Pastor Larry Alentajan who serves in the province of Antique speaks Kinaray-a, the heart language of over half a million people in the Philippines. He uses the translated Kinaray-a New Testament (NT). Pastor Larry is passionate in bringing God’s Word to the whole village in a novel way – through a loudspeaker affixed to the top of a bamboo pole!
At 5 a.m., he would go on the air to recite a NT passage in Kinaray-a and then end with a prayer. High above the rooftops, the pastor’s voice could be heard ‘live’. This daily routine at dawn would go on for months.
One day, the pastor fell sick and realising he was too feeble to read aloud, he did not go on the air. Resting at home alone, he pondered: “Has my public Scripture reading impacted anyone in the village? Is it worthwhile to continue?”
As if in answer to his queries, an anxious fish vendor called him just then. “Pastor! I was expecting to hear your voice. But the loudspeaker was silent this morning. You also kept the trishaw riders at the market waiting by the loudspeaker! Like me, they would not start their day till they have heard your message. What happened to you?”
The testimony in thirsting after God’s Word soon spread like wildfire to the neighbouring barangays (districts). The pastors from those areas began to replicate the idea of reading aloud the Scriptures over the loudspeaker. By God’s grace, the readings blessed and transformed lives among the Kinaray-a people.
Now in his fifties, Hareanton has served in church ministry for 20 years as a pastor and regional head and has also taught at a seminary. He has three children, two grown sons and a teenage daughter. His wife passed away at end-2016. Hareanton was despondent over the loss of his wife and found it a struggle to carry on.
The idea of involving Hareanton in the Dumas Bible translation project was broached to him some months later. The man deliberated on it and finally accepted the offer in 2018. He became the project’s first mother-tongue translator and, in turn, recruited other Dumas speakers to form a translation team.
Hareanton shared that the Bible translation work has helped to mould the character in him. It has provided him a renewed sense of purpose to see his Dumas church flourish. He also hoped that through the project, the Dumas language would grow stronger among younger generations.
Hareanton realised he has a better grasp of understanding the Bible after an intensive and thorough study of the Scripture passages alongside various Bible translations. He would share his insights from the pulpit during worship service. News of the Dumas Bible Translation project has gradually spread throughout the local Dumas churches. The believers welcome it and for the first time, the churches have requested for Bible study materials to be produced in Dumas language. Praise the Lord!