The story of how God protected Daniel and rewarded him for his obedience was a revelation to the Pitjantjatjara Old Testament translation team in central Australia.
Most had never read the book of Daniel before they started translating it. While they found the work difficult at times, they were excited about what the story revealed about God.
Nyurpaya Burton, a respected member of the Amata community in the northwest corner of South Australia, was “amazed at how God looked after Daniel so faithfully.”
“He was such an inspiration to me – remaining strong in the midst of great tests … 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 for he has wonderful things for us.”
Nyurpaya, also a prominent artist, was one of two Pitjantjatjara women who went to Canberra in November 2011 to demonstrate the Daniel translation project to 1500 delegates at an AFES conference.
The book is now complete and will be published by Bible Society later this year. It is the first fruits of an Old Testament translation project in which more than 30 Pitjantjatjara people are involved, a number that reflects the strong desire of the 3500 people who speak the language for a complete Bible.
“They feel encouraged by the way Daniel handled himself in the midst of being persecuted or oppressed,” says Bible Society’s Paul Eckert, who is Project Translation Adviser.
So far, the Pitjantjatjara have a complete New Testament and about 15 per cent of the Old Testament. Nyurpaya is looking forward to working next on 1 Samuel. She says: “We’ve got more work to do.”