Inspired by the Olympic games, this month we’re featuring countries and people groups from each of the major regions of the world that are represented by the Olympic symbol of the five interlaced rings — Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
Now we turn our attention to the Americas, specifically Brazil, the host country of the 2016 Summer Olympics. In Brazil, a Bible translation is nearing completion for the Borôro, a small group numbering around 1,500 people. The Borôro live in the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland area.
A Broken Identity
Many years ago, the Borôro were known to be fierce warriors. They were a proud people recognized for their strength. But over a century ago, they were contacted by Brazilian outsiders, and as a result they were introduced to something that has continued to haunt and prey on their community — alcoholic drink. Following generations of alcoholism, they constantly struggle in their self-image with the tension between what they once were and how they are perceived now — as a drunken and marginalized people.
Looking for Hope in All the Wrong Things
In this struggle to reassert themselves some Borôro have placed their hope in their traditional ceremonies. But most, including the vast majority of young people, have placed their hope in acquiring the things of the Westerner’s world. Electricity has arrived at most of the villages. Everyone has television, refrigerators, and cell phones. In some villages people have cars or motorcycles. Still their longing for something more is evident for all to see. Only God’s word has the message of peace that they unknowingly are striving for.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Translation personnel have started the last read-through and revision of the Borôro New Testament along with four Borôro men — Roberto, Alessandro, Luciano and Amarilio. The Borôro men’s joy at working together on God’s Word is evident. One of them said, “It’s like I’m able to breathe fresh air! All my worries just left me. I wish so much that my family would come to understand how wonderful God’s Word is.”
Of these four men working at finalizing the Borôro Scriptures, one is elderly and the others are all in their late teens and early twenties. Despite the age difference they work well together. One of them shared that last year he had stumbled in his Christian walk and fallen into sin. He said that the Lord had helped him put his shame aside and come back to him. He expressed how grateful he was that there were Christian people who, instead of haranguing him, had encouraged him that God wanted him back. This courage to share so intimately with his Borôro brothers is very counter-culture and a sign that God has done a true work in his heart.
- In spite of translation personnel having worked among the Borôro people since 1957, there are currently only a handful of Borôro believers walking with God. Pray that more would open their hearts to Him.
- Pray that these four Borôro men working on finalizing the New Testament would remain faithful in their walk and that they might be shining lights to their people. The difficulties and discouragements are unimaginable to most of us. They live in different villages so the logistics are a bit complicated for them to get together to work on the translation. Please pray that God would work the details out. They are planning to spend three weeks together during September and October.
- Pray for more times to meet and new creative ways to make the final editing a reality. Pray for new openings and ideas for them to make the Scriptures available and impactful in their respective communities.
Make a Prayer Connection: Another people group from Brazil, the Yaminahua, have never had any Scripture in their mother tongue before. Ask God to provide all that is needed for the Yaminahua Project.