Ethim is one of the Urak Lawoi, a minority fishing community on Thailand’s Andaman coast, whose land tenure is under threat.
Pictured above; a Bible study group in Baan Nai Rai, an Urak Lawoi village on Lanta Yai Island, Krabi province.
Ethim lives in a corrugated iron house and has four years primary education. For years he has worked tirelessly from his bed as a voluntary Bible translator, working to make the Bible available to his people in their heart language.
He was paralysed after diving for salvage and getting the bends. He recovered the use of his upper body but his lower body remains paralysed. Bible Society New Zealand Translations Director Dr. Stephen Pattemore says he now faces a new hurdle but one he will take in his stride.
Ethim, along with all United Bible Society (UBS) translators, has to learn a whole new level of computing involving an upgrade from an existing version of Paratext (special translation software) to a new version. This means migrating all his already translated Bible text to the new software, a complex process. Despite this, the Urak Lawoi Bible is nearly ready for publication after some final checking.
Dr. Pattemore, who is now working on Bible publication plans, says Urak Lawoi is a threatened language, and the communities of Christians there include those who are illiterate, as well as those literate in Thai and Urak Lawoi.
The historical section of the Old Testament will be published in three volumes as diglot* editions in Urak Lawoi and Thai. But the whole Urak Lawoi Bible will probably be an electronic edition. “Smart phones are becoming increasingly popular and widely used in Urak Lawoi villages, and already Pastor AhLin reads his Thai Bible on the YouVersion app. So this seems to be the way to go,” said Dr. Pattemore.