There are 171 indigenous languages spoken in the Philippines. Missionaries and Filipino Bible translation organizations have been working for more than 100 years to translate at least the New Testament into all of those languages. There are now "only" 45 languages that still don't have any part of the Bible. There are presently six Bible translation organizations working in the Philippines, including All the Word, and they've formed a fellowship group called "Tambuli." They're working together to insure that at least part of the Bible is translated into every language of the Philippines. Dr. Edgar Ebojo, with United Bible Societies, prepared a map listing the names and locations of the remaining 45 languages, and you can see that map below. Each of those language names represents thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, who still do not have any part of God's Word in their language.
Tod Allman and his family lived in the Philippines for 7.5 years. During that time, Tod worked with Ephraim Rey to develop a lexicon and grammar for Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, using TBTA. They produced initial draft translations for approximately one third of the Bible. But their goal wasn't to produce another translation of the Bible in Tagalog. Instead, their goal was to build a Tagalog lexicon and grammar so that it can easily be modified to accommodate the many related languages in the Philippines. Tod and his family returned to the US in 2021 due to covid, but he continues meeting online with Levi Cruz, a member of the Translation Association of the Philippines (TAP). Levi and Tod are currently polishing the Tagalog lexicon and grammar so that it can be modified for the many related languages that still need the Bible.
Roger Stone and his family have been living in the Philippines for more than 12 years. Roger is working with the Ayta Mag-indi people and they've completed the New Testament. Now Roger is modifying the Tagalog lexicon and grammar to accommodate Ayta Mag-indi. They've now translated approximately one fifth of the Old Testament into Ayta Mag-indi using TBTA. Roger is also using FLExTrans to translate the Ayta Mag-indi texts into other closely related languages in the Ayta cluster.
After Tod Allman and Ephraim Rey finish translating a book into Tagalog, the text is checked by two adults, one high school student, and two elementary school students. We want to be certain that our texts are understandable for people who have at least a sixth grade education. After the checking process has been completed, we put the text into the pictures provided by Free Illustrated Bible. We then distribute our translations through free phone apps which are available in Google Play Store, and we produce videos and printed books. The books are distributed at churches, orphanages, special schools, and prisons in the Manila area. Comments from several teachers and pastors who have used these books are listed below.
Pastor Paul at Sampaloc Deep Rooted Church of the Nazarene in Manila wrote: "Thank you very much ATW. Our students are so happy to read these picture books. We have 150 students, and most of them lack basic Bible knowledge. So these books are a great opportunity for them. I tried to find simple Bible story books in Tagalog, but could not. There are many books in English, but the children from poor families cannot speak English, only Tagalog. By reading these books in Tagalog, they will learn, and the Holy Spirit will be working and touching their lives. We will be praying for your ministry. God bless you."
A teacher at Lyncrest Christian Academy in Manila wrote: "The students were captivated by the books and couldn't wait to read them. I requested they read the first chapter before I collected them, but many of the students finished reading to the end! The principal is interested in using the books in the Christian Living class. Kids love comic books, and this is a great way to teach them truth from God's Word! Thank you for sharing these books with our students."
A teacher at Shining Stars wrote, “Thank you ATW! The students enjoyed the story; it was easy to read and easy to understand. They’d like the entire Bible study series to use the same format as this book. We would certainly be interested in getting copies of Genesis when it is ready! God bless!”