Gathering stories for this issue of Word Alive was an unusual assignment filled with “firsts” for senior staff writer Doug Lockhart. For starters, Doug (with photographer Alan Hood) travelled on assignment to Eastern Canada. Secondly, he visited a First Nations community—another thing he had never done before for Word Alive. Thirdly, the story took him to a remote community in Quebec, a province he had never visited.
In other ways, though, Doug’s visit to the town of Kawawachikamach [KA-wa-wa-CHIK-ah-match] was similar to previous assignments he has been on with Word Alive photographers over the years.
Like people in Africa, South America and many other regions of the world, the Naskapis are discovering God’s Word in their mother tongue, with the involvement of Wycliffe personnel—in this case, Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz.
And like many other language groups where Bible translation is underway, or completed, they’re learning how to read their language and apply the translated Scriptures to their everyday lives.
“Over and over again,” Doug says, “Naskapi people told us, ‘This (Scripture in their language) is important to us as a people. Our language is part of who we are, part of our identity.’
“The more we learned about their past, the more we appreciated how much they have suffered,” he adds. “There were times they nearly perished as a people, but today you can see and hear the pride they have in their language and culture, and the renewed hope they’ve found through Bible translation and language development.
“It was a real privilege to spend a week in their community, and to see what God is doing among them.”
Of course, God is advancing His Kingdom among language groups everywhere. (Read Janet Seever’s “Translation Update” story in this issue). It gives a more global perspective of Scripture completions this past year that involved Wycliffe personnel.
Janet works hard all year tracking the progress of Bible translation projects, highlighting Canadian involvement and giving a summary and statistical overview of finished work in the far reaches of the world.
And speaking of global progress, don’t miss reading about an important imminent Bible translation milestone in the lead news item of our “Watchword” section. Spoiler alert: for the first time ever, the number of languages in the world with Bible translation underway is greater than the number of known languages that still need work to begin in them!
Now that is an unusual “first” that’s difficult to top. But given that our God is smack in the middle of giving His Word to Bibleless peoples, I’m sure there will be other heaven-sent, surpassing firsts coming our way.
Lord willing, we here at Word Alive will be ready to report on them.
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