The Napo Quechua language group consists of thousands of people in northern Peru. Their vocabulary is limited in comparison to other nearby groups, and their region is dominated by an epidemic of drunkenness, a lack of respect for women and a pervasive, overwhelming sense of hopelessness.
Selmira was born into this culture, and followed its patterns of drinking like everyone else. She was just a young teen when she married. She would have married even younger, but asked to wait until after she finished primary school. She wanted to learn to read.
Selmira is a Christian. Shortly before Selmira committed her life to Christ, she encountered Jesus in a dream. In the dream, he offered his hand to help her cross a narrow log. He told her to read his Word and obey him. He promised he would be with her. It was at a Bible seminar when the gospel finally penetrated her heart, and she gave it to Jesus.
At a workshop about sharing Bible stories in oral cultures, Selmira met a Wycliffe missionary named Christa. She invited Christa and her ministry partner, Maritza, to come to her home and help her keep learning Bible stories. As Selmira learned more about what the Bible says, she began to drink less. While other parents left their children to fend for themselves, Selmira began to care for her own children more. She became more aware of God’s presence in her life, and experienced his peace.
Then in 2008, Selmira lost a son to a snakebite. In 2010 she lost another son to anemia. She has lost 11 children in all. People told her that God was punishing her for not continuing with their traditional religion. But Selmira knew better. She found peace and comfort in the fact that her children were in Jesus’ hands, and he would take good care of them. Selmira resolved to remain faithful to God despite what people said, and everyone noticed the change in her life.
When others had troubles in their lives, they would come to her because they trusted her. When her husband got angry that Selmira no longer drank with him, she responded with love. He began coming home earlier and earlier from drinking parties. Eventually he began listening to Selmira’s Bible stories.
Today Christa and Maritza are helping translate the Bible for the Napo people. Selmira is the only woman on the translation committee, and one of only two translators who has never missed a single one of the 12 month-long workshops in the past four years. She is teaching others to share Bible stories, and as her faith grows, so does her desire to go to other villages and share the hope she has found in Jesus.
Do you want to be a part of the wonderful work God is doing through Bible translation? You can support translators like Selmira through the Moody Radio campaign.