Doesn’t Stop Here
Day Before Dedication Day
Doesn't stop here
Boisterous, blusterous, higgledy-piggledy, unrelenting, rowdy and loud. These words describe the noisy environment of the courtyard the day before the Matigsalug New Testament dedication ceremony. Children ran around, playing and laughing and screaming to their hearts’ content while others busily decorated the stage in preparation for the big day. The superficial noisiness contrasted with the deep contemplation of one man.
“…I want to see them transformed… it's not just about reading and having the Bible. I want to see transformation [in] their lives…” said Tano Emboc, one of three main Mother Tongue Translators (MTTs) for the Matigsalug Bible translation project.
Emboc was joyful about the completion of the Matigsalug New Testament, and also confident that this was not yet the completion of God’s work amongst the Matigsalug people. Emboc recognized that the New Testament translation was “just a means to transformation” for the Matigsalug people.
Matigsalug New Testament Dedication Day
On the day of the dedication, 8:50AM (roughly) witnessed the beginning of a vibrant parade toward the covered court – a parade that was accompanied by a tradional beat drifting from the back of a truck. Dance troops, Wycliffe personnel and guests, and Matigsalug Christian Association (MLCA) Board of Directors were just some of the excited people ready for the morning’s events.
Upon arriving at the covered court, several Matigsalug people adorned various guests with long, hand-made, beaded necklaces. Then some sat and some stood as the MCs, Rosalyn (Rose) Lacubay and Tano Emboc (Matigsalug MTTs), launched into the official ceremony. The opening prayer was offered by Pastor Bernard Paundag, the MLCA coordinator, who spoke in the style of a chant. This was followed by the Philippine national anthem, conducted by Pastora Josephine Langgote.
The ceremony consisted of various speeches, words of Scripture, prayers, dance presentations, cultural music, and songs of joy. During the ceremony, both Robert Hunt and Jeffrey McGriff, co-translators and co-supervisors of the Matigsalug Bible translation project, addressed the crowd.
In his speech, Robert Hunt recounted the initial stages of the translation work. When he and his family first moved to the area and began to learn from the Matigsalug people, they learned that the Matigsalug were embarrassed by their ethnic heritage because other people mocked them for who they were. What was perhaps most nightmarish for the translators was the Matigsalug people’s embarrassment of their language. Hours before the ceremony, Hunt – with tears in his eyes – spoke of the complete change in the Matigsalug people’s attitude regarding their singing and dancing. “…and [when you] realize how much they hated it all before, you’ll know that God did an incredible miracle.” Robert Hunt was convinced that the completion of the Matigsalug New Testament was only possible because God’s hand had rested faithfully upon it.
As the ceremony came to a close, the Matigsalug New Testament was dedicated to the Lord in prayer. Afterwards, a crowd formed around the table of people who were selling the newly published New Testament.
The End… of the Beginning
Some people have the misconception that the completion of Bible translation work is the finish line. It is… and it isn’t. There is certainly a sense of finality in that the hard work that went into translating the New Testa ment Scriptures is completed. However, the Old Testament has not been fully translated. And even when it is, God’s work amongst the Matigsalug people will not yet be finished. His mighty and awesome work will continue on as His Word is brought alive in the local church and in many Matigsalugs’ lives. And Tano Emboc’s desire for transformation in the Matigsalug people’s lives is spot on with what God desires for the all people.
Listen to audio recordings from the celebration:
John 3:16 in Matigsalug
Traditional Matigsalug drum beat
View a video: Matigsalug Scripture Celebration
Photos by Tomoko Taguchi
Download images from this story
Tomoko Taguchi served as a Communication Intern in June-July 2011.
喧鬧、吼叫、混亂、忙碌、吵鬧、嘈吵……這些都是用來形容馬迪沙格語（Matigsalug）新約聖經奉獻禮舉行前一天的情形 —— 庭園內洋溢著熱鬧的氣氛。小孩盡情地到處跑、歡笑和尖叫，一些人忙著為這個重要的日子佈置舞台。周遭嘈雜的聲音與一位弟兄的沉思形成強烈的對比。
奉獻禮舉行那天，大約早上8時50分，一群充滿活力的族人以列隊巡遊的方式走向庭園。傳統的音樂節拍在一架貨車的背後響起，伴隨著他們巡遊。舞蹈團隊、威克理夫聖經翻譯會人員和其他來賓，以及馬迪沙格基督教聯會（Matigsalug Christian Association, MLCA）的一眾董事，都興奮地期待早上的活動，他們只是眾多參加者的一部分。當他們到達庭園的時候，幾名馬迪沙格族人把長長的手製珠鍊掛在來賓的頸項上。然後，有部分人坐下來，也有部分人像主持人蘭庫巴（Rosalyn Lacubay）和恩博坦那樣站起來，一同正式揭開這個慶典的序幕。MLCA的統籌主任巴恩達（Bernard Paundag）牧師以吟咏的方式帶領祈禱，而蘭高特（Josephine Langgote）牧師則帶領會眾同唱菲律賓國歌。
奉獻禮上，有形形色色的演講、經文選讀、禱告、舞蹈表演、傳統音樂及歡樂的歌曲。馬迪沙格語聖經翻譯團隊的譯經員享特（Robert Hunt）及督導麥格（Jeffrey McGriff）向群眾演說。