Ben F. Eidse is Shakambangu, a messenger who announces the truth, so-named by the Lunda-Chokwe who appreciate his commitment to learning their heart language, proverbs and culture.
From 1953 to 1982, Ben Eidse and his wife Helen, a Registered Nurse, and four daughters, lived and worked among the Lunda-Chokwe of Southwestern Democratic Republic of Congo, helping them build a medical-church-education center and planting 80 churches. Due to his linguistic expertise, Eidse was selected in 1969 by American Bible Societies to lead a small team in translating the Bible from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into a modern, dynamic Chokwe. This work was completed in 13 years to the acclaim of native speakers, who now use more vibrant expressions when praying or talking about God. Together, he and his wife won a Lifetime Service Award from the Association of Anabaptist-Mennonite Missiologists. Along the way, Eidse also mentored several University of California anthropology students who conducted their doctoral research in his home area of Kamayala-Kahemba. Eidse next accepted a position as President of Steinbach Bible College in Manitoba, Canada, where he led its accreditation by the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges, a significant expansion and debt-free budget. He served three terms, after which he was named its first Chancellor. During his presidency, Eidse was accepted by the University of Edinburgh as a doctoral student in African Studies. The majority of his dissertation was written while on sabbatical at Edinburgh. However, in 1996, Helen suffered a massive stroke and he became her primary caregiver for nearly 16 years. During that time, Eidse worked to complete their autobiography with his daughters (Light the World, Friesen Press, 2012). After Helen died, he turned his focus to completing this manuscript.