Bible Translation

Joel’s comes from the Anung tribe from Mongolia. The Anung people migrated into Tibet where they lived for many generations. Later, many migrated into China, to northern Burma and some to Thailand. They moved into already existing villages of other tribes such as Rawang, Lisu, and Tibetan people. Eventually, their language and tribal identity became lost as they intermingled with the other tribes. The Anung language was used less and less and almost became extinct, except among the very old.

The near extinction of his peoples’ identity and language concerned Joel. He wanted to do something to bring them back as a people and restore the proud and numerous tribe of earlier times. Since they had no written language like many of the other tribes, Joel decided he wanted to create a written script for his people. Many of the tribal languages cannot be typed using the standard alphabet due to the sounds and tonal marks required for their language. Joel reasoned that using only the letters in the standard English alphabet would allow the use of a regular computer without created or altered characters. Joel enrolled in linguistic courses offered in Chiang Mai and studied with prominent linguist and teacher Dr. Jim Harris.

In 1977, Joel went to Dr. Harris and shared his desire to create a written language for the Anung people. Dr. Harris was very impressed with Joel’s dream and was willing to help. Together they created an appropriate alphabet and tone marks. Joel then started work on a primer for the Anung language. After the primer books were printed, Joel began teaching the new written language. The people he taught then went home to the villages and began teaching the Anung alphabet to the young AND the old who didn’t want to be left out! Since the creation of the Anung script, more than 70% of the Anung people can read and write in their own language!

In 1988 Joel and his uncle Aram Khopang began work on an Anung New Testament. It took two years to complete the translation which included cross-references, maps of the Holy Lands and the journeys of the Apostle Paul. Once the New Testament was typed, proof-read several times, and maps checked, the completed copy was finally ready. A few churches in Carthage, Missouri raised the money for the printing costs. This was the very first book ever printed in the Anung language. Praise the Lord!

Soon after the printing and distribution of the Anung New Testament, requests came for a translation of an Anung hymn book. Joel and his Uncle Aram got to work on it! After about ten years, there were over 700 songs translated into Anung. Only 554 songs were eventually selected to be included in new hymnal which was printed in 2003 and distributed among the Anung people.

In 2004, the translation of the Old Testament began. Joel, his Uncle Aram and cousins, Jonathan and Rueben, worked together on this translation. The Old Testament translation took about five or six years and was finally printed in 2016.
Now people all across Southeast Asia are able to read the Word of God and sing praises to Him!