Tracts in the Native Tongues

By Jim McDonald

I met him in the International Airport in Cebu City. He was an inspector who checked our luggage to make certain we were not carrying bombs, lethal weapons, or drugs. His name was Reynaito Dasaran. Reynaito’s curiosity had been aroused when on an earlier flight Ken Marrs and I had traveled through that same terminal obviously in the company of a couple of Filipinos. He questioned one of our companions named Cipriano Carpentero about who we were. Cipriano preached the gospel to him. Later, when we were returning back to the States and traveled through the terminal again, Reynaito was on duty and inspected our luggage. He recognized us and questioned me about “The Faith.” He asked for a Bible in his tongue and tracts. I had neither, but I took his name and promised to send a Bible to him. When I returned to the States his name was sent to a preacher in Cebu City with enough money to buy a Bible. I had no tracts to send him. I await a reply from the preacher there as to the results of his “follow up.”

There is power in God’s word. The gospel “is the power of God unto salvation unto everyone that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” “The word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword,” “the word effectually worketh in them that believe” (Rom. 1:16; Heb. 4:12; 1 Thess. 2:13). The Scriptures are filled with instances which show the mighty power of God’s word. It may work slowly as leaven. The disciples were warned to beware of the “leaven of the Pharisees” (Matt. 16:6-12). They came to understand that Jesus was warning them of the doctrine of the Pharisees. There are latent forces both good or evil that words may have over hearers. There can also be immediate effects of the word viz. the people on Pentecost (Acts 2:6).

Power in words is not confined solely to God’s word. Both men and movements have been formed in the crucible of words. Joshua’s stirring words to Israel: “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve but as far as me and my house, we will serve the Lord” was not only a declaration of Joshua’s intentions but a call to commitment to the nation he had led (Josh. 24:15). Surely the determined spirit of the Hebrews facing the fiery furnace moved others to the same resolve of faith. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliverus from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thy hand, 0 king. But if not, be it known unto thee, 0 king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:17-18). The rallying cry of Texans at the crucial San Jaciento battleground, “Remember the Alamo, remember the Alamo” hardened their resolve in the battle to conquer Santa Anna and his Mexican army, making Texas an independent nation in 1836.

You can help spread the word in the Philippines. One of the many effective ways of spreading the news there is through tracts written and translated into their own tongues. Tracts have ever proven to be useful instruments in spreading the word and it is certainly true in the Philippines. I had no tracts to give Reynaito (although I had a few printed in Cebuano, the dialect he spoke), and if I had the end of his story might not be uncertain. Tracts can be expensive and there are few which exist in the dialects of the Philippine people.

Because of these two reasons I have begun writing “first principle” tracts to distribute to the people there. Five different tracts have already been written and another two or three are in the planning stage. Of the five tracts already written, three are being translated into three major dialects: Ilacano, Cebuano, and Tagalog. Five different Filipino brethren are the translators. These brethren are Rolando Azurin (Vigan, Ilocos Sur) and Edgar Uggadan (Tuguegarao, Cagayan) who are preparing or have prepared Ilacano versions. Rick Darasin (Angeles City) and Cipriano Carpentero (Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao) are translators of the Cebuano version and Lordy Salunga of Angles City translates the tracts into Tagalog.

The purpose behind this “project” is to provide “first principle” tracts as inexpensively as possible. By setting these up on a computer, then reproducing them on a copier and assembling them; readable, if not professional, tracts are reproduced at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost. Depending upon the size of the tract of course, it costs from five to eight cents a copy to print and mail the tract to the Philippines.

I have master copies of six of the tracts already avail-able with instructions to send along with them. They are so designed that if a copier has a collator, one major step in assembling the tract can be eliminated. But, even without a collator, if enough willing hands are available, the tract can still be easily prepared. With the tract (or tracts) I can send not only the copy of instructions but names of brethren in centrally located regions who will share the tracts with others. And, of course, I will also supply an English copy of the tract so that brethren can first read to see what it is they are sending a translation of to folks across the sea.

A congregation (or a group of interested brethren) could pace what and how many tracts they wished to prepare and send. Once the tract is in the hands of brethren there, it will be passed out for brethren are crying for tracts from all parts of the islands.

The tracts will help brethren there and also has benefit for brethren here. It provides a way for many brethren to be actively involved in sending the word to places they cannot go themselves, giving them a sense of being personally involved in sharing God’s word. If you think you would like to help in such a work as this, write me and I will send a packet of tracts to you with instructions on how to prepare, assemble and mail them, as well as including names of brethren there to whom they might be sent. Then, you’re on your own, but will be personally involved in helping to provide tracts for brethren to use in a nation which has proven for many years to be one of the “open doors” of this century.

Guardian of Truth XL: No. 15, p. 12
August 1, 1996