Sitting in the shade of a tree, wearing a long skirt and a baggy T-shirt, Mavis reveals her favourite verse from the Bible and quotes it in English – “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jer 29:11 TNIV)
Mavis likes this one because, “there’s hope for my people. To tell them, you know… that God has a future for them. Not a future of suffering.”
Mavis was involved in checking the translation of the Bible into Kriol, her mother tongue.
She received portions by mail, made her comments, and sent them back. It was a long process, but when the finished Kriol Bible was dedicated in 2007 she said, “I felt peace. Really happy. I’d like to see Bibles in other Aboriginal languages too – so they can understand God’s word easily.”
Mavis is a church leader and uses the Kriol Bible at church in her community. “There is lots of teaching there about life,” she says. For example, “Sometimes Aboriginal elders get on the grog, all the time on the grog, to get away from all the pressure and stress. But the Bible says we need a sober leader, you know, so they can listen to the people.”
Words & Photography: Elyse Patten