Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A New Bible Translation! (part 2)

In my last post, I shared the exciting news of a people group that now has God's Word in their language, thanks to years of effort by our coworkers.  I also mentioned that I tagged along to the dedication conference as photographer and driver of students.  

The purpose of taking the Etnos students was twofold: (1) to give them an opportunity to see the results of successful cross-cultural ministry and participate in an important (exciting!) step in the process and (2) to be a blessing through service.  Before the conference started, the students did a lot of the labor to get the chapel and guestrooms ready and set up dining tents.  

Etnos gals sweeping out guest rooms
Cleaning and prepping the chapel

Etnos guys cutting bamboo for tent poles

1 of 2 dining tents
However, the students' main role during the weekend was to prepare and serve 3 meals per day, so that the Simba ladies could enjoy the meetings!  With max attendance approaching 200 people, it was a lot of work!

The kitchen was a beehive of continual Etnos busyness!

Armed and ready to serve! :D

Chop, chop, chop!

The gloomy weather couldn't dampen the emotion of the weekend (or the hot soup!)
Several of the students also found other ways to get involved:
Jilmer and Luis accompanied the singing times on guitar

Yovana spearheaded a program for the kids with some of the other gals

Nathaly with her little buddies
Songs and stories for the kids, in spite of the rain

Ignacio (top left) running the book table
All told, it was a great weekend in several ways.  We had new experiences, got to know each other better, and provided a service to our brothers and sisters Simba Guaraní.
Most of our Etnos group

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A New Bible Translation!

At the end of May, after more than 16 years of work, the Simba Guaraní people received a translation of the Bible that they can read and understand.

John 3:16 in Simba Guaraní
Our coworkers have had an active presence with the Simba since the mid '90s.  As they finished learning the language, they realized that the people needed a relevant translation in their own language.  They began work and last year officially finished, 16 years later!  The translation includes the entire New Testament as well as portions of the Old Testament that are critical to understanding God, humanity, sin, and redemption.  It went to print earlier this year and at the end of last month, they held a dedication conference.

Our missionary team working with the Simba Guaraní

Although the dedication was for the Simba Guaraní believers themselves, I (Nathan) had the privilege to attend as photographer and driver.  The driving role was needed because we took most of the Etnos training students so they could be put to work! More on that in a future post.

 The conference was Friday through Sunday, with the actual dedication ceremony first thing Friday morning.  As you might imagine, it is no easy task to translate Scripture, so Jack and Bill, the two main translators, presented a copy of the new translation to each one of the Simba people that helped them during the process, as a gift to thank them for their service.

Jack and Bill with their translation helpers

Julio dedicating the new translation to God's work in prayer
 Now, it's one thing to have a new book and the ability to read, but studying to understand is a different matter altogether!  After the presentation, Bill walked everyone through the features of the book itself -- table of contents, footnotes, concordance, maps, etc.  The following day, he and his wife Kathleen did an introduction to inductive Bible study and went through several texts to demonstrate the process.
Intro to the inductive Bible study method
The rest of the weekend was spent praising God and studying His Word together, led by Simba church leaders!  It was so exciting to see these men teaching their people.

Of course, the most exciting aspect of it all was seeing so many believers eagerly following along in their new Bibles!

The weekend wrapped up with the Lord's Supper, celebrated together as brothers and sisters -- Simba Guaraní, Bolivian nationals, and foreigners.  What a beautiful foreshadowing of eternity!