The Bean Family
* A number of key Quechua-speaking pastors died of COVID this past month, as well as the national director of a main evangelical denomination. Pray for God to raise up godly men to fill the void and lead his church in Peru.
* Mark just completed a two week training workshop for potential new translation consultants. He is paired up with a man from Guatemala whose mother tongue is Tz'utujil. Pray for a good working relationship as Mark guides Antonio into the next steps of the process, helping Antonio eventually step into a consultant role.
A heavy heart?
If you heard that someone had a heavy heart, what would you think would be the problem?
a. Their heart was too big for their chest and dangerously heavy.
b. They were stubborn, not budging.
c. They were studious, full of knowledge.
d. They were sad, not easily cheered.
Those of us who are native English speakers would choose the last one, d. A person might have a heavy heart upon giving or receiving bad news, or upon the death of a loved one or the death of a dream.
Right now I’m reading through Exodus. Many times the Hebrew literally says that someone had a heavy heart.
I am thankful that all of our English translations choose to be faithful to the meaning rather than to the literal word. Pharaoh is the one with the heavy heart. You will find that English translations describe his heart as hard or hardened, stubborn and unyielding. Pharaoh was not sad in the least. He was stubborn, choice b for Hebrew!
It’s a classic example of a common translation problem. Often one could translate literally, because the words exist—like “heavy heart”. However, the meaning would be incorrect.
*PRAISE-that the last two Quechua Bibles (North Conchucos and South Conchucos) have begun circulating in their respective communities since the COVID-19 travel restrictions on back roads were lifted. While large groups were not allowed to congregate, the church in each major town that was visited made a point of inviting pastors from the smaller communities around them. These leaders each received a box of Bibles to take back to sell in their villages with a date in February to render due their sales.
*PRAY that people would take to heart the challenge to read God's Word aloud each day to someone who is illiterate.
*PRAISE-for the continued response to the FaceBook ads we've been running. Thus far over a half million different people have been reached by the ads. Most importantly, 5,750 people have actually entered the website with Scripture and materials in Quechua.
*PRAY that people will read their Bibles!
*PRAISE-Since November 1st, Mark has been teaching in Quechua each Sunday. A small regional television station asked if he'd be willing to prepare messages for them to air. On the Sundays that their Internet is working, Mark can also be seen on livestream as they air his teaching.
The last two Bibles get out!
For months now hundreds of boxes of the last two Bibles have been in storage in Peru, waiting for travel to open up. At last it did! No huge gatherings are allowed, so our partners in Peru rented a truck and took the Bibles to key towns and villages. They went to the South Conchucos area over Thanksgiving and to the North Conchucos area just last week.
The church in each town they visited made a point of inviting pastors and leaders from the smaller communities nearby. In the evening, they had their celebrations. Each pastor received a copy of the Bible for themselves, and also as many boxes of Bibles as they wanted to sell back in their churches. Some of the churches were packed, with people even standing in the back. We weren’t able to attend, but Mark recorded a video of himself with his greetings, an explanation of how the translation was done, and a short Bible teaching. Our Peruvian colleagues kept up a steady stream of photos, video clips and comments on WhatsApp that allowed us to follow along each day. Some of the presentations we were even able to watch live-streamed on Facebook.
*Praise God for the opportunity Mark has to teach each Sunday in Quechua. His messages are aired on a local TV station in the mountains as well as on Facebook Live. God continues to open up avenues to spread his word during these unusual times.
*Continue to pray for word to spread that THE WORD is available in Quechua, even if for now people can only access it digitally most places due to travel restrictions.
*Praise God for the opportunity to serve our daughter Emily and her family. Patti was in their home in Houston for just over a month and now they are in our home. Pray for continued healing for Emily for the trauma to her hips during childbirth.
Ten grandkids and counting
Our daughter Emily just gave birth to a baby boy, Elijah Oliver Ackerson, October 10! Patti went to Houston for several days to help and to watch their 18-month old foster child. The cutie in the photo recently became adoptable and hopefully in this coming year all ten grandchildren will be official.
After returning home, Patti learned that Emily is still in a lot of pain, since her two hips, dislocated during labor, had re-dislocated. So, Patti’s back in Houston to continue helping out. Meanwhile, I (Mark) am in Cleveland.
Spread the Word!
These past few weeks we’ve had fun getting the Word out via the Internet! We just finished running 28 days of a Facebook ad targeting people in one particular area of the Andes.
The ad grabs people’s attention with a video rapidly sketching out its message before their eyes. For those of you reading this update electronically, you can view it by clicking here. The first sketch translates to something like “How cool! The Bible is in Quechua now!”
Those who click on the link given by the ad are taken to a web site I prepared in Spanish (those who have a smart phone would also know some Spanish). This site acts as a clearing house with links to all the apps for the different varieties of Quechua.
Here’s what the top of the opening page looks like, with a quote from Psalm 119:30 “The teaching of your word gives light.” You can access the site by clicking here.
The results are in! The ad has reached over 79,000 people. During the time the ad ran, the Bible apps for two of the varieties of Quechua were installed onto cell phones 78 times.
We know that these ads don’t reach the great majority of Quechua speakers, but they reach some, including those who are most likely to be leaders and future leaders.
* Before being able to release any Facebook advertisement for all the downloadable Quechua Bible apps, Mark needed to create a webpage to point everyone to. That's just about ready to launch. Pray that this month the website goes live as well as the advertisement targeting Quechua speakers whose hearts God has prepared.
* Patti plans to travel to Houston to be there while our daughter Emily is in the hospital to deliver their son. Patti's was fingerprinted, background checked and took a Red Cross course to be able to watch their foster son, little Nathaniel. Pray she can work out some good tricks to avoid lifting Nathaniel. Pray for a safe delivery, healthy baby, and safe travels to and from.
One of our goals this past month was to begin advertising the (now) twenty-nine apps Mark has been working on, introduced in our last letter. However, it soon became apparent that we need a more attractive presentation. So, Mark has been developing more eye-catching screenshots for the landing page in Google Play Store.
Next are three screenshots (out of seven) from the newest app. This app is designed to give people practice reading, and will soon be available for two Quechua varieties. We still need to finish the last audio narrations before we post it.
Music in the air
Mark was able to improve the apps for the five hymnbooks by including a new option allowing the user to listen to each hymn. One of the hymnbooks is located here. You can click here to listen to a favorite Quechua hymn accompanied by a traditional Andean harp and violin. The start of the hymn translates: Day after day I keep on, trusting in you, continually thinking of your Word…
*Continue to pray for our Quechua partners who are giving messages and devotionals on Facebook and recording easy reading materials for do-it-yourself practice since no classes are happening. Pray for their safety as well as the safety of their families as they seek ways to minister while remaining stuck at home.
*We are thankful for continued good health, energy and rewarding work. Mark continues to tweek different apps and is figuring out how to best show them off for people to find them and have access to their Quechua Bible, Bible study materials, easy reading materials and their hymnbook - all on their phones.
Hey! How does everybody know?
Turning 65 must be a big deal. We can tell by all that comes in our mailbox. First it was Mark who kept receiving massive amounts of junk mail. Now, it’s my turn. All sorts of people know not only when our birthdays are, but also how old we’ll be.
If you haven’t hit this milestone, be forewarned. Everyone wants your attention. The upside: you won’t have to be sad about an empty mailbox! Mark just had his birthday earlier this month. Mine’s coming up in August. I guess that officially makes us senior citizens.
One of Mark’s jobs is checking over the translation work of colleagues. Since our last Beans’Talk, Mark finished checking the book of Acts for another variety of Quechua. He also worked through the book of Colossians along with the book of Mark. Now his consultant hat is hanging on a peg until more books come his way—which could be any day now.
Mark continues to convert Quechua materials so they can be accessible on people’s cell phones. Building apps for cell phones has not been a smooth process, but Mark is thankful for the progress made so far. To date he has posted 16 apps to Google Play Store:
• Three apps with 75 topical Bible studies in each, one app for each of 3 different Quechua groups.
• Three apps with 14 topical Bible studies in each, one app for each of 3 other Quechua groups.
• Five apps with an assortment of resources for Scripture memory, evangelism, basic discipleship, using the helps in the Bible, etc. Each app is for a different Quechua group.
• A course about the Bible, with readings, assignments and final exam. This is also x 5 apps for 5 Quechua groups.