Friday, June 21 is National Aboriginal Day in Canada. God is at work among aboriginal peoples all over the world. Here is Good News from the Canela in Brazil.
Prejaka. Prejaka! PREJAKAAAA, the Canela councillor shouted at the end of the naming ceremony. With that I received a Canela name, Prejaka, taking the first step into being accepted by Canela society. That was 45 years ago this past week. After 22 years of work, we returned to Canada leaving behind a newly published translation of God’s Word in the Canela language, a hundred fluent readers, and a Bible in every house in the village.
During the past 23 years several missionary teams have spent time working in the Canela villages, promoting literacy and Bible reading as well as helping them share the Good News with others. Eleven years ago, Bernard and Elke Grupp came from Germany with their young children to live among the Canelas in the main village where we used to live.
1st Good News
They are doing excellent work and are held in high regard by the Canelas. We visited them four years ago during a special family vacation trip to Brazil and were much impressed with their open attitude and commitment. Bernard and I have worked together on several projects. I prepared the script for the Jesus Film several years ago and he organized the process of dubbing the Canela lines into the film. Occasionally he asks my advice on things he is dealing with in the village. Just recently, I helped solve some problems in the production of the audio version of the Canela partial Bible. God is at work!
2nd Good News
Just recently, he sent a report which thrilled us even more than usual. A large gathering of Christians had been organized in the nearest town, Barra do Corda, about 70 kilometres north of the village. Three hundred Christians from 14 different indigenous people groups came together for mutual encouragement and celebration. Bernard and Elke were there with Canela believers from the main village and from the village farther west. They met believers and the missionaries from the large southern Canela group called the Kraho, and from related language groups such as the Gaviao and the Krikati. It was the first ever such gathering of indigenous Christians in that area. God is at work!
3rd Good News
Bernard is computer savvy and was able to adapt the old 1991 film “The Canela Investment” for use among the Canelas. He edited out some irrelevant sections and replaced them with Bible reading and Canela singing. The new version tells the story of how God used Jo and me to bring the Good News to the Canela both through our lives and through the translation of His Word. The video turned out to be a hit when he showed it in mid-April at a special dia do indio celebration in the village.
4th Good News
Bernard also told us about the most recent baptisms. This time it was three women we know well. One was Hipo, the daughter of the late Jaco, our best Canela translation helper and the first Canela to follow Jesus. Another was the daughter of the late Capertyc, the incredibly patient man who helped us learn Canela and excelled at telling stories illustrating the meaning of Canela words. Yes, God is definitely at work!
- Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Proverbs 25:25 (NIV)
- I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4 (NIV)