Here is our latest Living Words magazine. We hope you enjoy it.
Shine, Jesus, Shine on the Matigsalug
by Wayne Freeman, edited by Sue Beguely
Ninety-one people from other parts of the world made their way in two buses from Davao to the small, yet central, village of the Matigsalug people called Sinuda. They arrived around 8.15 am after a two-and-a-half hour trip. A mist was on the nearby hills but it was not cold. At about 8.30 am the parade started up the main road and turned onto a side road past some small shops and typical Matigsalug homes – many of which had a tin roof, flax-type walls and a dirt floor. The truck leading the parade carried Matigsalug singers and musicians in lively fettle and dressed in typical bright red Matigsalug colours. Included among the guests were the McGriff family (translation consultants); the Hunt family (translators); and members of the Wycliffe NZ Board.
It’s All About Relationship
by Wayne Freeman
It’s all about relationship and following God’s leading! Robert Hunt and his family had been amongst the Matigsalug for about three years and were really finding it hard because the Matigsalug people felt themselves to be the lowest of the low. The Matigsalug people were, therefore, naturally cautious.
One evening at a church service that Robert and his son David attended they noticed the music leader was particularly effusive and engaging in her approach to worship. Afterwards they were introduced to her and Rosalena invited them home for a meal.
This was most unusual as they had not had this kind of invitation before. Robert and David went and they soon became friends.
Over time Rosalena’s younger sister Rose became one of the main translators for the Matigsalug New Testament and a leader amongst her people. Rosalena’s husband, Bobby was a pastor and a member of the Matigsalug Language Christian Association Board which has overseen the Matigsalug New Testament production.
Work continues today with the Old Testament. Because of one woman’s kind invitation to strangers from a foreign land, a new set of family relationships were formed that have lasted over twenty-two years.
Ultimately these relationships were pivotal in the way God led them all to see a New Testament produced and a revival in Matigsalug culture in song-writing, music, dance, the wearing of their national costume and movie production. This revival continues to prosper today.
A Valued People!
by Robert Hunt
When our family arrived in Panganan village (Mindanao Island, Philippines) in 1989 we were excited about being a part of giving the 20,000 or so Matigsalug people the Word of God in their own language. But nobody had warned us that this people group might not like their own language—in face they despised it!
How did this come about? The Matigsalug people were ‘discovered’ in the mid-1970s when a logging road was bulldozed into the southern ranges of the Bukidnon province. They had originally lived near the mouth of the Salug river—known these days as the Davao river—but were driven up into the hills as newer immigrants started to take over the coastal regions. They had then become hillside farmers: clearing a plot by felling and burning the trees and then planting mountain rice, sweet potato, and other crops. These crops were supplemented by wild deer, pigs and other animals also living in the forest.
Sometimes Matigsalug passengers on the bus heard these unfortunate comments, and they soon came to realise how they were despised by the lighter-skinned, lowland people. They became very self-conscious about their looks, and their language which outsiders described as monkeys babbling.‘ignorant’ Matigsalug people walking barefoot and in single file along the road, being accustomed to narrow forest trails.
What’s the Progress of Bible Translation?
a word from the Director...
People often ask, “So what’s been happening at Wycliffe?” I find this a difficult question to answer—I want to give a genuine and meaningful response. We always seem to be busy with one thing or another going on, so it should be easy to respond, but sometimes I find it hard to “see the wood for the trees”.
During my first seven years with Wycliffe, there have been three New Testaments completed and dedicated that Wycliffe New Zealand members had some part in: the Uripiv NT in Vanuatu was dedicated in December 2005—Ross McKerras was a translator on this project; the Ambai NT was dedicated in March 2010 in Papua—David and Tammy Price were translators on this project; and the Matigsalug NT was dedicated in July 2011 in the Philippines—the inspiring story of this celebration is the feature article of this magazine.
There is a growing list of New Testament translations coming to completion—we can see as many as five in the next two years! This is what is happening! This is what we give thanks for!
Most of you have heard of Vision 2025, “We embrace the vision that by the year 2025 a Bible translation will be in progress for every people group that needs it”. This was adopted in 1999 at a global Wycliffe gathering, which really was a faith statement given that the pace of translation at that time meant it would take another 150 years before this would be achieved.
In the twelve years since that gathering we have seen the pace of Bible translation all around the world increase so dramatically that at the present pace it is looking to be about 2040 when the last needed translations will start. This is a big improvement on 2150 but still not quite 2025. This goal is not just about Wycliffe, in fact Bible translation is a responsibility of the worldwide church—to see the Scriptures made available through Bible translation to all peoples in the language they know best. What better way to “Proclaim the good news of the Kingdom to every people group” so that “the end will come”? (Matthew 24:14) This is what we dream about! Thank you for playing your part!
See the diagrams that show the current status of Bible translation in the world. This represents the total of everyone involved in the Body of Christ for this great cause.
Coffee on the Terrace
A book review by Fiona Taylor
This is another wonderful account of Wycliffe members working to bring the living Word of God to people who have never heard it in their heart language. The Grayden family story is set in the beautiful cool mountains of the Philippines.
Bruce and Judith Grayden left Australia in 1972 to work in the Philippines, initially with the Bangingi people in the south. However, as language learning came to a close God orchestrated some wonderful meetings, one of which was with Joanne Shetler, and the Grayden’s focus turned to the South Kalinga people.
Canao, one of the men that Joanne had worked with, longed for the South Kalinga people to hear about Jesus as his village had. In a plane at one point, Bruce commented, “We’d like a village 3000 feet above sea level.” God answered both of these desires.
Bruce, like those before him, writes with an open heart—his love for the people of the Philippines is evident through his writing and his life with them. His tale takes us into the heart of Kalinga life: heartache and joy, life and death as experienced in the lives of the villagers and the Grayden family. An incredible episode is recounted of when baby Steven Grayden fell down some stairs and become gravely ill. God performed an unusual miracle, Steven recovered, and the villagers were confronted with the undeniable power of the living God.
Life with the Kalinga included drinking fresh coffee, death threats, and spiritual power encounters! There are so many faith-bolstering stories in this book. Another great transformation story by the power of the living Word of God and the devotion of one family to the task. Contact our office (email@example.com) to order your own copy for $35.
a life-changing training experience in Bangladesh
If you or others you know are eager for a short term mission opportunity, this could be it! Why not spend five weeks of your summer in Bangladesh?
Each year, Proshikkhon equips Bangladeshi pastors and evangelists with knowledge and skills to grow their ministry, including seminars on Bible Storytelling, Contextualisation and Ethnomusicology. It is widely understood that local people are most effective in reaching the unreached in their area. Proshikkhon trains and equips locals to be more effective in this task.
“Now I can go into any village, whether Hindu, Muslim or tribal and tell stories. If I say I am a preacher they will ask me to leave. But when I say I am a storyteller, they welcome me. Last August I went to a Hindu village and began to tell stories. They welcomed me, and I went back every week. By Christmas twenty families were asking for baptism.” Jogadish
New Zealanders who attended Proshikkhon 2011 came back transformed and excited about what God is doing in the world and the part we can play in it.
“It is a profound experience to see firsthand as people realize their culture is precious to God and doesn’t need to be westernized to be Christian… and then hearing the cry of people’s hearts to have the Bible in their own language, so they can find out for themselves what God is saying to them about their own culture and their own lives.” Jo Millar
Proshikkhon includes medical ministries, running seminars for Church leaders, and visiting field ministries—see God at work everywhere! You could be part of the next team working with our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh—it could change someone else’s eternity!
For more information, contact our office, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Translation programs in progress in languages without adequate Scripture: 2,026
Languages needing Bible translation work to begin: 2,078