Our Yolŋu Story of Faith
On a small island in the north of Arnhem Land, God is moving.
"He's revealing Himself to us today (now)
His Holy Spirit is touching everyone and bringing us to God here in Galiwin'ku." Maratja Dhamarraṉdji, Executive Producer. Maratja is speaking about the move of God in his small community on Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land.
This is the inspiring story of the Bible Translators at Galiwin'ku. Told in their language, their words about their strong faith in God.
Bible translator and documentary director Yurranydjil Dhurrkay shares, when an old man, Timothy Buthimaŋ was read the translated scriptures he shed tears of joy declaring, 'Oh beloved Lord, I can hear you speak to me in my language. I can understand you.'
The story of the translators has origins in the 1950's when a missionary educator, Beulah Lowe was sent to the region by the Methodist Overseas Mission. She worked closely with Yolŋu and learned the Gupapuyŋu language. With the assistance of Manydjarri Garrawurra and a team of Yolŋu educators, they guided children to learn in and through their own language.
Photo courtesy of Territory Stories
Over years the translation work grew to accommodate other Yolŋu languages including Gälpu, Gumatj, Wangurri, Djambarrpuyŋu and more. In 1976, Di Buchanan and a team of adult educators began translating the Djambarrpuyŋu chapter.
When Di prematurely passed away they released a mini bible in 1992 but their work wasn’t finished and the team expanded to eight: Wanymuli, Maratja, Mätjarra, Mary Ŋändama, Djawuṯ, Gapany, Wäŋgarr, Margaret Miller and the documentary director, Yurranydjil Dhurrkay.
Ceremony celebrating the launch of the 1994 Djambarrpuyŋu mini bible
In 2008, the dedication of the Djambarrpuyŋu Testament took place at Galiwin’ku. It was a 32-year project and was cause for a major celebration of praise and thanksgiving to God. The Bible Society printed the Bible.
See more of the wonderful Djambarrpuyŋu New Testament Dedication in 2008 here:
A jubilant Yurranydjil Dhurrkay (documentary director) holding the Bible at the New Testament Dedication Event in 2008
The work of the translation team continues its impact. From one of the larger Northern Territory Aboriginal communities of more than 2,000, the work of the translators is extending to other Aboriginal communities in North East Arnhem Land bringing the word of God, salvation and hope.
This is a labour of love. In the words of Wäŋgarr, 'I am grateful and thankful for the translation team choosing me. I'll be doing it for the rest of my life because I LOVE it.'
Bible Translator: Wäŋgarr
This is a story about a group of Aboriginal Christians sharing the story of their strong faith and translation work and it will be aired on SBS-NITV on July 3 and will remain available for viewing on SBS On Demand for four years.
The ambitious documentary has a budget of just $17,000 been partly funded by SBS-NITV and the Bible Society. Further funding is needed to complete post production. To garner further support we have created a Gofundme campaign:
https://www.gofundme.com/galiwin-ku Please share this campaign.
This unique story is uplifting.
Any size donation will be gratefully received. So, please do not hesitate to donate now. You are welcome to pay by direct bank deposit to:
Account Number: 296503044
Also, we can accept payment by Paypal and credit card over the phone. Please contact Matt Blyth if you wish to pay by one of those options; click on the mail symbol next to Matt's name towards the top right of this page.
Alex Bukulatjpi and Family
Who we are: Millstream Productions. We are a boutique video production company based in North Queensland founded by Matt Blyth pictured in the cover photo with Yurranydjil Dhurrkay and her husband, Djawuṯ. Whilst we create videos for the corporate sector, we have had the privilege of telling the stories of some special Aboriginal people: Mardayin Ceremony Numbulwar
Anindilyakwa Land Council Island Survey
Yantarrnga Ceremony short Highlights
Groote Eylandt Songmen and Dancers at 2014 Barunga Festival
Amakalyuwakba - NITV Commission
Bickerton Island Bush Medicine
Galiwin'ku, Elcho Island
Much of the bible translation work is done in communities like Galawin'ku and the surrounding outstations.