This is the week of Christmas. Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Fröhliche Weihnachten! Joyeux Noël! Feliz Natal! Selamat Natal! счастливого Рождества! Obviously, we could go on and on and find more and more translations for this one phrase. And, thanks to Google Translate, I can find dozens of languages to use.
But my thoughts extend to the over three billion unreached people who don’t even know anything about Jesus, much less about His birth over 2,000 years ago. They have no concept of His life, His sacrifice for them, His abundant love. And who will tell them if we don’t?
Tell the Story . . . Slower
Paul and Chabela Keefe minister in Colombia. They understand the complexities of learning other languages in order to get God’s Word into those languages. They wrote, “Tikuna. Have you ever heard of that language? It belongs to a people group that numbers around 38,000 [who] live in three countries — Brazil, Peru and Colombia.
“Here’s just a peek into what we discovered together about the Tikuna language patterns when telling a story:
A story begins with a summary of the story. In other words, you already know the point of the story before it begins.
Participants are introduced with a simple description when they enter the story.
Participants who are not important are ‘invisible’ but are ‘visible’ through the verb style.
The most important part of a Tikuna story is highly emphasized and full of descriptions and action. If you don’t understand this, you might think it’s a story inside of the main story. For a non-Tikuna, it seems confusing until the language pattern is understood. The best way to describe this section of the story is that it is like a mental tornado!”
Until the Whole World Knows
So, you see that it is not a simple matter to tell the Tikuna about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we want them to know. Just as Colossians 1:5-6 says, “because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth.”
They need to hear and know the word of truth. We want to say with the apostle Paul, “This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven.”
The Keefes continued, “The two ladies working on this language project need our prayers. It is a highly complicated language and full of fascinating discoveries. They need God’s wisdom and insight to do this work well. The purpose of this project is to fully understand how to communicate clearly like the Tikuna people do among each other so when they hear God’s Word, it is not confusing.”