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Central Australia Update
Pitjantjatjara Old Testament Project
Paul Eckert shares this transcript of interviews with translators of the Pitjantjatjara Old Testament. The book of Daniel has been drafted, checked in the communities, translated back into English, and the consultant check is almost complete. The Anangu communities look forward to publishing Daniel this year. Translators in other communities continue work on 1 & 2 Samuel, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Numbers, Isaiah, and other segments in the Old Testament.
In July, a work party from North Ringwood Uniting Church spent 3 weeks in Pukatja replacing the small office at Bible House with a new Translation Centre. There is now more space for local translators to work privately, and also for group workshops. This is a great encouragement!
I didn't know that this translation was going on, but then I heard that they were working on the book of Daniel, and I remember having this great desire to join them - it was God speaking to my heart to go and join them. So I went and joined them, and at once I found myself absorbed with the work and kept on at it until we finished.
Many years ago my father was a translator doing this sort of work translating into Pitjantjatjara, and now I've stepped into his shoes and am translating just like him and I have a great sense of inner joy.
We started work on this important book of Daniel in Canberra where we demonstrated the work of translation to 1500 University students.
I too started work on Daniel with Nyunmiti.
My tribal father, Paul Eckert, has worked with many different people helping us to make this translation correct and we've seen the result and thought, "This is really good." And we understood the whole story of Daniel.
We wanted this story of hidden things to be clear so that we could tell other people about it.
When I heard this story I was really amazed at how God looked after Daniel so faithfully. He was such an inspiration to me - remaining strong in the midst of great tests and here at the end the angel makes a promise to him, "Keep on remaining faithful without looking back, right to the end of your life." And from this story I thought, "It's the same for us, I realised. God is telling us through his word that we should persevere when various things test us, that we should remain strong, and keep our eyes fixed on God. He has wonderful things for us as we truly trust him and keep on doing well the work that he has given us, remaining firm in our faith.
And now on this day we have finished this work of translating Daniel, but we've got more work to do ... next year we'll be starting on another book, 1 Samuel. You also can be a part of this work. If you want to you can join with us in this work. We are translating some really wonderful stories so that we can really see and understand in our hearts. I'm really grateful that we've been able to work together with my uncle [Paul]. He's been able to teach us much - he knows our language, and he's been able to help us learn how to translate from English into Pitjantjatjara.
Yes, English is often very hard, but doing this translation work into Pitjantjatara we make the meaning clear, and we're beginning to understand this message of the Old Testament.
God has been showing us this story of Daniel in our own language - a really great story so that we Pitjantjatjara people could become familiar with and understand God's true message about the things that would happen later on.
Now we have finished. Today we completed the last verse. And my heart is humbled - God is so good - speaking to us through this story he is revealing his message to us from things like this, so that we might follow him truly.
This story leads us towards life.