The hot, muggy day was made more uncomfortable by riding all morning in a dugout canoe. Dugouts are never comfortable, and I wasn’t looking forward to following this up with a three-hour trek through the jungle.
My new tribal friends furtively glanced at my aging body while I grappled with my walking stick. I could tell they wondered if I could make the trip, cross the log bridges over rushing streams, and evade live animals on the path, without tripping over vines or falling flat on my face. Along the way, they kept telling me, “Sorry, sorry.”
I vividly remember breaking into the clearing at the airstrip and seeing the village ahead. My mind instantly focused on the great images my trekking companion, photographer Dale Stroud, and I would be able to get.
Two significant things were happening at the time. Linda Krieg and Siawi believers were working long, arduous hours to complete the New Testament in the Siawi language. Linda was overdue for retirement and her house was falling apart around her but she had a job to do. Nothing was going to deter her. (Check out the Siawi Bible Translation video)
It was also Jason Swanson’s last Sunday in the tribe. Jason was the church planter and teacher. Now the Church was ready to move on with Siawi leadership. After Jason said his official good-by, the leaders gathered around Jason to pray. Though I could not understand one word, goose bumps broke out up and down my arms as I listened. (Check out Jason’s Prayer video)
But I had not seen anything yet.
That Sunday morning, as Dale set up his cameras, I watched Siawi believers walk into the church and sit on the floor for service. Each one carried printed portions of God’s Word. I watched them reading scripture, and I watched the Siawi leaders teaching from the scripture. The intent faces of those listening as their dirt-encrusted fingers moved in unison over the printed pages blew my mind.
Can you imagine why this brought tears to my eyes? Not too many years ago this was an unknown language … no alphabet … and no one could read. Yet now Siawi church leaders are faithfully teaching God’s Word to a congregation of eager learners.
This issue of NTM@Work is all about Bible Translation. You will find out why people need to have God’s written word in their language. And you will read about those who are translating. Please read through the pages. Please get involved in seeing God’s Word translated for the unreached, unengaged people groups. Write me and let me know how you want to get involved. firstname.lastname@example.org