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April, 2006 --- Vol. 22.1

So take a new grip with your tired hands
and stand firm on your shaky legs.
Mark out a straight path for your feet.
Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame,
will not stumble and fall but will become strong.
Heb 12:12-13

Matsés New Testament arrives

Initial contact with the Matsés dates back to 1621 when the native peoples moved close to a Catholic mission station. But in 1686 they fled back into the jungle when an epidemic broke out and claimed many lives.

Wycliffe missionaries began an effort to contact this group and in August of 1969. After 6 years of aerial survey, a small group was spotted on a tributary of the Chobayacu river.

The Matsés used to build communal houses in the middle of their fields. From 12 to 100 people would occupy a house, The pitch of the roof was quite steep with the thatched roof extending to the hard-packed dirt floor. A wide hallway cut through the middle of the house and rooms were partitioned off on each side. The Matsés slept in hammocks made of palm frond fiber. Fires were built under the hammocks for warmth and to keep the mosquitoes away.

Both the men and the women used to paint their faces with red achiote and with huito that turns bluish-black when applied. They would tattoo their faces with the blue-black paint. The men wore thin brittle sticks in holes made along the upper lip. The women inserted long palm straws into the side of each nostril.

Most of the Matsés no longer continue these practices. But many aspects of their lives remain unchanged. They still mostly hunt with bows and arrows. They weave hammocks, armbands, and fishnets. They still make distinctive pottery.

Change for the Matsés has meant access to medical clinics and schooling. Most of the Matsés can now read and write in their own language. There are Matsés pastors, teachers, health promoters, a dentist, carpenters and mechanics.

But the greatest encouraging distinctive is that many Matsés villages now have a church where they meet regularly for worship. The New Testament translation was dedicated in April, 1994. Shortly afterward the New Testaments were sold out. Hattie Kneeland, a Wycliffe translator now working on Old Testament passages, took matters into her own hands and began photocopying the New Testament, a dozen at a time.

When I heard this, I couldn’t rest until we had a plan for reprinting. With the generous donation of funds from the Bible League, we were able to get a reprint shipped from Korea in record time. It is always an exciting event to gather around the boxes and pray that God will bless these books in the hands of His people who don’t speak the major languages of the world.

This summer we are planning the layout of the NT for the Huaylas Quechua and 5 Asheninca dialects, as well as OT portions for Kashinawa and Ticuna.

Thanks for your part in this ministry.

On the home front

Bujama Senior High Youth Retreat

Laura and Jonathan had a blast at the Senior High Youth Retreat down the coast at Bujama. The devotional speaker, Perry Bradford and his wife Sandie, came from California, to share with us in an exciting youth ministry, Perry made a dynamic impact in the lives of the youth.

Mixed in with lots of fun and games on the beach were serious devotional talks and times of reflection and meditation.

One of the traditions is a hike up the “bump”. After a mile stroll down the beach, the trail starts up a high overlooking cliff. It is a bit treacherous and challenging. But with lots of encouragement and pulling together we usually get everyone to the top.

Many came back with stories of how they had gotten closer to God and a commitment to making Him the priority in their lives.

Laura’s Last months in Lima


We are beginning to make plans for Laura’s next stage, Harding University. She is working on improving her SAT score and reading art history textbooks in preparation for her studies in interior design.

World Translation Statistics
New Testaments/Bible translated:
Programs in progress:
New Testaments remaining:
People without Scripture:
Volunteers needed:
Christian population:

Dyck's Digest Printable Version (PDF format - 894kb)

Dyck's Digest Previous Edition: December 2005 - Vol 21.3