On August 13, 1727, the Holy Spirit of God fell on a group of people who were following the teaching of John Hus who believed that all people should be able to read the scriptures in their own language. On August 13, 2015, the word of God became available to Yup’ik speakers with the arrival in Alaska of the complete Bible in their own language.
The excitement escalated as word spread through the village that the long anticipated shipment had arrived. People began showing up at the Moravian Bookstore asking to purchase or even to just see one of the new Bibles. A reporter from the local newspaper came to do a story about it. When the announcement was made in church on Sunday morning, a murmur of excitement went through the congregation.
It was about 25 years ago when I was in Nome, Alaska with a group called the Chutkoka Native Christian Ministry, when the Old Testament and several other books of the Bible were being translated in Yup’ik. It was such a blessing for me to have been on site when the newly translated Bibles were delivered.
Pure joy filled my heart as I watched one person after another come in and touch the Bible with reverence and awe. They gently would run their fingers across the page and leave the bookstore clutching it to their breast as if it were a newborn child.
I could not help thinking of how many copies and translations of God’s word I have in my home and tried without success to imagine what it would be like not to be able to read God’s word.
How blessed we are! Praise God for our forefathers who fought and gave their all because they realized the value of having the scriptures in one’s own language.
Pray for the Yup’ik people and that many more will come to know Jesus and spread the gospel.
Helen Gulledge is a member of Little Church on the Lane in Charlotte, N.C. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mission Society of the Southern Province. Helen was in Alaska this summer.
From the October 2015 Moravian Magazine