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Archive for April, 2013

An amazing story of Transformation from Alianza Global Wycliffe on Vimeo.

Relive the moment when the Nadëb, one of the most isolated tribes in the Brazilian Amazon, received the New Testament in their own language, and witness the spiritual transformation that the Word of God has done in their lives and the lives of their community. (Produced by the Wycliffe Global Alliance America in cooperation with the Nadëb People – © All rights reserved)

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“I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3, NLT).

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Still in its early stages, the Waata translation project of Kenya began in 2011. Before, the Waata people had a very low opinion of their language and it was not recognized or respected by others. “I thank this organization,” said one of the Waata elders of Kenya’s Bible translation and literacy organization. “It has come to salvage our perishing language.” Now, in churches, more people speak their own language: testimonies and even sermons are in Waata. As the language is further developed and written, respect for it among neighboring language groups will also rise.

This story was originally featured on Wycliffe’s PrayToday blog. Click here to learn specific ways you can pray for Kenya and the Waata translation project.

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Thanks for showing up!

Photo Apr 24, 9 35 34 AM

One last post about the East Apurímac Quechua New Testament dedication. This past Sunday was a wonderful day of celebration for the East Apurímac Quechua in the highlands of Peru, and several of us from Wycliffe USA had the privilege of attending.

The team of six Peruvian translators is now moving on to the Old Testament.

Reflecting on the trip, one attendee said, “Did I really just get to see a community get the New Testament in their language for the very first time? One moment summarizes the whole experience: I stepped out of the main room during the Scripture dedication and walked along the outside wall where children were sitting, peering in open windows to the dedication while other children chose to wander around and took this photo.” (pictured)

“I think when Christians in the west hear about a New Testament dedication they think of the Kimyal experience—some remote jungle environment, plane flying in on a mountain airstrip, tribal people dancing in their everyday minimal coverings and one giant emotional moment when the Scriptures are unboxed. But as Bob Creson mentioned, each New Testament dedication is different. The Eastern Apurimac Quechua dedication was different.”

“Watching children interact with one another, the most impacting moment for me was when I realized the Word became flesh and had moved into their village (as Bob often says) But this Word has been settling-into the community since the translation started six years ago I realized it’s much more natural and less abrupt than we think. Far greater than a swelling emotional experience is the lifelong, yes the eternal, presence of the Word in their language. This is the very first generation that will get to grow up with the Scriptures, and the Word will now dwell richly with them through eternity.”

I wrote back to Tim saying, “With all humility, we show up and God uses the little we can offer to make a difference in the lives of individuals and people! Thanks for showing up!”

I want to thank many of you, too, for showing up giving inspiration and leadership to the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation every experienced by the Church.

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Sunday was a wonderful day of celebration as another QUECHUA community—the EAST APURÍMAC QUECHUA in Abancay, Peru—received their New Testament.

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Praise the Lord-men, women, & children-praise the name of the Lord. (Psalms 148)

One more community can sing and praise God in the language they understand best.

The event was sponsored by AIDIA (pronounced like the English word “idea”), a Peruvian-run Christian organization that has as its goal the transformation of the Apurimac region through the translation of God’s word into Quechua. They are currently hard at work translating the Old Testament Bible and teaching Quechua literacy throughout the region, in villages as far as eighteen hours away by bus. While AIDIA’s main goal is translation of the scriptures and literacy in Quechua, they also provide pastoral and leader training. They are also deeply concerned with human need and are involved in children’s ministries and family transformation.

One of the highlights of the service was singing from the Quechua Hymnal. The hymnal is the most popular songbook in the language group among believers and unbelievers. It contains more than 200 original Quechua songs which utilize Quechua melodies and musical style.

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By Elyse Pattenuganda-2

Photo by Andy Kristian Agaba

Happy kids pose on a small rice farm in Uganda. While western media often focuses on this nation’s struggles, many Ugandans are persevering, gentle, and strong in faith. Over 82 percent of Ugandans call themselves Christian. Although many Ugandans have access to the Scriptures in the national language, that doesn’t enable the same level of understanding as a heart language.

For example, after attending a basic Bible teaching seminar, Mr. Zaverio, 97, said, “I was not expecting to witness the Word of God being read in Bwisi while I was still alive. This week I have learned the true meaning of salvation, and I have accepted Jesus as my Savior. I will die in the Lord. They used to tell us that a true Christian is the one who attends church all the time, gives gifts, does good works and prays every evening. But now through these teachings in my language of Bwisi, I am understanding that God forgives our sins through Christ!”

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Cuzco Quechua

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Yesterday a small team from Wycliffe USA visited with the Asociación Tawtantinsuyuman Evangelioq K’ancharinanpaq (ATEK) in Cuzco, Peru. Working with the Cuzco Quechua (according to the Ethnologue there are 43 languages that ‘qualify’ as Quechua), ATEK’s vision is to form functional healthy families, strong churches and Quechua communities that are organized and united. According to what we heard yesterday, and from their website, they work through holistic and sustainable development by providing training courses and tools to support evangelization in their own language as well as Spanish.

UNESCO says the ATEK reading comprehension “endeavors to empower Cusco Quechua people by facilitating access to literacy skills training and education.” ATEK has developed a large number materials around thematic areas including health, agriculture, animal husbandry, income generation and civic education.

The UNESCO site goes on to say that, “Although the [Cuzco] Quechua constitute a large group (about 1.5 million), they have largely been socially marginalised. High rates of illiteracy and a lack of socio-economic opportunities have limited their ability to participate in national developmental activities. ATEK’s literacy program empowers the Quechua with bilingual (Quechua and Spanish) literacy skills in order to enable them to improve their living standards, preserve their cultural identity and participate in national developmental activities.”

Many in rural areas continue to use the language in church and for business/commerce. Most also use Spanish, and parents, including the government, want their children to identify as Cuzco Quechua, but they also want them fluent in Spanish which will provide greater opportunities. For this reason, ATEK, working in many public as well as private schools, has developed materials to transition children from reading in their mother tongue to also reading/writing in Spanish.

ATEK has a special emphasis for children but that’s not all they do. Recognizing the need for adult literacy they’ve designed adult literacy materials to help members of their community learn to read and write a language they already speak fluently. As a recognition that many are oral learners, or may never learn to read and write, they’ve also worked closely with The Jesus Film and Faith Comes by Hearing to communicate the Gospel. The full Bible is also available. It is also available in electronic/digital format for smartphones at Bible.is.

Believing that the family is the basis for a healthy community, they place a heavy emphasis on marriage workshops and training facilitators who run the workshops with a goal of helping husbands and wives address marriage and family challenges.

One thing we found impressive was a multi-generational commitment to the development of the community through the use of the language. One teacher who presented yesterday was the daughter of one of the translators of the Cuzco Quechua Bible (pictured).

According to the UNESCO site, one of the impacts of the program has been the empowerment of women. “Given the patriarchal nature of Quechua society, one of the literacy programme’s main achievements has been to empower women to play an active role in civic life. Some women, for example, are now serving as the leaders of various community-based organizations (CBOs) and are thus spearheading developmental projects in their communities. Others have become literacy programme facilitators primarily because both their literacy and communication skills have improved.”

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Rural Development Peru Highlands

According to this article in the Economist, the highlands of Peru have “long sheltered one of South America’s larger concentrations of poor people.”

But recent data shows that there are indicators of change: “new markets, lots of traffic (motorbikes, moto-taxis and vans) and modern farming techniques, including drip irrigation and farm machinery.” The author says this is primarily due to: 1) a burst of roadbuilding and road improvements started in the 1990s that expanded markets and; 2) mobile technology (ownership of telephones among people in rural areas has shot up from 2% in 2004 to 54% in 2011). Yet another example of rural people bypassing telephone landlines and going directly to mobile phones.

My experience in other rural areas in other parts of the world, and my guess is the situation is similar in the Highland of Peru, is that farmers, using their mobile phones, are able to check market prices and sell their produce at the most opportune time, place and price. I am willing to further speculate that they are using their mobile phones to transfer money and do banking.

The author goes on to write that, in recent years, “…rural income per person has risen at an annual average rate of 7.2% in real terms (compared with 2.8% for urban incomes). Between them, the rise in income and better connections, add up to a radical transformation in rural Peru.”

But I wonder if these are the only reasons. I am hoping that our trip to Abancay the Highlands of Peru will shed some additional light on what the author of the article in the Economist describes as “dynamic” development in the region.

My guess is that he may have missed a key link to this development—improved educational opportunities and literacy both in local languages, like Quechua, and also Spanish.

Our visit to the East Apurímac Quechua area may shed additional light on this important issue. I am hoping we have the chance to visit with local agencies like the Asociación Interdenominacional para el Desarrollo Integral de Apurímac (in English AIDIA stands for The Interdenominational Association for the Holistic Development of Apurimac). “Holistic” because it ministers to both spiritual and physical needs, including teaching literacy. While very much interested in the translation of Scripture (the New Testament will be dedicated this Sunday—Old Testament translation is underway), they are also interest in the well being of their community and they know this is linked to teaching people to read and write.

I will report more on what I find in another post later.

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