Title: And the Word Came With Power
Author: Joanne Shetler
Major Themes: Bible Translation, Philippines, Wycliffe Bible Translators
Synopsis: Joanne Shetler tells her story of the 20 years she spent translating the Bible for a tribe in the Philippines.
And the Word Came With Power is one of those books that makes an impression on you. We first read it about ten years ago, when my oldest was in about 2nd or 3rd grade. If I remember right, I was still recording most of what I read for school onto cassette tapes, and my husband would listen to them on the way to work. That way he got to hear what I read to the children, too. This was one of his favorite books that year, the way I remember.
As a teenager, Joanne Shetler was called by God to be a missionary, but she wondered what she would tell the people to whom she went. And how would she know when her job was done? When she heard of Wycliffe Bible Translators and the work they did, she knew what her job was and how she would know when she was done: When the Bible was translated, she would be done. She found herself assigned to a tribe in the Philippines, the Balangao people.
The Balangao were in terrible bondage to the spirits. They didn’t dare do anything to offend the spirits, and when the spirits demanded a sacrifice, they had to give them what they wanted or risk themselves or their families dying. Joanne and her partner in the work, Anne, hardly knew where to start, but it was an enormous help to be adopted by an older man in the village. He became their Ama, or father. They were soon accepted into the life of the village, and got the help they needed to begin translating the Bible into the Balangao language—but how could they teach the people to trust God and not fear the spirits? And how would the people ever learn how to pray?
You will be amazed at the power of the spirits—and the much greater power of God. You will rejoice with Joanne when things went well—and feel her sorrow when things were hard. This is a story that can be read many times without getting old. This is a good book to read aloud as a family, although it might require just a bit of censoring, depending on your children’s ages. One thing that made it especially meaningful to our children right now is that they have met some Filipinos who work with their daddy. It’s always good to make connections like that!
WARNING: Chapter 5 includes a fairly detailed description of childbirth, such that I didn’t read it aloud to my boys. Chapter 10 also talks about birth. Chapter 6 describes spirit worship, and chapter 13 describes the spirits trying to kill a woman when she turned to Christ.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults
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