Framed by 20,545-foot Mt. Chimborazo, the village of Colta is home to the Quichua, one of the oldest indigenous people groups of the Americas. On Sunday, February 28, 2010, approximately 300 Quichua pastors, local dignitaries, and villagers celebrated the launch of Biblica's Quichua New Testament. The event was held in the first evangelical Quichua church, built in 1958.
Biblica Latin America Vice President Dr. Luciano Jaramillo, Latin America President Esteban Fernandez, Area Director Enrique Baldeón, Ecuador Director Pablo Del Salto, and Global Publishing President Scott Bolinder spoke at the three-hour event. Representatives from ministries including Compassion International and HCJB traveled from Quito to join in the celebration.
"The Quichua attending the service were joyful and filled with gratitude for the new Scripture translation," Bolinder said. "They treated it with such reverence." At one point, he said, all the Quichua pastors were called to the front of the church. Women ceremoniously gave each pastor a New Testament, presenting it on a silver platter.
For Quichua pastors and local missions groups, Biblica's new translation is significant. Most of the 1.5 million Quichua of Ecuador's highlands are subsistence farmers, barely scratching a living from the steep hillsides of the Andean mountains. Many are illiterate or semi-literate.
Because the Quichua New Testament is clear and easy-to-read, Quichua pastors will find it easier to share the gospel and help villagers grow in their faith.
"The Quichua feel a sense of pride in having this highly valued translation in their language, with its commitment to accuracy and readability," Bolinder said. The translation will help the Quichua retain their language, since few written resources are available in Quichua.
To meet the needs of the nonliterate, Biblica also produced audio versions of the Gospel of John in Quichua. As funds become available, Biblica will translate the Old Testament and complete an audio version of the New Testament.
Bolinder said the demand for New Testaments is far greater than the 1,000 Biblica printed. "We could easily give 100,000 copies immediately," he said. "The only thing that hinders us is the lack of funding."
"At Biblica, we don't believe the work is done once a New Testament translation is completed," he added. "We are earnestly working to complete the Quichua Old Testament and to print more copies so its value can extend more deeply into the local church. Our only constraints are time and money."
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