Thursday, July 23, 2020

July 2020 - Entire Huichol Bible, Old and New Testaments - Complete

July 2020

It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Matthew 4:4

The Bible, the message to us from the changeless Creator of the universe, is the only measuring stick by which we can distinguish truth from error. His Word tells us what God is like, how much He loves us, that human nature does not change on its own, how we can be saved from our sin and its ultimate consequence, how one truly gets to heaven, that saving faith comes by hearing, and it is as relevant and essential for us today as it was when He breathed it. His inspired Word keeps us from wasting years of our lives on that which does not matter and will not last. It is a book not merely for reading, but for studying and applying. The power of Scripture comes from the story it tells that is infused with the authority of Jesus and the Spirit, Who bring restitution to all who believe. Praise God, we have it in our language!  Praise God, the Huichol people now have it complete in their heart language, as well!

This is amazing news! The Huichol Bibles, Kakaɨyari Niukieya Xapayari Wixarikaki, are finished! They were printed, bound, and shipped 21051.21 statute miles from the port in South Korea, across the Pacific Ocean to Port Manzanillo on the west coast of Mexico. Then they were trucked overland to Mexico City and on to Tepic. All 2000 copies arrived at my house to await distribution.

With all of the impossible factors in getting this done, (at the peak of a pandemic and a world crisis when everything around is on hold!) God went before, and we got delivery three months before they were even due to be finished printing! Who ever heard of that? The plan was to have a big village-hosted Huichol/Mexican-style fiesta in October, just after the rainy season ends, inviting friends from all over the world to dedicate and celebrate the completion of this monumental task and spark the send-off into the mountains, but as much as we love a party in our neck of the woods… We certainly don’t want to deliver Covid to the uttermost parts of the earth, and we DO want the Word out! So, with a token thanksgiving celebration in the village of La Bendición, without much fanfare, the send-off has been expedited, and the long-awaited treasures are being distributed throughout the Sierra Madre mountains to hands and hearts that have been super-anxious, but so patiently begging, to have God's Word in their own language. Seriously, this IS nothing short of a miracle!

Enjoy a collection of pictures from the translation process, including some from the original New Testament job in the 1950s and the July 2020 mini-dedication, here.

In February 2003, Joe and Barbara Grimes came to visit us in Tepic. The Grimes, with the help of several Huichol friends, had spent 16 years completing the translation of the New Testament into the Huichol language during the 1950s-60s. When they left Mexico for another assignment in 1967, after presenting the printed New Testament to Román, the very first Huichol believer, the translation consultant said: “Román, here in your hands you have a copy of the true Word of the one and only God. You have participated in the effort to translate it into the Huichol language, and you have learned to read it. Read it, memorize it, obey it, and share it with your people. I will no longer be with you, but the Almighty will, and I will pray with you that God will provide you with strength and that He will send partners to help you with this task.”

There were few believers, but they were determined. With the Word of God in their hands and in their hearts, these believers began to obey the command to go throughout the world and announce the Good News to every creature. With their faith, much prayer, the help of people who love the Huichol people very much, and the power of the Holy Spirit, they began the work throughout the Sierra Madre mountains. Not everyone wanted to listen, but many did. When the Grimes returned to Tepic for their visit, they met some 450 believers in a single day. One of them was José López who had recently asked Kirt, “Why don't we have the Old Testament in our language?” He continued to insist: “The teaching of the Old Testament was important to Jesus, and it is important to us!” Kirt and Joe agreed and reinforced their deep desire that the Old Testament be translated into Huichol, too. We knew that there were Huichol people working alongside us who were very capable, able to learn, and ready to do the job, and we were willing to offer any resources that God placed in our hands. The wheels started turning. Dr. Grimes sent a letter to Kirt in February 2005 to share with Huichol leaders, a team of potential translators, to encourage them to go ahead with the challenge, even though it would be an enormous, long-term commitment. The Huichol believers were convinced that they needed all of God’s Word in their heart language, and the task would be worth the effort.

The following month, Kirt graduated to heaven. Though all of us were reeling from our great loss, even that would not stop the impetus, and the team was all the more determined to carry out the job. We held the very first of 48 translation workshops in Tepic from January 29 to February 9, 2007, with Joe and Barbara Grimes, Elizabeth Willett (the project language consultant), Debbie, and five mother-tongue-translators (MTTs), José López, Emilio, Hilario, Manuel, and Joaquín. After a short time, there was a team of eight MTTs who stuck with the job until its completion in 2019.

God provided the necessary resources, the support of many of you who are reading this, and faithful and persevering translators for 12 long years. Not only did they translate the Old Testament, but they also chose to do a New Testament revision, as well as the audio recording of the entire Bible to upload to for free, worldwide access. Glory to God! All of the digitized files from the Old Testament translation and New Testament revision were handed over to the publishers for formatting and preparing for the printing of the treasure they hold in their hands today.

In his magnum opus, Knowing God, the late Dr. J.I. Packer, whose faith now is sight, asserts: “What will make heaven to be heaven is the presence of Jesus, and of a reconciled divine Father who loves us for Jesus’ sake no less than he loves Jesus himself. To see, and know, and love, and be loved by the Father and the Son, in company with the rest of God’s vast family, is the whole essence of the Christian hope.” And the truth of that worldwide hope is made known perfectly by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We, and now the Huichols, can be filled with nothing but gratitude that we have access to it in our own languages.

See a video summary, made possible by Jonatán García, of the dedication service for the Huichol Bible, July 10, 2020.