18 Years on from the Launch of the Wichí Bible Translation - Argentina
Eighteen years ago, the Wichí people received the full Bible in their language. There are currently 60,000 speakers of Wichí and it is one of Argentina’s most actively-used indigenous languages, with families speaking it every day at home and passing it onto their children.
The launch of the Wichí Bible in 2002 was a day of celebration and joy, but the blessings of receiving Scripture in their language didn’t end on that day. Over the years that followed, the Wichí Bible has changed lives, transforming relationships and the community’s way of life.
When the Wichí speakers discuss the impact that the Bible has had on their community, the terms ‘peace’ and ‘living together’ come up often.
“I think about the time when people didn't have the Word of God and there was no peace,” says Calixto, 67. “Now we have places where we all live together in safety, but it wasn't like that before.”
“Life was very difficult before,” agrees Felix (pictured), 69. “Now, even those who aren’t believers benefit from the fact that the Gospel is among us because we have peace in the community.”
Many people in the Wichí community are grateful that the Word of God has given them peace, removed their fears and changed their lives.
“Now the Word of God is with us and, thus, God is with us,” says Ceferino, 39. “Even if I am gone, my children will have the Word of God.”
Now the Argentine Bible Society continue this work in this community with the “I am Wichí” project which encourages Bible engagement among the people.
We often share stories of translations ongoing around the world, but it is important to remember that the work doesn’t stop on the day the translation is launched. Having the Bible in a community’s heart language can truly bring astonishing change for generations.