Country: Brazil

City: Amazon Region


Ruth Thomson

Amazon Region, Brazil

After graduating from Toronto Bible College, and doing her linguistic studies at the Universities of North Dakota and Oklahoma, Ruth joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and did her Jungle Training Camp in Mexico, then went on to Brazil to do linguistic research with the Kayapó, one of Brazil’s 200 tribal groups without a written language. Together with another missionary from Unevangelized Fields Mission they turned that language into a written one, devised an alphabet, taught the Indians to read their own language and finally came to the goal of translating the New Testament and portions of the Old Testament and the JESUS film. That took over 35 years but it also involved literacy work, doctoring the sick (sometimes even pulling teeth), and so on.

When the New Testament was published (in 1996) and in the hands of the Indians, together with other Scripture portions and the JESUS film, Ruth then went on to another tribe with a related language, to do linguistic research and translation for them as well. However this other tribe was closed to missionary work and the one tribal person who was helping her with translation quit and decided not to have anything more to do with Bible translation. So Ruth returned to the first tribe, the Kayapó, to work on an audio version of the New Testament which the Indians were requesting. It is a joy to see the Christians using their New Testaments, leading their own churches and meetings in their own language and constantly making new hymns by putting the Scripture verses to their own music. And now because there is such a demand for the Kayapó New Testament, we have run out of them, and the Bible Society in Brazil is doing a reprint.

What will she be doing as she returns to Brazil at the end of this year? She hopes to begin the distribution of the audio version in a limited way, check Psalms 1 – 30 which her colleague has translated, and continue work on the revision of the New Testament.