Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Shuar Bible Dedication
Last Saturday we joined a number of Shell missionaries on a flight to Makuma for the dedication of the newly printed Shuar bible. Our good friends Jim and Norma Hedlund have been working on this project with the Shuar church association for many years to get a partial translation of the Old testament and a revision of the New Testament ready for print.
The dedication was all planned and presented by the church association and they did a beautiful job. For me, the most touching part was the reciting of Nehemiah 12.27+ (dedication of the wall) by all the tranlators who had worked on the bible.
Bibles were given to all the translators, to people who had supplied food faithfully over many years for when the translators came to makuma and to the different missionaries and Missions who have been involved over the years. Even Alfredo was given a bible on behalf of the work of HCJB water projects with the Shuar. This brought a tear to my eye as Daniel Chu, the president of the church association presented the bible to 'mi amigo Alfredo' (my friend Alfredo)- it highlighted the good relationships we have with these people and that the local church view as partners in their work.
It was a joy to see Umberto present at the event. He lost the use of his legs when a tree fell on him many years ago and he has been the longest-serving translator, working 30 years on both the original new testament and the revision and Old Testament publication. It is very unusual for someone to survive so long in the jungle in a wheelchair and he recognises that God has protected him all this time so he could work on this project. Many times I was working in Makuma on water projects and would pop into the translation room to find Norma Hedlund and Umberto working together on Old testament passages. Umberto lives in a community down in the southern jungle and would come for a fortnight each month. Lately he has been unable to come to mauma because his community airstrip was in bad repair and was closed down. It was a real blessing for the strip to be opened in the last week so he could come to this celebration. They will have another dedication in his community later in the year.
Marie and Frank Drown returned to Ecuador for the dedication. They worked many years with the Shuar and we often hear about 'Don Pancho' because in addition to all his bible and transtaion work he had a vision of community development and has left long-lasting influence in the areas we work. It was an honour to meet them both. Their story can be read in 'Mission to the headhunters' and great book about the people we work with.
May many eyes and hearts be opened amongst the Shuar as they receive the bible in their own language. To God be all the Glory.