts, deepening their connection with God and their cultural roots. The JNT Listening Group offers a supportive community where members engage with the Scriptures, share insights, and uplift one another.

For more information, please email kmroach45@gmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page. You can download the ‘Di Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment ‘ app from the Google Play store or listen online at bible.is. 

Additionally, you can also listen and subscribe to daily readings on Jamaican Ethnodoxologist Jo-Ann Richards Goffe’s YouTube channel.

The Jamaican New Testament serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for the Windrush Generation, reminding them of God’s unchanging love, the timeless truths found in Scripture, and the resilience of their faith and cultural heritage. Through the power of God’s Word in their heart language, healing and reconciliation are possible, paving the way for a brighter future filled with hope and renewed strength.

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