beacon 12-19 web


The BEACON- Regional reach, Community Commitment.
December 2019 issue

Page 10A THE BEACON December 2019

A True Gift That Impacted the World

Editor’s Note- I first met

Karis Troyer and her father

quite by divine intervention.

Their story embraces all that

is our community- a smalltown

person having a vision

and tenacity that has literally

impacted the world. I would

like to thank Karis and her

father for sharing this incredible,

lifelong journey with us.

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By Karis Troyer, Brookville

In the 1970s, when hedonism

and free love were at

their peak, one girl attending

college in Indiana had a

different idea of what her life

was going to be. Patti married

Mark, and that’s where their

story begins- a young couple

with dreams of changing their

world in a big way. After their

graduation, marriage, and

training, they headed for a

remote Peruvian village on the

other side of the Andes Mountains

where no one spoke English

or had even seen a white

man. They left knowing two

words in the native language

and with the goal of learning

it well enough over years and

years of translating the Christian

Bible into a brand new

language- a Quechua dialect.

Before this trip, I had no idea

that Bible translation took

decades and that a huge team

of people was involved- with

Mark and Patti being one cog

in the translating machine.

Upon their arrival, they

immediately learned a local

legend of a “Pishtaco”- a very

tall, pale boogeyman. If you

have ever seen Mark, he is

very, very tall and very, very

white! The only reason that

the locals weren’t more terrified

of him was that he came

with his wife and small child,

and no one had ever heard

of a Pishtaco with a family!

After settling in, Patti told me

a little bit about those first

days and weeks. She carried

around a small notebook in

which to write words and

phrases with what she guessed

was the interpretation. She

would work with the ladies at

their daily chores and point

to something and then write

down the phonetic word that

one of the women would say.

The Quechua dialect that Patti

and Mark decided to work on




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Randy Lutz


Look closely to see the flow of the tourists toward the city gate in Macchu Picchu.

had no written language- so

it was more than just learning

the language or translating

it. They had the massive

responsibility of creating a

written language as well!

One of the first chores that

Patti was helping with was

laundry, and she asked about

the big wooden bins in which

the women were washing

the laundry. She was given a

word, so she wrote it down.

Later she asked about a tree

that they were cutting down

and was given the same word,

so she assumed that the word

was something like “wood” or

maybe the type of tree. Later

on again, she was asking

about something giant, blue

and plastic… and was given

the same word. She told Mark

that they were way off track,

but after working it out with

the Quechua speakers via

hand motions and gesturesthe

word was finally assigned

the English descriptive meaning-


I had met Patti and Mark

a few times in my childhood-

the reason for my brief

meshing with their story at

the completion of their dream

started before I was born.

My mom and Patti were

close friends in college- Patti

even stood with my parents

on their wedding day as a

bridesmaid. I heard about

Patti and Mark from birth- my

mom helped support their

ministry of Bible translation

every month and extra at the

holidays. I remember as a

child going with my mom to

the post office in July to send

presents that would hopefully

be delivered to Mark and

Patti and their children before

Christmas! We even received

gifts from Patti- toy llamas

made with llama or alpaca

fur, dolls dressed in Quechua

clothes, and flutes with which

to annoy my parents. What I

didn’t realize, and was only

told about later, was how

much of a contentious issue

the monthly bills sometimes

were for my parents. I was a

kid who grew up blithely and

happily unaware of anything

outside of my small circle of

care- bugs, bikes, Barbies.

But each month when bills

came due, and money was

balanced, my dad questioned

the faithful tithing of my

mom- we needed that money!

But her steadfast belief that,

“You can’t outgive God,” and

her absolute conviction in the

rightness of contributing to

Bible translation always won.

My mom and dad knew

for six or seven years that

the completion of the “mission”-

the full Old and New

Testament translation into

Quechua- was approaching

and had planned to fly to

Huaraz for the dedication.

When my mom died of cancer

in 2017, my dad continued

supporting Mark and Patti in

my mom’s honor but wasn’t

sure about making the trip

without her. After some backand-forth

about what to do,

the trip was planned with my

dad and me flying down for

the Bible dedication. South

America has always been

on my wanderlust radar, but

never in the top ten places that

I want to see. Usually, when I

plan a trip, I know the country,

customs, holidays, roads,

and people as well as I can

through time spent researching.

So the evening I booked

my flight to Peru, I spent time

getting to know the country,

but nothing prepared me for

the arrival! We landed in Lima

and spent one night before

boarding a morning doubledecker

bus that traveled eight

hours to take us to Huaraz,

which is the closest big city

to where Mark and Patti spent

their time working. The whole

Fine glacial silt is suspended

in the water of the

glacier lake, resulting in its

brilliant color.

bus ride, as tired as I was, I

couldn’t stop staring out of

the window! The city of Lima

itself was massive- much bigger

than I expected. It took us

more than an hour to make our

way outside of the city limits!

I didn’t realize that Lima is the

third-biggest desert city after

Cairo in Egypt and Karachi in

Pakistan! Once we were out of

the city, I saw the desert! The

whole western spine between

the Andes and the Pacific

Ocean is a vast sandy stretchfoggy

and surprisingly, full

of rows and rows and rows of

chicken houses!

Once we cut into the

interior of the country and

away from the coast, things

started getting green and more

mountainous- more like the

way I expected Peru to look.

We came over the tallest

pass- 13,871 feet above sea

level and the highest I have

been- and down into a valley

with a vista of snow-capped

peaks spread out around us in

the most beautiful 180-degree

panorama. The sun was setting

behind us, and I can still

see the view in my head. The

light was all golden and

Continued on page 11A

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