A Fresh Approach in Latin America

by Ian Vail

There are many new approaches to translation happening around the world of Wycliffe and the organisations with which we partner. One new approach is to train young Brazilians and send them into the Green Window – the equatorial rainforests of South America, Africa and Asia. Why young Brazilians? Because Brazilians are inherently enthusiastic, effervescent and oh so adaptable and ready to go.

Brazilian Deeper Bible class, 2018

Brazilian Deeper Bible class, 2018

Wycliffe New Zealand is partnering with Horizontes to release these young people. This thrust is part of a worldwide movement supported by around 100 mission groups forming a Global Alliance. I recently spent 11 days in Monte Verde, Brazil, running Deeper Bible training with an enthusiastic group of 60 people, most of whom were young, but including some of their pastors and mission leaders. Horizontes believes the best way to involve young people is to give them a passion for the Word of God and then tell them about the need of Bibleless peoples.

Horizontes has been targeting teens since 2003, but has been working intentionally in the Global Alliance only since 2016. In 2017 they began targeting pre-teen Brazilians to involve them in the task. I was surprised, to say the least, when I realised that there were four 11-year-olds, along with many others between 13 and 25, in the group of people I was training. Not only were the numbers impressive, but these young people had good basic Bible awareness and were really keen to go as deep as they could via Deeper Bible.

The Coke Challenge wall – into all the world

The Coke Challenge wall – into all the world

The first three levels of Deeper Bible usually require two hours of class input each week for 17 weeks, with a significant amount of homework between classes. These keen young Brazilians covered the three levels in eleven days without flinching or flagging!

I had a sense I was passing the baton to the next generation and to young people from a more appropriate culture to take the challenge of Bible translation into the Green Window. The words on the little shop in the background of the group photo (see front cover) read: “Evangelical Brazilians spend more on Coca Cola than they invest in Missions.” In the dining room they have a Coke Challenge wall which says much the same words but adds, “that’s why Coke has gone into all the world.”

Two students commented at the end of the course:

I have never had such a wonderful and remarkable experience in all my life in learning the Word of God. I had learned many things about the Bible in my church but never anything as striking as I learnt in Deeper Bible. It leaves me with a deep longing within to know much more and be involved (Alanis, 18).

I still remember the first Deeper Bible class … Wow! It was really amazing! As we plunged deeper, the passion and the need to seek God grew overpowering. That passion and desire grows with every level of Deeper Bible I experience. I can’t wait to get to level seven (Ana Elize).

Giving away a special case

Giving away a special case

It’s responses like this that inspired me to give my iPhone cover with my Deeper Bible cartoon image to one young Brazilian girl, Sara Dória (15), who showed particular promise. Sara’s pastor and her church are fully behind her and her brother Samuel (17), encouraging them to get involved. No wonder Brazil is buzzing with the sound of mission. It is so thrilling to be a part of mobilising them when I think of the struggles I’ve had in the West.

Go you Brazilian young people! We are backing you in every way we can.

Visit Berean Insights to read more of Ian’s insights.

Return to Living Words March 2018

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word

Verse for today

My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.