hannahI remember one time when I was a kid in Batangas, the part of the Philippines that my parents were missionaries in, looking out the car window at people from a minority group from the next island walking along the side of the road, going to beg at people's houses. The people who lived in Batangas called people from that minority group Mangyan, and I knew that some of our family friends were missionaries who worked with the Mangyan. I remember thinking to myself, as I looked at the strange people on the side of the road, "I'm glad someone is telling them about God. I suppose someone has to. I wouldn't want to have to do it."

Sometime later, when I was thirteen, our family went on a holiday to a place where a mission group which had done a lot of the Bible translation in the Philippines had a compound for their Bible translators to stay at. While we were there, one of the Bible translators who lived there started teaching me Biblical Hebrew. It didn't take me long to work out that I absolutely loved learning Hebrew. Sometimes, I would also go and watch the Bible translators work. By the end of that holiday, I had decided that I wanted to be a Bible translator when I grew up.From then on, I started helping with translation during my school holidays. The more I helped, the more I realised what a huge need there is for translation in the Philippines. Some language groups here have no part of the Bible in their language; many others have parts of the Bible, but would like to have more. The major language groups in this country have the whole Bible, but a lot of those translations are written in language that is hard for native speakers to understand. Because of all this, a lot of people here in the Philippines think that they can't understand the Bible. I'll never forget being asked by a lady here: "Are you saying that someone like me should be able to read the Bible and understand it?" She had grown up in a Christian family and been going to church her whole life, but the Bible had never been a book that communicated to her.

From then on, I started helping with translation during my school holidays. The more I helped, the more I realised what a huge need there is for translation in the Philippines. Some language groups here have no part of the Bible in their language; many others have parts of the Bible, but would like to have more. The major language groups in this country have the whole Bible, but a lot of those translations are written in language that is hard for native speakers to understand. Because of all this, a lot of people here in the Philippines think that they can't understand the Bible. I'll never forget being asked by a lady here: "Are you saying that someone like me should be able to read the Bible and understand it?" She had grown up in a Christian family and been going to church her whole life, but the Bible had never been a book that communicated to her.

When I finished high school, I spent a month helping with a translation of the Old Testament that was being done into a language called Eastern Tawbuid. I really enjoyed this, so after I went away to New Zealand to university, I kept coming back during my holidays to study the language and help some more. During this time, I
started praying about going and helping the Eastern Tawbuid translation team after I finished university. And that's exactly what's happened – I'm writing this in my little house in an Eastern Tawbuid village, where I've been working on translating Genesis into Eastern Tawbuid.

One of the things that I find funny is that the Eastern Tawbuid are neighbours of the people from the minority group that I saw on the side of the road in Batangas. 'Mangyan' isn't actually the name of any one people group – it's what some people call about seven different minority groups that live on the island of Mindoro. One of those groups is the Eastern Tawbuid, so strangely, I have ended up doing what I thought as a kid I would never want to do – being someone who tells Mangyan people about God.

People from all the different language groups here need to know that God's Word is for them too.

One thing that I pray about is that other people my age won't have the same attitude to Bible translation that I had to working with Mangyan people when I was a kid – the attitude that you're glad that someone is doing it, but that you would never consider it yourself. There's a huge need here in the Philippines for people to come and help with Bible translation. People from all the different language groups here need to know that God's Word is for them, too.

Hannah

 

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