Ignacio “cut his translation teeth” working on the Balangao NT translation many years ago. That book brought new life to many. But Ignacio had a burden for the people across the mountain from Balangao. He learned to be a Bible Translator, working with Translators Association of the Philippines (TAP) and he is on the “last lap” of his translating the Scriptures for the Majukayong people. (When finished next year, Lord willing, he will work full-time on the Balangao Old Testament!) The Scriptures are totally new to the people of Majukayong—Scriptures are something only leaders of a church might have—in another language. He reports on the impact of Scriptures in the language of the people.
We went to visit one of our seven Bible-Reading Classes in up-river Majukayong to test the naturalness of our translation. [These groups are not from churches, but ad hoc people who come together to read something in their own language.] They were reading Acts 8: 1-40 in the Majukayong Translation. They each took turns reading the passage. Then the leader commented, “I think that Ethiopian official was reading it the same way we do… Just think—how could Philip have heard him reading the Isaiah passage if he were not reading it out loud? I think what we are doing is the right way to do it. When we read it out loud, then we discuss what the passage means...that’s a good way to do it.” After a few seconds of silence, one from the group raised a searching question: “In verse 8, it says ‘…at amud sey layad da tagu assey vubruy saji.’ (‘…then the people in that village were intensely happy!’) And in verse 39, the official was not only alarmed when Philip just vanished after being baptized, but rather went on his way rejoicing. But look at us, here we are, reading the passage and I do not see any evidence of rejoicing among us—what are we lacking.” A lively but very interesting discussion followed. A leader from one of the other reading classes who was with us, a Christian, promised to go back that week and talk more with them about issues the Scriptures brought up!
This has led to a House Church being formed in that very place! Annie Sogan, one of the present “read-through-the-revision” team leaders is now in charge of this group that meets every Sunday to learn more from God’s Word in their own language!
Going further up-river, we attended another Reading Class. That leader reported to us, “I have a neighbor who has two sons who joined the Anglican priesthood. But this woman herself still won’t attend any of the Anglican services, including those one of her sons leads. She is very strict in her own group…and she only attends functions performed by a leader from her group. But the reading class leader told us, smiling, “Now, however, she’s a member of our reading group, hearing the Word of God in her own language!”
After some time the mother of the leader of this reading class died. Our MTT’s and I walked far to their village to attend the wake and burial. As is their custom in this Anglican area, the Anglican priest is expected to perform the mass and lead the people in praying for the soul of the dead so that this mother would be accepted into Heaven. But the priest at that time had a severely sore throat and couldn’t talk! So he asked me to say the mass in his behalf. But I said, I can’t do that the way you are doing. But he insisted, saying, “Just use the prayer book…read it from there.” Feeling obligated to him because he was one of our friends and a promoter of our translation, I said, “Yes I can help you—but may I reword some of the readings to fit our situation?” He consented, so instead of praying for the soul of the dead, we prayed for the bereaved family, their relatives and all the people who were present to come to know the Lord.
After the Scripture reading, I gave some further explanation, which they call the homily. And then, looking at the chicken tied beside the coffin, the husband of our reviewer explained, “We borrowed that practice from you Balangaos. I do not know what it means, but they say it is a good custom to send a present to the dead for them to take to the other world where they will go and live.” That was my opportunity to tell him that was the reason why we translate God’s word so that we can learn and understand where we will go and live next.
(Ignacio loves a joke if the occasion presents itself! He tells this story:) The following day, we were carrying our loads on our two-hour hike down the river towards our translation office. A group of Down-River people were also hiking with us. I overheard one behind me say to one of the younger ones, “You are not carrying anything...please go help Father Magangat carry his staff (RC and Anglican Priests are addressed as Father).” Another asked, “When were you ordained, Father?” I answered back and said, “I became a father of 5 more than two decades ago.”
Praises and prayer concerns;
Pray for our Majukayong Translation Project. We have now submitted many books to our Consultant for final checking. We are waiting…please pray that she will find time to check for us. (We cannot move on with our translation without first having it checked by a consultant.)
Our 3rd son Titus just graduated from college, (BS Mechanical Engineering) April 10, 2012. Pray for God’s provision as he will be going down to Manila for a 4 months review from May 21 to the mid of September and then take the Board Exam on the 3rd week of the same month.
Our only daughter, Kimberly Ruth (who graduated in 2010, BS Biology) decided to join the Translators Association of the Philippines after hearing me mention many times about the many people groups around the World who have never had what we have—God’s Word in their mother tongue. Pray for her as she now begins to raise prayer and financial support.
Pray too, that as we grow closer to the Lord, that we would also grow closer as a team with each other—fellow workers in the Lord—in love, humility and peace so we can accomplish more, following His leading.
Pray also for us, that the Lord would continue to supply our family’s daily needs.