Alan and I had the pleasure of attending a Scripture Celebration last Thursday while at Training Camp for our mission organization. (If you ever have the opportunity to attend, it is well worth your time.) ‘What is a Scripture Celebration?’ you might be asking. It is a ceremony to celebrate the translation of the Bible, either in part (New Testament) or in whole, into the heart language of a people group. Heart language is the tongue that a person thinks and dreams in. For me it is English, but for a tribe in Cameroon, it is the Kwanja that speaks to their hearts.
There were thirteen people groups in nine different countries who recently received the Bible in their own language. The countries range from the Congo to Peru, from the Philippines to India, and from Brazil to the United States of America. Surprised to see USA on the list? I was. It is a translation into Cheyenne. The people groups have populations as small as 1,700 people and as large as one million.
The best part of the Scripture Celebration was learning about the personal story of people in Peru that speak Quechua, Huaylas Ancash. The translation work began forty-three years ago. Now, normally the translation process takes less than half this amount of time, but there had been numerous barriers along the way. When one of the elderly women finally heard the scripture in her own language for the first time, she began to weep. She now knows that God speaks her language and is able to relate with Christ on a personal level.
Bible translation serves to preserve the language and culture of many people. Many of these languages do not even have a written language or alphabet when the translators begin, and their stories are being forgotten. Through Bible translation, the language becomes written, and the children can be educated in their first language. If you are interested in joining us for a Scripture Celebration in the future, please let us know.