Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’



How valuable is your Bible in your language? More valuable than the latest iPhone? The latest living room wall sized TV? Your dream car? An exotic holiday?

What about a shiny new spoon? Or a new enamel plate?

Wycliffe Canada colleague Jack Popjes remembers a prayer meeting in a fairly remote part of Brazil many years ago…

I will never forget that girl’s prayer during night class!

We were in the last stages of the Canela translation program. Two dozen young Canela men and women surrounded me, sitting on logs, heads bowed in prayer. We had sung hymns set to Canela indigenous music patterns, and in a few minutes would read and talk about a new draft of the translated Scriptures.

Now, it was time to pray. I heard prayers asking God to heal sick children, for a good crop, and for help to find a lost bush knife.

Then a young mother prayed:

“Great Father in the Sky,” she began. “I want to thank You for sending our brother Prejaka, and our sister Tehtikwyj, to us so long ago when I was just a little girl. They taught us to read our own language. Then they worked with us to translate Your Words into it. Now we can read Your Letter to us. Now we are discovering that You love us very much. Now we can learn how we can live to please you. Please help them to finish the Book soon.”

Canela village where the Popjes worked

Canela village where the Popjes worked

Then came the part that brought tears to my eyes and engraved itself into my memory.

“I also want to thank You for all Prejaka and Tehti’s friends in Canada. Every month their friends send money to them. They know that our brother and sister don’t have a food garden here like we do. They need money to buy food, and their friends in Canada send it to them.

“They don’t send it just because they are their friends. They send it because they are our brothers and sisters. Just as You are our Great Father, You are their Great Father too.

“They could keep the money, and buy nice things for themselves. Maybe they see a new enamel plate, or a shiny spoon, and ask themselves, ’Should I buy this for my family?’ But then, they decide not to buy anything, but to send the money to our brother and sister so they can stay here and help us have Your Word.

“And they sure chose right, because Your Word is so much more valuable than a new spoon, and better than an enamel plate. As a reward, give these friends, our brothers and sisters, lots of healthy children; make their gardens grow well, and keep them from getting sick. Amen.”

Bible translation is going on in 2,267 languages in more than 230 countries as you are reading this:

  • Somewhere, people are reading or hearing the Word of God in their own language for the first time.
  • Somewhere, the Holy Spirit is revealing the Father to someone who has only recently heard about Him.
  • Somewhere, the Holy Spirit is inspiring new believers not just to thank God for His Word, and for those who bring it, but also to ask Him to bless those who send the money which makes it all possible.
  • Somewhere, God is blessing donors to Bible translation and cross-cultural missions who are responding to prayers by new believers such as that young Canela mother.

This story is an encouragement to support Bible translation: if you do, keep doing it. Somewhere, someone may be thanking God for you.

Someone who you will not meet until eternity may be praying God’s blessing on you because, as that young Canela mother said,

“You sure chose right.”

Read Full Post »

I got this great video via Eddie Arthur today. A mutual colleague Phil (or one of his team more likely) found it on one of our Wycliffe Global Alliance websites and Eddie posted it on his blog. It’s one of those videos I just can’t not share. I like how Eddie introduced it; it quietly screams at us to get things in some sort of proportion!

Apparently nine million people watched a group of British celebrities camping in an Australian jungle on their TVs last night. Meanwhile, there are far more interesting things happening in rain forests across the world. Give yourself ten minutes to watch this video and see how God is at work. And not a bushtucker trial in sight.

For me this video had an added poignancy. When we joined Wycliffe Bible Translators, one of our experienced N. Ireland colleagues Helen Weir was working with the Nadёb people. Helen unfortunately had to return home to look after her aging mother and eventually retired though for years she made occasional trips back and kept in contact with Nadёb friends. It was from Helen that I first heard the story of Socorro, who features in the video.

Read Full Post »

Did you read my recent blog about the Irishman from Belfast who prayed for 62 years for a people group in Brazil?

Canela village from the air


He spent sixty-two years of his life talking to God about the Canela people of Brazil – twenty two of those praying for a Canadian couple  who helped translate the Bible into the Canela language?

Today I have discovered who the man from Belfast was!

Amazingly I have known his son Paul for over 30 years; I taught two of his grandsons Mark and David in Belfast before I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators. This afternoon Paul gave me a copy of his father’s autobiography.


11 August 1990 Canela people at the distribution festival of the partial Bible into their language.

Meanwhile why not read the original article that got me interested in the story at wycliffe.net – and then get in touch with the Wycliffe office in your country, ask for the name of a language still without God’s Word and get praying! There are still over 2,000 of them!

Read Full Post »

Did you hear the one about the Irishman saying his prayers?

No! Not that one!!!

The one about the Irishman from Belfast who spent sixty-two years of his life talking to God about the Canela people from Brazil and the Canadian couple who helped the Canela people translate the Bible into their language.

When Jack and Jo Popjes arrived to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Brazil, they were puzzled at the difficulties colleagues in other projects were experiencing. Jack writes…

Within hours of my first arrival in the main Canela village, I was given a Canela name. Within a month of our family settling in the village, two families stepped up—one to adopt me as their son, and the other to adopt Jo as their daughter. We became Canelas: citizens of the village, joined with others in a complicated kinship system. I was even taken into one of the men’s groups and guided through my responsibilities in the village festivals.

Canela village from the air

When it came to learning the language, it was like drinking from a fire hose. Teenagers crowded around us shouting out the Canela names for things faster than we could write them down. Once we began teaching people to read, there were so many potential students that, for the first year, we limited classes to parents of families only. Some boys who didn’t make it into the reading classes stole the learn-to-read books and taught themselves…  At one time we had seventeen men and women on the team serving as review readers, translation checkers, and typists.

As we listened to the problems enumerated by our colleagues who worked in other language groups, we realized we were very fortunate. And for years we had no idea why this was the case.

That is until they got a letter from Belfast, N. Ireland…

As the Irishman went on to tell us more about himself, we realized he had started praying for the Canela of Brazil when our parents were still teenagers! A full ten years before Jo and I were born!

He prayed faithfully for the Canela for forty years, until we finally got there—as thirty year-old linguist-translators. Then he prayed for another twenty-two years, until God’s Word was translated into Canela and the Church was established. Finally, after sixty-two years of praying, the Lord took him Home, no doubt to an exceedingly great reward.

God seems to have bound Himself to act on earth mostly as His people ask Him to. He voluntarily limits Himself to work in this world mainly in response to the prayers of His children. He prepared the Canela for our coming as an answer to that Irishman’s prayers.

Jo and I spent twenty-two years of our lives talking to the Canela about God. The Irishman from Belfast spent sixty-two years of his life talking to God about the Canela.

Read the whole article at wycliffe.net – and then get in touch with the Wycliffe office in your country, ask for the name of a language still without God’s Word and get praying! There are still over 2,000 of them!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: