Jesus is born among the Sissano people…

by mendibpng

Felix from Wolwale took his turn recording the book of Luke in his own language. Photo by Dan Bauman.

Sissano Translator Kenny Aiprum related the following story to Ben who transcribed it, and then it was translated by our teammate Jessie Wright:

When Kenny first took the booklets of Luke and the Christmas Story back to the three Sissano villages, the response was so enthusiastic in the first village that he managed to keep aside only a few copies to distribute to the other villages.

He made sure to reserve a copy for the Catholic catechist, since that is the majority church in the Sissano area. The catechist wanted to read it over and over and be able to read it with understanding so that he could stand up in the Sunday service and read it well in their own language. But many women came and reported afterwards that when he read it, he made quite a few mistakes since this was the first time he had read something publicly in their own language.

Kenny went back and reported to his advisors in the Aitape West Translation Project that the church leaders were requesting that if a recording could also be made of the Christmas Story on CD, then they could listen to it over and over again.

They could listen along with the recording as they read it on paper and learn to read it much better.

In October, that request was fulfilled as cassettes and CDs were made available.

Others came back after the Christmas services and told Kenny with much joy that they got to hear the story of Jesus’ birth read in their own language.

They reported that when they heard it read, it really pierced their hearts and stimulated their thinking because they heard these words in their own language.

For too many years they had not heard this story told in their own Sissano language.

Evidently, the catechist had listened to the CD and really prepared well before Christmas day.

Kenny says,

“When he read it at Christmas, he knew it completely. The first time when I had given it to them, they were still trying to learn it. But when the catechist read it at Christmas, he knew it well and read it just fine.”

All the people were also really interested in listening. They were surprised, and they said,

“Hey! This man didn’t know before how to read Sissano words quickly and clearly like that.”


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