Taiwan Church News
13 ~ 19 Feb, 2023
Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong in Hualien
Translated by Peter Wolfe
In the morning of February 9th, the PCT Atayal Presbytery held the 55th Spring Assembly and Thanksgiving Service for the publication of the Atayal Bible in the church of Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary. The Atayal Bible was officially offered in the service by the Atayal church leaders, including Rev Sing ‘Olam(director of Bible Society of Taiwan), Elder Yu Ren-jiu(deputy general secretary of BST), Rev Hakaw Utaw(moderator of the Atayal Presbytery), Rev Yabu Eyo (general secretary of Atayal Presbytery). Rev Hakaw Utaw gave a sermon, entitled as “In God ‘s Word We Stand “, encouraging the brothers and sisters in Atayal church to use the Atayal Bible and speak the scriptures in mother tongues, so that the ethnic Atayal language can be passed on from generation to generation.
Speaking on behalf of the Amis Bible published by the Bible Society of Taiwan, Rev Sing ‘Olam expressed that the holy scripture of Amis language was published in 1997 to serve the PCT Amis local churches. In addition, 3,000 copies of the Amis Bible were offered to the True Jesus Church and another 4,000 copies to the Catholic Church. This Amis Bible is wished to serve all aboriginal churches in Taiwan. In the same vein, Rev ‘Olam hoped that this newly published Atayal Presbytery can now start preparing for a revision ten years later, so that the Atayal Bible could best serve the world with diversity and dynamics.
On behalf of the Presbyterian Church, Rev Sudu Tada, associative general secretary of the PCT, said that among the aboriginals in Taiwan, there are five tribes which had completed the translation of the Old and New Testaments in their own mother tongues. They are Amis, Tarok, Rukai, Seediq, and Atayal. He sincerely looked forward to the early completion of other aboriginal peoples. Since the Atayal Presbytery has been caring for the Saisiyat people for a long time as the Saisiyat Church is now affiliated to the Atayal Presbytery, Rev Sudu Tada hoped that the translation of the Saisiyat Bible could be supported by the Atayal Presbytery.
Rev Paul McLean, a Bible translation consultant, said in his speech that the Atayal people have waited about 20 years for the Bible to be published in their own language. This translation of Atayal Bible refers to the 2019 edition of the modern Chinese translation, as well as the Bibles of the Japanese, English, and Hakka languages. He expected every pastor to work hard to use this Bible and encouraged the next Atayal generation to use it. To express the heartfelt thanks-giving for the assistance offered by Rev McLean, Rev Hakaw Utaw will presented a traditional Atayal costume and put it on Rev McLean in the service.
The Atayal Bible has been revised eight times before her launch, and the chief editor Rev Watan Yawi thanks the great efforts from Translation Review Team. Rev Tammut Tazil, leader of Translation Review Team, said that the publication of the Atayal Bible had given hope to the renewal of the Atayal language, and reading God’s words in the Atayal mother tongue had blessed the lives, beliefs, and families of the whole tribe.
Rev Yabu Eyo said that he witnessed the grand challenges of translating the Bible into mother tongues during the process. “Sometimes it took half a day to argue over a word, and then come to a consensus or create a brand new word.” He expressed the Atayal Presbytery will carry on editing the Bible concordance dictionary in the future, and via holding seminars and sessions to explain the words, sentences, and grammar used in the Atayal Bible through each district and local churches.
In addition, said Rev Yabu Eyo, the Atayal Presbytery will absolutely respects the sub-Atayal language used in each tribe, but still encourages the church to use the newly published Atayal Bible as the version of the mother tongue education. He said, “The Bible is the best teaching textbook!”