WYCLIFFE BIBLE TRANSLATORS: A Napo Quechua Woman's Turn from Alcholism to Faith in Jesus

Selmira changes lives with the Bible.

Selmira was born into the Napo Quechua culture of Peru, where life is not easy, and the Napo Quechua people toil under an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. To cope, both men and women are regularly drunk from masato, a fermented drink made from manioc root. Selmira was married when she was only a young teen. She had 21 children — 4 of whom she miscarried, 12 others she has buried, leaving her 5 to raise.

Once, sick with hepatitis, Selmira was admitted to a local hospital. Some Christians began visiting her in the hospital and prayed for her. God healed her and she was released. She later attended a Bible seminar in another village, where she understood the gospel and received Jesus as her Savior.

Selmira was invited to a Bible storying workshop, and it was there that she met Christa, a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Selmira wanted Christa to come to her village so that she could keep learning Bible stories. In 2007, Christa and her colleague, Maritza, went to the village of Ingano Llakta for the first time.

As Selmira learned Bible stories with Christa, they began to deeply impact her life. She no longer got drunk, leaving community gatherings early before the drunkenness set in. She cared for her kids — and her grandkids – instead of leaving them to fend for themselves as many parents did. When others had troubles in their lives, they would come to her because they trusted her. She didn’t respond in anger when her husband got upset with her for not getting drunk with him anymore. In time, her husband began to come home earlier from drinking parties and listened to the Bible stories Selmira was sharing. Last year, her husband accepted Jesus.

Meanwhile, Christa and Maritza had begun preparing to translate Old Testament Bible stories as well as the New Testament for Selmira’s people. Today, Selmira is the only woman on the translation committee, and has not missed a single one of the month-long workshops in the past four years.

When the translation team is together for the workshops, the men often ask her for Selmira’s input. They recognize she has keen spiritual insights that help them with understanding the text – and she often has the wording needed to put the ideas into Napo Quechua.

In a village where women are not given honor, Selmira is respected because everyone sees she is different now —living a life that is peace-filled. When her family is sick, she refuses to take them to the shamans, as everyone else does. She prays and believes.

God’s Word is impacting other lives around her. She is teaching others to tell the Bible stories. As her faith grows, so does her desire to go to other villages and share with them the hope that she has found in Jesus Christ.

Wycliffe Bible Translators is grateful for all who take part in supporting translation and Scripture use projects like this one, including those who give through the Combined Federal Campaign.

Photo Credit: Wycliffe Bible Translators