Excerpt (approximately 7 minutes) from the oral history with Jacqueline Huggins, interviewed by Paul Ericksen in 1997. This excerpt is taken from audio tape T2 in Collection 545. The accompanying photograph is from the Huggins collection. Huggins has been a Bible translator with Wycliffe Bible Translators since 1986. For more information about Huggins click here. Click to play the Jacqueline Huggins excerpt on CN545T2

HUGGINS: The other difficulty to overcome was something I mentioned earlier when I mentioned that intern that asked me for a Romans [book in the New Testament]. He had finished seminary training. He was there to tran...to...he was assigned on the island where I am for a whole year as an intern to work in the church with the Kagayanan pastor teaching and preaching. And the pastor brought him to the house one day, introduced him, "Ernesto is here to be an intern for a year, and here he is." [laughs] He just kind of left. He left this guy there and walked away. And then Ernesto, this intern, who is not Kagayanan, he wanted to know who I was and why I was there, and so explained to him what I am doing and I showed him some of the Scripture portions we have in Kagayanan and showed him the dictionary, and he was just looking puzzled. He said...he said, "You are an American and you speak English." He said, "Why are you here translating the Bible into this little language here?" He said, "Why don't you translate it into English?" Well, I though about that. I said, "Well, first of all, if they understood English, I wouldn't have anything to translate. I would just give them one of the English versions of the Bible. Then I could go home. And then I said, "Secondly," and I showed him in Acts chapter two about the day of Pentecost and how God did that miracle and [pauses]...and God wanted to reach those people with that good news of Jesus Christ and He wanted it to be in their own language, so that it wouldn't be a shadow of a doubt that they understood what they were hearing. God could have done it the other way around, but He didn't. So, that's why we're translating, 'cause God said it's okay, you know, but to give people the Scriptures, His word, in their own language. And when this young...when I finished, this young man, he says to me, "You mean to tell me they don't understand English here?" I said, "No." He said, "Well, I just finished seminary and my training was all in English and I came here ready to teach and preach in English. Well, if they don't understand English, what am I going to do?" So I said, "You just use your own language, Ilongo." They understand...they don't understand that fully, but they understand that a lot better than English. And he said, "You mean to tell me I can use my own language in the church?" He was so excited. I said, "Yes." And he said, "Oh, I'm so glad." He said, "You know, my English is not all that good, anyway." I thought his English was pretty good, but he felt it would be a struggle to teach and preach in English, and I said, "Well, the average person in the church hasn't finished sixth grade, and you want to teach and preach in English, and you're having a hard time with English. They're going to have a harder time." But anyway, that young man...we have a phrase book in four languages and so he said, "Well, it's going to take me a long time to learn Kagayanan, you know." And I said, "Use the trade language," but I gave him the phrase book which is in his language, English, Kagayanan and the national language, to help him get started and make it...saying some simple phrases and before coming home for furlough this time I did get to hear Ernesto preach his first sermon in Kagayanan, and he's learning the language. But now that told me of another problem, because I said, "This is just one little isolated place in the Philippines and [laughs]...and I just happened to run into Ernesto, and I'm thinking "Here we are translating and...and it's not our job to...to teach people to use the Scriptures. That's the churches' job. And we don't do church planting. We don't do Bible studies traditionally. And we're going to leave someday and we're going to leave the Scriptures here and it's people like Ernesto who will come out of the seminaries and be assigned to places like where I am, and they have to be the ones to learn the language and run with the Scriptures. Well, they're not going to do it, most of the time, you know, because that would be beneath them in some instances and.... from PHOTO FILE: Huggins, Jacqueline And again, they feel like they're doing a service by preaching in this language, 'cause they...the same way they view reading in terms if you want to learn the language you just pick up that book and start saying those words over and over. They feel the same thing about preaching. If you stand before someone and preach in a foreign language, eventually they will learn how to speak that language, and that does not happen. And...and I thought, "Oh man, we're here working for nothing, because people like Ernesto will come out of the seminaries and they will use English." So I just said a prayer and I said, "God, it looks like we've got to reach the seminary students with...and giving them a burden to using the Scriptures and learning the language." Well, you know, I got an answer to that prayer. About three weeks later, I got a letter from my boss, my supervisor, saying he had just met a director of an OMF [Overseas Missionary Fellowship] school in the southern Philippines. It's a...it's a seminary for full-time pastors who have their undergraduate degrees. And he wanted it to be a requirement to know something about Bible translation so that they will have a burden to learn the language and use vernacular Scriptures. And my boss was telling me that this director asked him if one of his Wycliffe people could come to the seminary to teach a Bible translations...just a short two-week module course, and it would be required for an M.A. [laughs] And my boss was asking me if I would like that. [laughs] And I know that if I had not had what...dealt with Ernesto and what happened there, if I hadn't been a part of that and he asked me to go teach in the seminary, I know I would have said no. I would say, "I'm too busy. I don't want to take two weeks out to go down there and do this and put my work...what I'm doing on hold, and I'm not even interested [laughs] in that kind of work at all." So...but after this had happened, I said...I answered my boss, "You bet. I'd like to go to the seminary and teach Bible translation principles there, and I wish I had time to tell you all that's...has happened. Out of the eleven people that have finished that course, nine of them have finished...nine of them are permanently assigned to places where Wycliffe either has a translation project going on or where the Scripture is completed.

For more information about Huggins or Collection 545 click here.

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