In a faraway place (likely across the world from where you’re reading now), in a misty valley dense with towering trees, thorny shrubs, and breath-taking flowers, a quiet village is nestled among tall mountains. The people who live there, once unknown to the so-called modern and outside world, must now contend with it. They too are flooded with news, social anxiety, and other cultures pressing in on them, changing their ways of life. All of us face these kinds of struggles in our own contexts, and as our world changes, we all seek community for survival and ways to find (or hold onto) our identity, values, and of course, our place in this world. Though we expect our leaders, or the wizened among us, to help us find a path, sometimes, they too are lost. This was the case, for the people living in this valley,
“Some elders from our village told us that the Literacy and Bible translation programs are all for self-benefit and that there would be no benefit for the community. But they were wrong and had misunderstood the work…”
Mr Gee & Mr Bee* are teachers in the valley. Their language is endangered, and as it fades, they experience increased hopelessness, depression, and addiction in their society. The community had a sense that wisdom, education, and life must come from outside their people, as these things are always communicated with other outside languages. Even when The Word for World helped start a Bible translation project and initiated several language development and literacy workshops, the elders still doubted the projects’ ability and desire to help; they certainly didn’t see the potential for transformation.
However, these two teachers decided to discuss the work with the indigenous translation team and engage in the language development programs. They saw first-hand the value of learning to read and write in their own language; they saw the effectiveness of teaching mathematics more understandably. They saw God, and themselves, in a new light, with renewed faith.
Over the next few years, the teachers gained permission to start using these indigenous literacy materials in the schools. Through the literacy and writer development materials, they watched children succeed in learning and their parents develop a new passion for their language and identity. Building on the growing acceptance of their language as a viable source for knowledge and wisdom, the translation team finished the New Testament. The testimonies proclaiming a new experience of God’s love and spiritual revitalization increased. Not only do our literacy programs equip indigenous communities to own their development, but they are a powerful tool for evangelism in unreached areas, as they are love in action.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. You are an essential breath of God’s life to endangered communities struggling to breathe.
The Word for the World International Team
* Unfortunately, we need to protect the names of some of our projects and people. When you pray for them and share their stories, God knows who they are, but those who might wish harm to them do not.