The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Friday, January 8, 2010

So, tell us again what exactly it is you do?? .....

A little bit here about what the world we are actually doing here in Mexico; we made a substantial transition a month ago, and although some people know what we are doing in our new locale, it is quite likely that there are still some left back at the bakery.

When most Americans think of Mexico, they think of tacos, burros, resort beaches and Spanish. Although everyone and their perro knows that they speak Spanish in Mexico, this, in fact, is only partially true. According to Ethnologue, there are 291 'living' languages in Mexico - languages that are still in use - with anywhere from several hundred people to tens of thousands of people speaking any given individual dialect. Of these languages, most are languages of the indigenous peoples of various areas; about half of them are found in the southern state of Oaxaca. The languages within Oaxaca fall into 16 major language groups.

We are in Mexico to help with the recording and distribution of audio recordings of the New Testament, the Jesus film, and a few other works in these indigenous languages. We work closely with Wycliffe Bible Translators here; in a nutshell, Wycliffe sends linguists to the native villages, and the Wycliffe linguists will spend anywhere from 5 to 20 years learning a single native language. Once the linguist is fluent in the language, they will create an alphabet for the language - most have no written language - and then several more years are spent translating the New Testament into the language. The manuscript is painstakingly checked and rechecked, with the help of several native-speakers of the language, and also other linguists. Finally the manuscript is released and printed in the native language, and those people who learn to read the written form of the language are able to read the bible in their native tongue.

Basically, our work here allows the people of these language groups to listen to the New Testament in an audio form, rather than having to learn to read. Once the bible has been translated into the language, we can find native speakers of the language who can read the bible out loud in a recording studio, and then essentially load the whole thing onto the equivalent of an mp3-player which can then be distributed to the people to listen to. Each chapter is read - or in the case of non-readers, spoken by a linguist and repeated back by a native speaker - and recorded as computerized wave-files. The recordings are then edited, and then played back and checked by native speakers. Repeated parts are removed, badly-read or mispronounced sections are re-recorded. It generally takes several weeks of work to produce a single New Testament in a single-voice recording; multi-voice recordings, and tracks for movies like the Jesus film and the Luke video are more complicated and require more time.

A side note - the ethnologue site referenced above is a wealth of world-class information on languages and linguistics for anyone who is interested in such things. It is put together by SIL International, which is what Wycliffe is known as in most of the world.

One of the organizations that we work closely with on various projects here is called Faith Comes by Hearing, also known as Hosanna ministries. They have samples of several projects they have done in numerous languages available on their website for people to listen to. Many of these languages are incredibly complex, and amazing to hear. FCBH's website is full of good information about audio-bible projects around the world.

The town we now live in is located within language group 247 on the second map above. Several of our neighbors here are Wycliffe linguists and translators, or are related in other ways with Wycliffe's work here in Mexico.


TexasHeather said...

This is such an interesting and well-written/told description of what you guys are doing. Thank you!

Trish said...

Wow! I guess i should never take for granted having a Bible to read in the language that I speak.

(yeah, I know there are lots of things that I should never take for granted!)

your header picture has me green with envy!!

The Hayes Zoo said...

Trish - just wait until next Friday's will turn you all colors of green and hopefully give you a laugh or two.

Hi Heather!!!

Olancho Bound Gringa said...

All I can say is "WOW". That is amazing work you are a part of. God Bless!

MikeandCharlsie said...

Hi there I just popped over here from my friend GfG's blog and saw that ya'll are living in Oaxaca and working with our good friends Jim and Jamie! I grew up in Oaxaca and returned as missionaries with my family in 2004, we stayed for 4 years and then returned to live in the states.
I love seeing your photo's and reading what you have to say about the fun foods and such down there! Makes me miss "home". My parents still live down there...maybe you will run into them sometime :)

The Hayes Zoo said...

HEY MikeandCharlsie!!

Nice to 'meet' you!! Do you follow Jamie's blog too??

How fun - I'll have to tell her you found us. Now who are your parents???

MikeandCharlsie said...

Hey there yes I read Jamie's blog...cracks me up, she totally needs to write a book someday! My parents are Peter and Teresa Cawthon, they live in the city of Oaxaca. I am sure you will meet them you will soon see (if you haven't already) the missionary community down there is pretty small and they are really good about doing get together s etc....

Missus Wookie said...

Cool - thanks for the explanation.

London has over 300 languages spoken... wonder how many of 'em have the bible?,_UK

Grateful for Grace said...

Veeeeeeerry interesting.

What a blessing to give them God's Word in their language without them having to know how to read. The books were meant to be read aloud anyway, so it's just perfect!

Do y'all need any ASL users? Camp directors? homeschooling mamas? ;-)