Saturday, 15 March 2008

Excitement to read Bible stories in own language!

Yesterday a fellow member of our church, some years younger than me, said,'I don't see any need to learn to use e-mail. I've managed this far without it!' Well, all I can say is that it has been a great blessing to me. It has brought me friends whom I have never met and am never likely to meet because of the distance between us. This email that arrived this morning is such an example. It has brought me such joy to have this insight into the work of Bible translation and the effect it has on its recipients. I do hope you too will enjoy hearing this report.

Fosters’ Communiqué

Since we last wrote an exciting thing has happened; a direct answer to your prayers and ours. In our communications with you, we shared about helping the Hutterite endeavor to bring God’s Word to the Hutterite people. Even though we have been assigned as part of that team, our actual involvement has been more behind the scenes. Here is the latest exciting news sent to us by our co-worker, Dick Mueller, who has spear-headed this endeavor.

Dick writes:

"Last Tuesday evening, at about 7:30 P.M. the first volume of six Hutterisch Bible stories arrived in Linda Maendel's house. Linda is my Hutterite coworker in Elm River colony in Manitoba. We opened the box and we each grabbed a book and started looking at it. Shortly we gave Linda's mom, Asnath a copy. She is in her 70's. She had read little, if any, Hutterisch previously. We asked her to read the book aloud. She began reading aloud, and continued to read until she had finished the 180 page book, about 10 or 15 minutes later. When others came into the house we gave them a book and asked them to read aloud, and they did.

"The next morning we went to the school, and in a little while Linda gave the books to the three 6th to 8th graders.

"They immediately each began reading, Shaniah silently, and Damion and Caleb aloud simultaneously on different pages. They read lickety-split, seemingly not even taking any time to look at the beautiful color pictures on each page. Occasionally one of them asked Linda about the pronunciation of a word. About a third of the way through the book Damion said, "I want one!," and kept reading ‘till each of them finished the book. After they finished, we asked them which language could they read and understand better? Damion answered, "Hutterisch, because that is my language."

"On Thursday afternoon in Baker Colony, the colony where our publisher, The Hutterian Brethren Book Centre is located, we visited Frances, a Hutterite English teacher who teaches Hutterite high school English by closed circuit TV for students in 25 colonies. She was about at the end of her class, so we asked her to show the Bible Story book to her students. She did, and then read a few pages for them. Then she found out that I was one of the authors of the book, so she asked me to come on the TV and be interviewed. She asked about my role as a linguist for this book, and to explain what a linguist does. Then her students made comments, and asked a couple questions. We were thrilled to be able to show and tell about the book to students in about 14 colonies, some as far away as Minnesota, near Minneapolis.

"We are praising the Lord for allowing the book to get this far. Please now pray for the distribution of the book to many colonies. Also pray for Tony Waldner, Hutterite educator and Martin Knauber, another SIL co-worker in the project, as they work on the Hutterisch New Testament. Tony now has Matthew, Mark and Luke in 1st draft. Pray for them as they work to assemble a translation checking committee of Hutterite leaders. Also please pray for them as they will be meeting with Linda, that they will be able to come to a consensus about details on how we should spell Hutterisch."

Thanks for your prayers for us and for allowing us to be your representatives to a world that still needs Christ.

We appreciate each one of you that God has brought in to be part of our ministry team.

Phil Foster


eddie said...

Dear Olive,

Your blog came up in one of my news readers about Bible Translation. What a delight to come across it, I'm adding you to my blogroll.

It is a real encouragement to me on a dull Saturday afternoon to see your support for Wycliffe and the world of Bible Translation. May the Lord bless and encourage you!

Olive Morgan said...

Eddie - Thank you for your visit and encouragement. I wasn't sure about using this morning's email with so many persons named, so it was good to hear from you. I have been a supporter of Wycliffe for more years than I can remember. It is a great joy to be a member of Wycliffe Associates and I have some sight checking (of the Psalms in the Sotho 1985 version) awaiting my attention at present.

Dick said...

Hi Olive,

A Hutterite colleague emailed me this morning about Phil's letter above. The sentence, "... about helping the Hutterite endeavor to bring God’s Word to the Hutterite people." sounds like the Hutterite haven't had God's Word. The sentence would be more accurate if it said, "... about helping the Hutterite endeavor to bring God’s Word to the Hutterite people in their Hutterisch language." The Hutterites have had Luther's German Bible since they began in the 16th century. However, German is not the language they speak among themselves. It is Hutterisch.

I'm the Dick quoted in Phil's letter.