Johnny & Ellen Walker
Serving as a family since 2012 (and prior to that as singles).
East Africa (Musoma, Mara Region, Tanzania)
Tanzania is a country of about 60 million people speaking over 120 different languages. The language of wider communication and primary education is Swahili. Religiously it is a mix of Islam, Christianity, and traditional religions. The Mara Region of Tanzania is in the northwest of the country, bordering Kenya and Lake Victoria. There are over 15 languages spoken in the region, though several are mutually intelligible. Most of these languages had no standardized written form before the project started in 2008.
Serving with SIL, we long to see people flourishing in community using the languages they value most. Specifically, we long to see people transformed by the Bible as well as other Scripture-based and educational materials in the languages that serve them well.
At a large scale being inspired by God’s love, we advocate, build capacity, and work with local communities to apply language expertise that advances meaningful development, education, and engagement with Scripture. Our specific focus is the seven language groups of the Mara Cluster Project based in Musoma, Tanzania. We work together with local language Tanzanian translators and other international missionaries in the areas of linguistics, literacy, Bible translation and Scripture engagement. As part of the linguistics department, Johnny comes alongside language communities to develop dictionaries which are useful to the work of translation as well as encouraging further language development in the communities. Ellen was involved in literacy work with the project, but in 2019 shifted to focus on the care and schooling of our four daughters.
Hannah (b. 2014), Joy (b. 2016), Akeyla (b. 2018), Lenora (b. 2020)