International (MNN/ANS) — Herman
P. Aschmann, considered an unsung pioneer in Bible translation, went home to be
with the Lord on his 94th birthday, February 18th.
Aschmann translated three
versions of the New Testament for the Totonac Indians in the highlands of
Dale Kietzman, president of Latin American Indian Ministries (LAIM) and the
former U.S. director of Wycliffe Bible Translators noted the value of his
contribution to the Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Early on, Aschmann began working with a young man named Manuel Arenas.
His desire was to start a school for his own people, and that became the Totonac
Bible Center. Under his leadership, Arenas trained scores of current leaders in
the tribe who are now pastors.
Dr. Kietzman is continuing that vision, extending it to other Indian
tribes in Latin America. This would not
be possible if not for the intrepid spirit of Aschmann and his desire to put
God's Word in the hands of the Totonac.
A brief timeline of his work:
1954 The Highland
Totonac New Testament translation is finished and handed in for printing. It
finally comes off the press in 1959.
1978 Papantla Totonac New Testament translation is finished and printed.
1986 The Coyutla Totonac New Testament translation is finally translated
1996 With the help of Felipe Ramos, the final draft of the Highland Totonac New
Testament revision is finished and comes off the press in 2000.
As the result of his work in
translation and investing his life in some of the Totonac Indian men, there are
now over 50 self-sufficient, reproducing Totonac churches in the mountains and
coastal region of eastern Mexico.