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Why Do They Need to Read?

Take a moment to think about how amazing it is that you can decipher these little black marks on white paper into words.

Hundreds of languages still have no alphabet and therefore no written form. How important is it to put their language in a form they can read, teach them to read and give them the Bible in their own language?

We’ll let them tell you.

Andrea, a believer among the Nahuatl people of Mexico, prayed this before a class:

“Our Dad God,

I wanted to tell you something — well, ask for You to help us. You should help us students, the little ones as well as the big ones. Give us luck; give us strength to do well in school. Don’t allow us to be lazy but cause us to pay attention and to be smart. Cause our teacher to be wise and cause us to learn well so that we can read. That is all I wanted to say. That only.” (After a frantic whisper from her two kids: “Oh, I guess I forgot to say ‘Amen.’”)

Hawadi, a new reader among the Landuma people of Africa — a wife, mother and grandmother who learned to read as a mature adult — said, “I can read now. I am no longer like a cow. A cow just walks around and eats, and that is all I used to do. Now I can read; I can learn things.”

“Thank you for teaching me to read,” said Loida, a Kuna lady from Panama. “Otherwise that Book (pointing to the Bible) would just be a book sitting on my table. But because I can read, it’s God’s Word speaking to me.”

Iyodotabo, a Moi woman in the Asia-Pacific region, is glad to have a body of believers to worship with and a New Testament in her own language. “I think it’s good to know how to read God’s Word so that we can know the Creator’s talk and get His truth straight from His Word. If we just rely on our own thoughts, it will be crooked. If we take it from the Creator’s talk, it won’t be crooked. It will just be true. Because the Creator made His talk to be truth, we can get truth from His leaf (book).”

Minawagii, another Moi, said, “Reading is good because I can read the Creator’s talk and then tell it to others. But I can only teach others in the Creator’s strength. People that don’t think ‘It’s true’ about Jesus also think that reading is a small thing. But we who think ‘It’s true’ about Jesus know that reading is a big thing.”

International literacy coordinators Jerry and Joyce McDaniels say the reason they teach people how to teach literacy is not so people can learn to read and write.

“It’s so that they can know the Creator God,” Jerry said. “God chose to write the most important message down. Creator God, who could have chosen any method in all the world to preserve His Word, chose a written method. That just kind of implies that you need to have readers. It’s pretty practical when you just step back and think about it.”

That’s why literacy is a key component of our Bible translation project. $35 provides not only for one verse to be translated, but for literacy materials and Bible lessons.

Tags: Ethnos360 Magazine, Literacy, Latin America, Mexico, Nahuatl People
POSTED ON Mar 22, 2019