Central Australian Lutherans have been celebrating the publication and dedication of the Anmatyerr Mini-Bible.

This new mini-bible is the fruit of 18 years of labour by Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Wycliffe Bible translators David and Ming-Fang Strickland, who have worked with Finke River Mission (FRM) pastors and locals at Ti Tree, approximately 190 kilometres north of Alice Springs.

FRM Support Worker Pastor Paul Traeger says David originally began working for SIL in the Alyawarre language, with two others. However, after Pastor Ronnie McNamara from Laramba, approximately 120 kilometres north of Alice Springs, pointed out that no-one was working on the nearby related language of Anmatyerr, David moved to Ti Tree to work on an Anmatyerr translation of the Bible.

Although he was single when called to the job, David was married soon after – to Ming-Fang, a SIL-trained literacy worker from Taiwan.


David Strickland has worked hard on the Anmatyerr translation of the Bible, alongside native-speaking language helpers. He has established a great rapport with the Anmatyerr people. He also has translated Lutheran liturgies and helped with interpreting at FRM bush courses. David has exhibited a servant-like attitude and always pursued excellence in translation and interpreting.

Having a Bible in your own language means that God can communicate with you without the mediation of another dialect. The locals’ esteem for the new translation already became apparent on the day of its dedication. Immediately following the service, mothers began openly using Anmatyerr Bible material to teach their young children, and the children seemed happily responsive.

We pray that the new translation will be widely used and highly valued. And we thank and praise God for the loving, faithful, assiduous work of David and Ming-Fang (pictured right with Paddy Willis, an evangelist at Willowbank who worked with the Stricklands on the translation).

– Pastor Paul Traeger, FRM Support Worker for the Pintupi–Luritja language area


We have been celebrating the publication of the Anmatyerr Mini-Bible in style! Four celebratory events were planned in different locations. The first was held at Nturiya Lutheran Church at Ti Tree Station. The people showed deep appreciation for having a substantial volume of Scripture in their own language. Those involved in the translation were presented with Bibles by FRM support worker Malcolm Willcocks, who also officiated.

The next instalment was at Alice Springs Lutheran Church. Pastor Paul Traeger took the service, and schoolteacher and translator Seraphina did a Bible reading in Anmatyerr. The third launch was held at Laramba Lutheran Church. Pastor Ronnie McNamara, who also checked my translation drafts, was present for the dedication, which was the outcome of his original request at a pastors course meeting in 2000.

The fourth launch scheduled at Mt Allan was cancelled due to a traditional mourning period. So, we pray that another suitable day is found to hold the launch. We especially ask for prayer that the translated Scriptures will be accepted by the people there and that the Scriptures will inspire them to follow the message contained and that new leaders will emerge.

– David Strickland, SIL Bible translator

Already a subscriber? Click here to login and read this article.
Not a subscriber? Click here to receive stories & upcoming issues in full