FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – More than 2,200 language groups around the world have no access to even one verse of Scripture in their native tongues. However, Southwestern Seminary student Perry Oakes and many others are laboring to change this statistic.

Working for Wycliffe Bible Translators in the 1990s, Perry and his wife, Beth invested six years into developing a Bible translation for the Teribe people group of Panama. Several couples have toiled to do so over the years.

Last Fall, Perry and Beth, saw the fruit of their labor. Along with their children, they traversed the rivers and muddy trails of Panama to celebrate with the Teribe and to help deliver the first published Teribe Bibles to the tribe. It was their first visit to the area in ten years.

“It was cool to see the advances that had been made,” Perry said. “Several people that were hostile to us when we were there are now Christians.” One man, Misael, had been a “cynical and uninterested” teenager when they worked among the tribe. When Perry and his family were leaving the village to return to the United States last fall, Misael ran after them to thank them for sharing the Gospel among the Teribe. Today, Misael is a Christian and leader of a small church.

Since returning to the states, the Oakeses have worked with Wycliffe’s administrative office in Dallas. Currently in the dissertation phase of his Ph.D. at Southwestern, Perry intends to continue working with Wycliffe as an exegetical consultant when he is finished. In this capacity, he will oversee and approve biblical translations developed for people groups in the Americas.