John Noya works with the Ambonese Malay Scripture Engagement team. He shares with Wycliffe Today about the importance of having Scripture available in a language that people can understand for themselves.
At the dedication and launch of the Ambonese Malay New Testament, I cried. Why did I cry? Because I felt such joy. As a Moluccan person, as an Ambonese person, I felt very grateful and proud. Now there is a Bible for my people. God has given it to me, personally, and to all the people of the Maluku Islands. The Bible we have been waiting so long for is finally here. We can hold it. We can read it. It can change all of our lives.
The Bible in Ambonese Malay is very important, even though we have the Bible in Indonesian. Why is it important? Because Ambonese Malay is closer to people’s hearts than Indonesian. Ambonese Malay is very closely connected to the culture of Ambonese people. Starting with the language, with the words that are used. There are many words in Ambonese Malay that are the same words used every day by the local community in everyday conversation and also in the traditional activities that happen in various places, particularly Ambon and the Lease Islands.
With the Scripture Engagement team, we teach people how to use the Ambonese Malay Bible. We run simple training programs about things such as how to form short prayers, how to create devotions and how to use the Word of God in everyday life.
My hope is that after the dedication and launch of the Ambonese Malay Scriptures, people in Ambon can use the Ambonese Malay Scriptures every day. I pray that they don’t just read the words but that those words go deeply into the hearts of the Ambon people because it uses their own language. It can change their lives and they can then become a blessing for many people.
I am changing because the Word of God is changing me. Because of that, I can help other people’s lives to be changed by the Word of God. Looking ahead, my hope is to see all the people of Maluku [province] truly opening their hearts to the Lord Jesus because they have the Bible in their own language.