Alaska Celebrates Yupik Bible Recording

Wycliffe Bible Translators sent two young linguists, David and Mitzi Shinen, to Gambell in 1959. There, they learned the language for a few years and started to translate the New Testament of the Bible thereafter. It wasn’t such an easy task because they had to be very careful and accurate translating from the Greek translation following Matt. 24:35. It took them all 59 years to complete the translation from the book of Matthew to Revelation.

Faith Comes By Hearing representatives traveled to Gambell in February to record Yupik speakers reading the New Testament of the Bible. The process took two months — from the end of February through mid-April — to complete the task. Shortly after their visit, the translation became available on MP3, CDs, as an Android app, in their app and on their website.

In September, Wycliffe had the Yukon’s executive prysbyter, Curt Karns, organize dedication services for the completion of the work, with the theme “All for the Glory of God.” The service included singing hymns in both English and Yupik and four people reading from the Bible. The translators were recognized, and the Shinens spoke through a video. Those who sponsored the translators, as well as the Wycliffe director, also spoke. The current key translator spoke of her work, and they had prayers of dedication over the translated Bibles. The first service was held in Gambell on Sept. 16. Then all participants went to Savoonga, Alaska, for a service on the 17th and on to Nome for a service on the 19th.

At each place the service included a chance for local Adventist members to participate. In Gambell, Paul Marlow, Arctic Mission volunteer, prayed during the dedication of the Bible. In Savoonga, Chester Noongwook, church elder, had the opening prayer. And in Nome, Leon Ringering, pastor, had the opening prayer.

As a Gambell Church member and one of the readers in Yupik, Noongwook shared several verses, including Rev. 14:6. This is the first of the Three Angels' Messages as shown to the apostle John by God at Patmos, which reads, “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth-to every nation, tribe, tongue and people.”

Featured in: December 2018