Reaching Out

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QUECHUA! RUNA SIMI

The language of the people.. Quechua (KECH-WAH) was the main language of the INCA EMPIRE that's said to even predate the Incas.. so, really old language!!! Once the Spanish invaded and conquered the land and Empire, there was a great change in culture, the Peruvians learned the Spanish language and the Catholic Religion. But even so, Quechua is still spoken in 7 countries; but most significantly in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. Peru was the first to recognize Quechua as an official language in 1975. There are more than 3.2 million Quechua speakers in Peru, that's 16.5% of the population!

Since about 2012 San Antonio has made the effort to search for people in the territory who speak Quechua. In the northern parts of Moquegua, about 5,6 hours away there is lots of unassigned territory. It's safe to say more than 10 towns or pueblos for example, Chojata, Ichuna to mention only a couple, as well as some of northern Puno, use Quechua Cusquena, one of the 32 documented dialects. I don't remember exactly how it all started; but, over time we have done census all around Moquegua and to the date have found and estimated 900 that speak Quecuha.

It's been interesting to find that when you communicate with native Quechua speakers, usually older people, you find that Quechua is mostly a SPOKEN language that very, very few know how to read. It's common for people in the ministry to say, "I know how to speak it, but reading is different" or, "I don't read or write Quechua, I only speak a bit." This is due to the fact that there is no surviving record of written Quechua predating the Spanish invasion. So most likely they had not created an alphabet. There was very little written communication as far as history shows other than the quipu, which is a whole other story in itself.

Many of the current generation of speakers does not believe that Quechua is important in their everyday lives or the lives of their
children, and generally don't pass it along. Some feel that it's best to use only the more eloquent Spanish, because if they do not, they will be looked at as nothing more than “campesinos” (peasants). The unfortunate result of these attitudes is that some doubt it's survival and others hide their linguistic roots. This can be a bit of a challenge when we are doing search or census work in our territory. Sometimes they deny even knowing it. Being taught by Jehovah we know that until the whole world speaks the "pure language" the truth reaches deepest in the heart when it's learned in your mother tongue. So there is a lot of work to do! The 16.5% is more than enough for Jehovah to guide the translation work in this country. For Jehovah it's not a low-prestige language at all! The work is growing! The need is great! We beg for more workers! That's why in present years there have been two more RTOs built in Ayacucho, and Trujillo.

We have organized a couple trips to visit unassigned territory. I missed the trip to Ichuna in 2016 because of my visit to the states.. But its a really beautiful place and a great opportunity to preach all day in Quechua. The people are very receptive to the message. Here are a few pics from the group that went.
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Everyone knows a little Quechua!

Quechua phrases and words are commonly used by Spanish speakers here in Peru. For example, when something is bland se dice, "chuma" which comes from the Quechua word ch'uma. Or, when shopping for veggies and you ask for a little more on the scale, we say, "Y la yapa?" from the Quechua verb, yapar (aumentar); (add or increase in English). Here's a word we use in English- JERKY! haha.. The word "jerky" is derived from the Quechua word ch'arki which means "dried, salted meat". And then of course there is Puma, llama, condor! Who knew?!

Try to count to 10 in Quechua!
1. Juj (huk)
2. Iskay (ees-kai)
3. Kinsa (keen-sah)
4. Tawa (tah-wah)
5. Pisqa (pees-kah)
6. Soqta (soak-tah)
7. Qanchis (con-chees)
8. Pusaq (pooh-sak)
9. Isqon (ees-cone)
10. Chunka (chun-kah)

Good news!

In March of 2016 we were recognized by the branch as an official Quechua Group!!
AND....
Then we were invited to go attend a special meeting in Ilo where we would hear some encouraging information for those who speak Quechua...

So what a surprise it was to see Brother Geoffrey Jackson come onto the screen and present the New World Translation of the Greek Scriptures in Quechua Ayacuchano y Cusqueno! Everyone was shocked, just like back in October 2013 in the US! When the brothers opened boxes right there in the middle of rural Ilo, and handed each one their new copy of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures in Quechua, there were tears. The mamitas couldn't believe it! Gracias Jehova!
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At the KH in Ilo after the special talk and with our new Bibles!

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Miho, Sonia, Elizabeth, and Loida making territory map cards for the pre group.

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Good News Brochure in my 3 languagues :)

February 2018
The group is doing well. We've had a few CO visits already and they that have commented that they are impressed with the census work we've done in the 5 congregations in Moquegua. The group currently has 2 servants, one who was appointed just last month, and one elder who is in his 80's. The last CO visit a young elder who speaks Quechua visited with him to translate his talks, and decided to stay! So we are awaiting his arrival in the next week or so. Right now we meet every Saturday at 4:30 before the meeting in Spanish, and listen to a public talk streamed from Cusco and have a Watchtower Study. Afterwards, Sonia does a grammar class before the other meeting starts. We are happy that Jehovah has listened to our prayers and we hope to see the group grow even more in the months to come.

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Grupo Quechua at the Assembly in Arequipa November 13,2017

This featured blog entry was written by TenekaCJ from the blog Serving in Peru, South America.
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By TenekaCJ

Posted Tue, Feb 13, 2018 | Peru | Comments