For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
– Ephesians 2:10
Having the Bible in their heart language helps people understand how special they are to God, because He loves them enough to speak their language. Getting God’s Word to the Wapishana, an indigenous people of Guyana, has been a long process; but 2014 was a turning point for them.
Several years ago, the couple who originally started translating the Bible into Wapishana were tragically killed in a robbery. But the work continued, and new translators were assigned to the project. When the translation was finally complete, Faith Comes By Hearing made plans to record it and make it available to the people on Proclaimers as quickly as possible.
The field recording began in January 2014, and before the end of that summer, the Wapishana New Testament was ready to be loaded onto Proclaimers and sent to Guyana. The first 50 Audio Bibles, two for every Wapishana village, arrived quickly and though the rainy season was barely over, training and implementation of the first listening groups began in September. To accomplish so much in so little time, everyone involved knew it had to be God’s perfect timing.
During the training, leaders from each village were instructed on ways to make sure each person in the group had an opportunity to share from their hearts after listening to a portion of Scripture. By listening once a week for up to 45 minutes, the listening group could go through the whole New Testament in 40 weeks. A combination of hearing and discussing God’s Word leads to true understanding and discipleship.
The initial response to hearing God’s Word in their heart language has been tremendous. One older man, who did not attend church, said that he realized that he had been missing so many good things by not learning about God and the Bible. His eyes filled with tears as he shared about all the time he had lost in his life.
After listening to the Audio Bible, two primary school principals asked for Proclaimers to use in their schools as well. The translators are also planning to use some specially prepared Bible study materials for women with other listening groups. They say having God’s Word in a form that anyone can use is bringing the Gospel to life for the Wapishana people.
One church leader said hearing God’s Word has helped the people see their place in God’s creation and find renewed purpose. “God’s Word is showing us how special we are, and how we are made for God.”
We are thankful for churches like Delmar Wesleyan Church (Delmar, MD), First Assembly of God Church (West Monroe, LA), Faith Bible Church (Little Genesse, NY), West Valley Christian Fellowship (Sun City, AZ), Grace Covenant Church (Austin, TX), and First Baptist Church of Taft (Taft, TN) who are making it possible for people like the Wapishana to discover that they are special to God, as they hear God’s Word in their heart language.
Image: A Proclaimer training session for the first set of Wapishana listening group leaders was very well received.