Archive for the ‘Central America’ Category

Colour TV is a human right

Monday, April 17th, 2017 by Camilla

As a child, TV was very important to me. I didn’t really see the point of black and white TVs like they’d had in the old days, and I figured colour TV was practically a human right.

These days I feel more strongly about universal access to the Bible, and we know reading the Bible in a second language can be almost like watching your favourite TV show in black and white – it’s not quite how it was meant to be experienced. Like many people groups around the world, until a few years ago, the Choco of Panama didn’t have the Bible in their own language.

The Choco people’s Bible translation story is one that starts in the age of black-and-white entertainment and carries on into the age of Blu-ray. In 1960, Bible translator Dick Scott left his home in the US and made the journey to Panama, aged just 24. He would spend a total of 13 years living among the Choco people, and they wouldn’t have a complete Bible in their language, called Emberá, until 2013.

The Choco people lived in a remote rainforest, with no running water and no roads. Despite their isolation from the rest of the world, they were very open to Dick and his two colleagues.

Dick spent time with a mother-tongue speaker learning the unwritten Emberá language, and developing a writing system for it on his typewriter, before going on to translate the New Testament, starting with Mark. Over the years to come until 2013, he would travel back and forth between his home in the US and the Choco people, all the while working to complete the Choco Bible, as well as finding time to serve as a leader in an Oregon church.

With the Bible finally available in their language, the Choco people can experience the Bible as it’s meant to be experienced, in full colour.

This blog post is adapted from a story originally posted on Oregon Live’s website. Read the original article.

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From gang to God

Monday, November 28th, 2016 by Camilla

When Diego nears the coast today, the smell of salt air takes him back more than 20 years to a time when he was 14 and striking out on his own to find work on the banana plantations.

When he arrived at his destination, the hardworking teen quickly landed a job. Just as quickly, he also landed new friends…in a local gang.

from-gang-to-godHe’d not planned to live a life of violence, crime and alcoholism. But after a time, he didn’t want to hear about any alternative.

‘My mind was just too rebellious,’ Diego says. ‘Many people talked to me about believing in Jesus. I had been in jail in Guatemala in 1994 and even before.’

Finally his lifestyle led to a crisis. Diego became ill. ‘So I looked for some other ways to heal my life,’ Diego says. ‘I never found any. I suffered for a long time. Then I remembered about God. I looked for him to see if he really existed.’

Diego fasted and prayed for three days.

‘Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — I prayed for two hours a day,’ he says. ‘I talked to God and asked him to forgive me. I was in much vice. I was lost and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have any escape. So I said, ‘Lord, if you really exist, heal me, because I can’t take it anymore. Otherwise I will kill myself. I don’t want to suffer anymore.’

On the third day, God answered Diego who gave his life to Christ that day. ‘I automatically quit drinking,’ he says.

That was eight years ago.

As Diego transitioned from gang member to believer, he began attending Spanish language church services. But his heart language isn’t Spanish. It’s the Mayan language K’iche’. As his search to know more about Jesus continued, Diego met lead translator Felipe, and discovered that Scripture was being translated into his language.

Diego eagerly listened as the translators worked on passages. He leaned in closely as they discussed the meaning of each word, each thought, each promise. Diego was captivated by God’s word. Before long, he became part of the translation team.

This post originally appeared on our partner The Seed Company’s website.

Interested in supporting the work of Bible translation? Find out more on how you can go, give or pray.

‘Now we can understand clearly!’

Monday, June 20th, 2016 by Cath Macleod

Marta lives near Lake Atitlán. She and some 60,000 other Guatemalans speak the Mayan language of Tz’utujil. Her grandfather on her father’s side was the first evangelical Christian in the area. His wife soon followed, and the two of them began going house-to-house sharing their faith with their neighbours. Today, their faith legacy lives on in the local church where their granddaughter leads the worship.

marta guatemalaHaving Scripture in Tz’utujil has changed Marta’s approach to music.

‘In my singing ministry I find that in Tz’utujil we can understand well what the Scriptures say about our God, what he is telling us and what he has done in our hearts,’ she says.

Recording prayer and worship songs in Tz’utujil helps her people express themselves to God.

‘Sometimes we sing in Spanish but we don’t understand it very well,’ she says. ‘In Tz’utujil, however, we can understand it clearly. We can tell God how we’re feeling. What we feel in our hearts we can share in our own words.’

Her favourite song? I am trusting, God, in you.

‘I feel happy to know that God uses me. It’s very humbling and I feel so happy for what God has done in my life. I really wish others to experience the same blessings.’

This blog post is by our partner The Seed Company, and originally appeared on their website.

Interested in praying more for Bible translation? Use our Frontline Prayer modules to help you, your small group or your church pray for Bible translation around the world.

Deditos: finger puppet Bible stories

Monday, December 21st, 2015 by Camilla

The concept is nothing short of brilliant: short Bible story videos using finger puppets to teach kids everywhere about Jesus.

deditos pictureThe Deditos series, made by Viña studios in Guatemala, uses the power of visual media to reach people with biblical truth in the languages and forms they understand best.

The team build elaborate sets to accurately portray Bible stories, using simple, local materials such as sand from a local riverbed, fabric and sawdust. With the backdrop of simple materials and tiny film sets, these finger puppets and voice actors make Bible stories come alive, and communicate biblical truths in a visual way that impacts the hearts of kids around the world. The best part is that the episodes can be dubbed into any language.

The videos have seen an overwhelming response since the original pilot project telling the story of David and Goliath in 2004. Episodes have been dubbed from Spanish into 22 other languages so far, including Kaqchikel. Kaqchikel is a language very close to Wycliffe’s heart, as a Kaqchikel man’s question about why God couldn’t speak his language led to the founding of Wycliffe Bible Translators by William Cameron Townsend.

Learn more about Viña and Deditos, or check out the Deditos website, where you can watch episodes of the entertaining show for yourself, see a video that tells you more about dubbing Deditos into other languages, and make a donation to their work.

Epic Journey

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 by Ruth

I’m often rendered speechless by the phenomenally inspiring things people do in support of Bible translation. Today was no exception. Paul and Mason are currently cycling across the US from Canada to Mexico with the needs of the Bibleless peoples of the world in their hearts and minds. And they’re having the time of their life while they do it!

Paul and Mason on their epic cycling challenge across a continent.

Paul and Mason on their epic cycling challenge across a continent.

Paul and Mason started their Great Divide Mountain Bike Race journey on 14 June, and hope to finish it in around 20 days (i.e. anytime soon, about 4-5 July). We wish them success! You can follow their progress on Facebook (CrossTheDivideRace2013).

Meanwhile others are facing epic challenges worldwide in the cause of Bible translation. Sometimes it’s because translators in dangerous parts of the world have had to relocate in order to continue work on the project they hold dear. Sometimes it’s friends dealing with termite infestations or dead bats or [fill in the gap] as part of their daily routine. Sometimes it’s persevering through what feels like a million setbacks as they face down the final stages of typesetting a New Testament or getting it to the printers.

It takes a huge and varied team to bring God’s word to those without it. You can play a part too.

Background to this story can be found here on the Wycliffe US project page. Paul and Mason are riding to raise money for a language community deep in the Himalayan Mountains, where several million people have lived their entire lives knowing almost nothing about the life-transforming power of Jesus Christ. By giving to this project, you can help this community receive Scripture in their own language. (Wycliffe US have set up an online donation page, but for UK donors, please consider donating to Paul and Mason’s chosen project The Himalayan Translation Project via the Wycliffe UK online secure donation page, where UK tax-payers can increase the value of their gift by reclaiming UK tax on the donation.) Thank you!

Head, shoulders, knees and toes…?

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 by Hannah

‘The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.’

Have you ever thought about which parts of your body are useful for the Body of Christ? We all use our brains for Jesus. Some people work as pilots or Scripture checkers, thus using their eyes for him. Some are mechanics or builders, using their hands. Some are language analysts, making special use of their ears.

Part of the ministry of Viña Studios, in Guatemala, has been using a very specific part of their bodies to get God’s word out to children in their own languages. This video, by interns at Wycliffe Canada, introduces their work (you’ll have to watch about half way through before you spot it!).
Find out more about Viña Studios and watch more of their ‘digital’ videos on their website,

Wondering how you could get involved in mission? In a couple of weeks, we are running an course of just a few days for people to explore how they could be involved: find out more about The Next Step (3-6 September).

The Word Proclaimed

Thursday, May 5th, 2011 by Hannah

It is a great day when a language community first receives Scriptures. Having the Bible in your own language changes the way you think about yourself, and the way you know God. But, for many people, these celebrations have no impact – because half the world’s population are illiterate.

Faith Comes by Hearing work with Wycliffe Bible Translators and other Bible organisations by sharing the message of God’s love in the language that people think and feel in, which for many people is oral. Their work means that, now, more than 5 billion people, speaking over 500 languages can access Audio Scripture recordings.

In order that people can listen to these Scriptures, Faith Comes by Hearing make and distribute Proclaimers, solar-powered digital players which have Bible passages stored on it. In March, the first Proclaimer was placed in the home of a Tolpan family.

Tolpan is spoken by just 350 people in Honduras. The New Testament has been available in Tolpan since 1993, but because of low literacy rates, it has been difficult to access. Only between five and ten percent of Tolpan speakers are literate in their mother-tongue, and less than fifteen percent are literate in a second language. So having the Bible in their language means having it in audio format.

At the end of May, a full distribution of New Testament Proclaimers is being made in the Tolpan community. But over half the world’s language communities still don’t have a New Testament in a language they can understand. Give the Story.