Watch the Matigsalug Bible Dedication

Watch the Matigsalug Bible Dedication

May 29, 2024


In the Philippines, film producer Jim (pictured in the middle) experienced his first Bible dedication.

Name: Jim Monroe

Role at Seed Company: Film Producer

Favorite Food: Tex-Mex

Nickname: Jim is actually a nickname, but some people call him Jimothy.

Jim bowed his head. Standing at almost six feet tall, he needed to make it easier for the Matigsalug woman in front of him to reach him as she carefully placed a ceremonial necklace around his neck. He looked down at the meticulously crafted braid of bright red beads. 

Although Jim was currently standing in the Philippines, almost 8,400 miles away from where he lived, this warm welcome made him feel right at home. He was finally able to experience his first Bible dedication, and he was thankful to capture footage of it all. 

“I was beaming from ear to ear with joy and excitement,” he shares.

From Poverty to Hope

Over 50,000 people strong, Matigsalug communities live in several regions of the Philippines. In the 1970s, rampant logging devastated the Matigsalug’s forest homes. They turned to farming for survival. Poverty deepened the divide between them and their neighbors, who often mocked and excluded them. The discrimination ran so deep that many Matigsalug stopped speaking their language in public.

But when the Matigsalug encountered the gospel through missionaries in 1992, they began to reconnect with their cultural roots. They longed to learn how to read their language. With the help of SIL, local leaders translated Scripture into Matigsalug and helped community members learn how to read. 

In 2011, the Matigsalug celebrated the completion of the New Testament. But without a full Bible in their language, community members still struggled to fully understand the richness of God’s Word. 

A Dedication of God’s Love

Matigsalug Dedication

Fast forward to November 2023. Now, the Matigsalug were finally celebrating the completion of a full Bible in their language during their very own Bible dedication! 

A Bible dedication is a gathering of people—translators, pastors, community members, cultural leaders, and ministry partners—who get together to celebrate the completion and publication of a Bible in their language. 

Jim had heard about dedications before, but to witness one was another thing entirely. Before he even entered the auditorium, Jim heard the sounds of celebration. Inside, hundreds of Matigsalug gathered to receive their newly completed Bibles. They created music with sticks and logs that, when beat together, produced a sound like a victory over war. And in many ways, it was.

After 30 years of painstaking work, the arrival of the full counsel of God in Matigsalug was a dream fulfilled. The community had longed for the entire Bible in their language. And now they had good reason to raise their voices in jubilation. 

Join the Celebration! 

“It’s hard to describe the joy that so many of those individuals had by receiving God’s Word,” Jim shares. 

Thankfully, Jim isn’t keeping this amazing experience to himself!  

Reflecting on his time filming the celebration, he says, “I had shot after shot after shot of people grabbing the Bible, and their faces just lit up with the joy of God and the joy of being able to have the Word in their own language. It had such an impact on them. Without the Bible in their language, they would still be struggling and trying to understand [the national language Bible] on their own.” 

Experience the Matigsalug Bible dedication below:

“This Isn’t the End of a Journey”

When asked how we can pray for the Matigsalug, Jim shared: “They need prayer immediately. This isn’t the end of a journey. This is the beginning. They have a lot of work ahead of them as far as outreach, connecting with other individuals, and ministering to their own community. They need a lot of prayer. I’m excited for them.”

Will you take a few minutes to pray with us through the prayer below? 

Lord, thank you for bringing your Word of peace and hope to the Matigsalug. May they feel your presence as they experience the Bible in their language. God, we ask that you keep a fire burning in the hearts of the Matigsalug. Fill them with a desire to encounter you in Scripture every day. As they read, show them how to love each other well. Help local leaders spread your Word throughout their community. And fill every Matigsalug with the knowledge that you are a God who speaks their language. Amen.

Read More Stories

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Discover how Bible translation impacts fathers, families, and communities.
May 18, 2022
Giving thanks for God’s Word—your lifeline in difficult times.
November 17, 2020

Help Reach People Waiting for God’s Word

God’s Word changes everything. And everyone deserves to have God’s Word in the language they understand best. You can help make that happen.

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