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The work in translating the Bible ...
The work in translating the Bible into Navajo began in earnest when Faye Elva Edgerton joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1944.
The Presbyterian board in early 1924 assigned Faye Elva Edgerton to work at a school in Ganado, Arizona, on the Navajo Indian Reservation.
It was believed that the climate would help her sinus problem.
At the school she noticed that Navajo kids weren't allowed to speak Navajo, except for a short time after supper.
She learned Navajo however, and increasingly became aware that the Navajo people needed the Bible in their own language.
After taking a course at the Summer Institute of Linguistics, she became convinced she could do the work and that God wanted her to.
In 1944, she decided to leave the Presbyterian mission and joined Wycliffe Bible Translators.
March 26: Faye Edgerton and the soul of the Navajo
The Navajo Indians gave Faye Edgerton a name: "The One Who Understands."The reason was simple, yet profound.She had spent close to half a century with them, learning their language (they called it Dine bizaad) and translating the New Testament into it.To the Indians it now seemed as if God spoke Navajo!In fact, they challenged her when she tried to revise it.How dare she change God's words!Faye Edgerton was born on this day, March 26, 1889.Her youth was one long social whirl, although she did well in school and became a competent musician.She
had sought God at a young age and even become involved in church work, but had never known Him as a presence in her
life.A bout with scarlet fever that nearly killed her
and left her
almost deaf for several days, forced her
to acknowledge her
purposeless ways.When her
hearing returned, she
praised God.From then on, she
showed a new concern for her
parents.And as soon as circumstances permitted, she studied at Moody Bible Institute and became a missionary.
On a long voyage across the Pacific, she
studied Korean.By the time she
reached the peninsula, she
could read it well.But Korea proved hard to her
.The cold sapped her
had a nervous breakdown her
first year.But she
learned lessons of obedience.Finally bad health forced her
father died, she
took up mission work in Arizona, where she
hoped the climate would help her
became aware that the Navajo people needed the Bible in their own language.After taking a course at the Summer Institute of Linguistics
became convinced she
could do the work and that God wanted her
to.But finding the necessary time was impossible.She decided to leave the Presbyterian mission and join Wycliffe Bible Translators.
It was still many years before the New Testament became a Navajo book.But she
had several willing helpers.One of them, Roger, had taught himself to read his
native language from and English-Navajo dictionary while recuperating in a hospital!He
once said, "This is not just a missionary talking to us in another language--this is God's word in Navajo.It is just like God talking!"The expression for soul was "that which stands up in you."
Near the end of the work, Faye
became worn.And then she
was thrown out of a car and dragged a great distance.Somehow she
survived with minor injuries.In 1954 the completed translation was sent to the American Bible Society
for publication.It was not until 1956 after proofreading, revisions and corrections that the book finally came off the press.It was an instant success, a bestseller in the tribe.It spurred the Navajo to new efforts to learn to read their own tongue.Even before the book was off the press, Faye
, now in her
sixties, with her
helper Faith, began learning Apache so they could translate the Bible into the related language.Nine years later that New Testament also went to press.But Faye
did not stop working on new translations and revisions until days before her
death in 1968.
Birth of Faye Edgerton, ...
Birth of Faye Edgerton, American missionary and Bible translator.
Faye translated the New Testament into the Navajo and Apache languages.
Silo Seven's Auction
The Moving Story Of Faye Edgerton Woven Out Of A Half Century Of Love And Labor Amoung The American Indians, Copyright 1968 by Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc
BiblicalStudies.org.uk: The Bible Translator (Vols. 11 - 20)
Faye Edgerton, "Some translation problems in Navajo," Bible Translator 13.1 (Jan. 1962): 25-33.