The Wycliffe ministry of John and Donna Kreutz, an update:
Many years ago God called us to missionary service among the *GH Zapotecs of southern Mexico. Working under Wycliffe Bible Translators, we moved to a somewhat isolated village to translate the New Testament (NT) and portions of the Old Testament into a minority language. At first we fit like “square pegs in round holes.” But gradually we became less “square” and more “round,” fitting better into the community as we became able to speak in their language. We are thankful for Zapotecs of the community whom God sent to welcome us and offer friendship from the beginning.
Every step of our journey has been adventurous and exciting (occasionally maybe too much so…)! One encouraging experience was overhearing someone refer to us as their “fellow townspeople.” Of course, not everyone in the language area knows us or easily accepts people they consider to be outsiders, but we are thankful for the bond of love and friendship that God has made possible with so many. This keeps us motivated toward our translations goals, even through challenging times.
We are now at a particularly exciting time in this journey. Nearly a year ago we had the privilege of gathering together some of these precious people to read through the translated and completed (but not yet published) GH Zapotec NT. We refer to this stage of the process as the “community check.” For this phase of the project we decided to invite women from the two largest village congregations. People from the various churches seldom take time to interact, making this a rare and special experience. They spent a couple months reading the New Testament in their heart language, enabling the two groups to know each other in a more personal way. Though they had all heard passages read aloud from the Spanish Bible, each member of the reading group expressed wonder and amazement at how easily they understood God’s Word in Zapotec. As we worked together it became obvious they did not want to miss any sessions because for the first time in their lives they were reading, hearing, and understanding the entire NT from beginning to end. One woman said: “I really want my friend Juana to hear this. She won’t listen to Scripture in Spanish, but I’m pretty sure she will want to hear this!” Another said: “When we read or hear Scripture in Spanish, so much of it just goes by unnoticed. But when we read it or hear it in Zapotec, we can’t ignore any part of it, as we realize that God is speaking directly to us!”
Now with the community check stage completed, we recently began supervising the audio recording of the NT. It is to be recorded with ten different native speakers of Zapotec. So far, one person has recorded the narrator parts of the four Gospels and Acts, completing about 30 percent of the audio recording. The recording process is scheduled to resume this month and will involve at least nine other GH Zapotec speakers. Once the recording is completed, we will submit the NT for publication and printing. After the studio finishes editing the recording and the audio Bible organization, Faith Comes By Hearing, fills in the background music and sound effects, we will be able to make the audio NT available via the Internet, on CDs, and on digital devices. Making the NT in GH Zapotec available in both print and audio recording will make God’s Word available to all speakers of the language, including those who may not have opportunity to learn to read, and those who have moved away from the village.
Thank you, NFC, for your prayer and financial support through the years. It has helped bring the translation of the NT for the GH Zapotecs to this exciting point. The best is yet to come—when the people receive God’s Word in their own language, through which he will work in their hearts, homes, churches, and community.
*Note: For cultural reasons related to distribution via the Internet, the language name has been abbreviated and faces of Zapotec friends have been slightly blurred.