Jolly’s Story – Why She Paid for Jesus Only to Be Translated Out of Her Meagre Livelihood

Nov 5, 2014 2250

Jolly Abaho in Uganda participated in the translation of Jesus Only into Luganda.” What Pr David Kaymba doesn’t mention in the story below is that Jolly tried to do the translation on her mobile phone, and when that proved too difficult, it was then that she sought professional help, spending her hard-earned money to make sure the job was finished professionally!

Her story is told in the first person here by Pr Boaz Nyariki

It started with a simple question: “Are you good in Luganda”? I asked Jolly Abaho.

“Oh yes, I am very good”, said Jolly. That is how I started to engage my friend in the work of translating Jesus Only into Luganda. You see, David Kayumba and I were frustrated to find that there were very many paragraphs, sentences and even phrases that were left out by the main translators. They had done a very great work out of their generous hearts and love for the Gospel, and to them I will forever be grateful.

But at this time it appeared they were unable to proceed with the work due to constraints that were not of their own making. Put together, all these fragments totaled up to 21 pages. Four of these pages were already being translated by another sister, Kellen Kirabo, who was a student and was amazingly doing this work using her mobile phone! This is also another testimony of how people beat all odds to accomplish tasks. I will say something on Kellen in another letter. So, there was great need to find a solution for the remaining 17 pages.

Confident that my friend can do this work, I asked her, “Can you help me translate the remaining pages of Jesus Only into Luganda?” She had read this book and she agreed. ”Send them to me”, she said. I sent these fragments and each fragment had a reference of where it belonged in the book. After looking at it, she confessed she could not do it, but she had an alternative.

She said me, “This is not a job to be done by anyone and anyhow, it is very important and needs to be treated so”. This statement indicated to me her high opinion of this book. She decided to engage professional translators. Of course we had not involved expert translators for any of our work; it was done by volunteers who have less experience. I told her we did not have budgets for expert translators.

So she surprised me when she contacted the translators of one of the local newspapers (New Vision) in Uganda. She independently negotiated the deal and she paid the cost of translation. This is not a simple commitment that could be done easily by anyone. Sister Jolly is just one of the people that God has been calling to the mission of Jesus Only. To many of us these are evidences of God’s presence in this work of lifting up Christ before the world to see and to know. Jolly, like many others, is a laborer for the Kingdom of God in obscurity, unappreciated, making no headlines, expecting nothing in return, but for the joy of sharing the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus has an army unknown to us who do tremendous tasks that cannot be done by seekers of rewards.

Sister Jolly has found the book Jesus Only to be the message that needs to be shared with everyone and she has done it strategically to make sure that the few English books we gave her will be read by many. When I took these books to her, she already had a plan for them.

I asked her about her motivation in all the things she did for this book, and she told me, “It is the joy of doing something for Christ who loves me and gave himself for me”. When I asked her what she thought about the message of this book, she answered, “I think it is wonderful because it directs us to see Jesus only”.

Her hope is that the mission of this book will go on and reach many like herself. Jolly is a blessing to our Gospel mission in Uganda. The importance she attached to this book and its mission drives one to imagine the number of people in many places in Africa who would rejoice to hear this message of the grace of God that has been hidden in rubbish religious vagueness by those who seek to build prosperous financial and powerful empires of their own. This book brings a sweeter melody that speaks to the human heart in a language like none other. Thank you Dr. Desmond and GNU and above all, thanks to Calvary.


Jolly Abaho is a young Christian lady who lives in Uganda. She is a member of an Anglican Church and a great supporter of Good News Unlimited. Currently she is finding ways in which we can promote our radio programs in eastern Africa via mobile networks.

Next time we shall read about Pr. Dan Nsubuga , Kellen Kirabo, and other translators

– Pr Boaz Nyariki

* Luganda, the major language of Uganda, is spoken by about 17 million people.

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