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Five down and one to go!
Today as you read this, the fifth Quechua Bible is almost through the final layout process. Then, there’s just one more Bible to go.
New Quechua websites ask for help
During the past month some of our Quechua partners had the opportunity to attend a workshop on developing websites. Help! came a message. Help us update our materials so they can be downloaded.
Over the years as the orthography (spelling system) has changed, not all books and materials kept up with all the changes back and forth. For example, we started using the letter k to represent the hard c sound. Then, we moved to c and qu to match what kids learn in the Spanish speaking schools. Currently, we’re back to using k in Quechua materials to match the government’s foray into promoting Quechua.
So, Mark found himself re-working the series of fox stories along with other stories we haven’t touched in years. All one has to do is tell the punch line of the story illustrated here and everyone laughs! Hang on, guys!
Hurray for people working to make these materials more accessible to Quechua speakers. These websites will eventually contain links for people to access Scripture in their own language. Another hurrah!
Strike up the band!
Ta-daa! The proofs have been checked and the first of the six Bibles has been turned over for final layout. Four others are waiting in the wings for their turn. Just one group wants a bit more time before they turn theirs over. This is a major milestone! Celebrate with us and all the team! And you know, the team includes all of you who pray, give, and encourage us along the way. Through many people, God has graciously helped us get to this point.
Totaling it up
We always knew that translating the Bible into six related Quechua languages was a big job. Recently, however, we counted up some statistics to get a better idea.
* In the process of translating for six Bibles, we worked intensely and multiple times on 186,174 verses (31,029 verses per Bible). There was the initial translation followed by an edit, reading to people in communities to make sure that everything was understandable, re-editing, reading through on the computer, re-editing, reading aloud, re-editing, etc. And then, finally, reading through the proofs.
As the Quechua teams read through the proofs, Mark asked Oscar, a native Quechua speaker and fellow missionary, if he would like to read some as well. After Oscar read a couple books and had tasted how sweet the translation is in his own language, he offered to read through the entire Bible.
It’s so encouraging to read Oscar’s comments when he sends back a file. Oscar is not new to the Bible. So, it means a lot to have him say:
What a beautiful translation, brother! I’m not just reading to check the translation, I’m reading to worship the One who confused all the languages in the first place.
I’m reliving the life of Paul [as I read this].
And, God is really glorified in what you are doing, Mark.
A Quechua-speaking Good Shepherd
Sumer represents the Huacaybamba area on the translation team. His church sent him to a large neighboring community to read Scrip-ture as part of a big community festival. He chose to read John 10 about Jesus being the Good Shepherd.
Quechua people shepherd their sheep daily. They can really relate to John 10. Sumer’s au-dience raved about how clear and special it was to hear this in their own language. They lamented that it was too bad that Sumer hadn’t been there the previous day to read Scripture, too.
Because it was a community festival, many family members had returned to the area from the capital city to be there for the occa-sion. Even though they are usually immersed in Spanish while in the city, they too, ex-claimed how special it was to hear the mes-sage in the language of their heart.
How to eat an elephant
At Christmas we celebrate the Word of God made flesh. Jesus, the Christmas babe, came for all people, even those in the remotest corners of the earth. Join us in praying that the written Word of God becomes available for Quechua speakers in central Peru before another Christmas rolls around.
Praises and Prayer Requests
Every year there are SO many things to be thankful for. This year is no exception. Here are some highlights along with a brand new praise.
Guidance and provision
We thank God for his leading us to establish our home base here in Ohio near Mom Bean. He confirmed that to us in many ways including positive feedback from many of you. Shortly after, another confirmation was learning that Mark needs to be close to medical care.
We thank God for a home of our own with a garage, a big deal in ice & snow country. Daily we pinch ourselves, marveling at how God provided and how he used so many of his people to fill our home with all we need and more to make it liveable.
During our recent trip to Peru we got to help celebrate Bible Day! Hundreds of believers, young and old, formed up in the street to march through town carrying signs, flags, banners, and…Bibles! This year, the parade ended up at the main town square where they held an outdoor meeting. They have the Spanish Bible, and they hope to soon have the Bible in their Quechua as well. Mark was on the program to give them a taste of what’s coming. He read Old and New Testament passages in Quechua about God’s Word.
No Bible left behind
We’re back in the U.S. now from our three-plus weeks in Peru, where we helped the six teams begin checking the proofs of their respective Bibles. They prefer to work together rather than each guy reading alone. By drawing up a schedule, everyone’s on the “same page,” reading through the same material. Working that way, they sometimes help each other with things they find. That way, no Bible is “left behind.”
A concert in Germany
Last week, on the 13th, there was a benefit concert in Germany for the Quechua Bibles we’re shepherding to completion. “How’s that?” you ask.
Well actually, it was a concert our dear friend and colleague Angelika Marsch orchestrated as a gift to her church. It was a way to celebrate 30 years to the day her church commissioned her, and they have faithfully supported her ever since. After serving alongside us in Peru to help Quechua speakers learn to read in their language, she returned to Germany, where she served fourteen years as the director for Wycliffe Bible Translators there. She’s now in a new role.
A musician herself, Angelika once had the joy of producing a CD of Quechua-German songs along with Siegfried Fietz, one of the top Christian composers of German praise music. For the celebration at her church last week, she invited Siegfried along with his son to come put on a concert. With Siegfried’s music and the Quechua songs, the concert was a success. Part-way through the concert they did a video interview with Mark via Skype, introducing the project to the concertgoers. The church leaders had suggested that an offering be collected on behalf of these six Bibles. Then, the following Sunday, when Angelika spoke in her church, a second offering was taken.
That’s a STACK of pages!
This is a copy of one Quechua Bible. It weighs in at 1,984 pages, which is actually less pages than my English Bible. It’s probably what your Bible would look like, too, if you were to print it out yourself with regular paper. It looks pretty daunting, don’t you think? Four of the six Bibles have their preliminary layout done and the other two are in process.
Moving down the checklist
Once we have the inital layout in hand, the next step is for them to be "proofed" and signed off by a native speaker. If the above stack of pages looks daunting to us, we imagine that it will also be daunting to our Quechua co-workers. Be in prayer for each of them as they tackle this important job.
* Praise that five of the six Bibles have been turned over for layout. Praise that three of those Bibles now have preliminary proofs. And praise that the team working by Skype with Mark to finish the sixth Bible is making good progress. Pray for each of these Bibles as they pass through different stages on their way to publication.
* We are thankful for excellent medical care here. Pray that the series of treatments Mark is undergoing will effectively knock down his lymphoma enabling him to continue working unhindered for many more years.