David and Christine Foris have been members of Wycliffe Bible Translators since 1969. They’ve served in translation and literacy amongst the Sochiapam Chinantec of Oaxaca, Mexico, and in training in New Zealand and Latin America. One current project is a tri-lingual dictionary in Chinantec, Spanish and English. Their home church is Hillsborough Baptist in Auckland.
We’re currently in Lima, Peru where David is teaching the morphosyntax component (commonly known as grammar) to 22 mission students from all over Latin America. This course lasts a year but we’re here to teach half a semester. David will be mentoring two teaching assistants who will share his work load. Mission takes a team!
After decades of being recipients of mission outreach, Latin America has many strong churches. Some are sending young people out to unreached places worldwide. There’s one couple, our top students in 2007, who are longing to serve. Sadly, their church lacks a mission vision and they’ve been unable to raise adequate support. They trust in the Lord’s timing and are working regular jobs until the door opens. Mission takes a team of supporters!
In mid-July we head north to Oaxaca, Mexico where we’ll continue working with Francisco Feliciano Cruz on the tri-lingual dictionary. Currently we have around 10,200 entries but it keeps growing.
Francisco is proud of his language; many years ago he defended his right to speak it. He and another Chinantec man were chatting away when someone interrupted them, demanding to know why they were not speaking Spanish, the national language. Francisco replied that they were speaking a language which was spoken in Mexico long before the Spaniards ever arrived and which was a true Mexican language – end of story.
In times past the city people of Mexico thought languages spoken by indigenous groups had no grammar. This dictionary proves what an amazing and complex language Sochiapam Chinantec is. Mission takes commitment!
Imagine how it feels to see a whole society changed through an understanding of God’s love and the redemptive plan of Jesus Christ. It’s like seeing 2 Corinthians 5:17 in technicolour – “Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.”
We’ve been doing mission for more than 40 years now and still can’t think of anything else we’d rather be doing. Mission is inspirational, exciting and addictive!