Thousands of speakers of Mapudungun, a significant indigenous language in Chile, will take part over the next year in a project designed to unite the Mapuche community around God’s Word and to forge links with national society.
More than 7,960 verses to be written by hand by September 2012, the Month of the Bible: this is the challenge that the Chilean Bible Society has set the Mapuche people. Taking part will be dozens of Mapuche churches. The goals are ambitious: as well as bringing speakers of Mapudungun closer to the Scriptures, the project is designed to foster cultural development, by making the Mapuche people proud of their language, and social inclusion, by presenting the handwritten Mapudungun text alongside the Spanish translation.
Andres Casanueva, Bible Society board member, and Mapuche pastor Edgar Salamanca led a ceremony to launch the handwritten Mapudungun New Testament project. Among the guests were translators and Church leaders.
“Translating the Word of God into Mapudungun was a spiritual need that was met in 1998,” Mr Casanueva told them. “Today the challenge is to find ways to unite national society with Mapuche society. We believe that this is a great contribution which will benefit our entire country.”