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Posts Tagged ‘did you hear the one about the Irishman’

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.

WATCH THIS SPACE

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!

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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!

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