Devoted to Translation

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A profile of Leopoldo Rodriguez Broncano (Yepo), Bible translator for the Huaylas Quechua people of Peru.

Yepo was a newly-married young man when he took a vow to dance with the Huanquillas  for the next seven years in honor of St. Jerome (San Geronimo.)  Yepo had heard that Jerome was a doctor, and that devotion to him would help the traditional Andean Huanquilla dancers get into heaven.

Three years into Yepo’s commitment to the dance troupe, he met a missionary and heard the gospel for the first time. Yepo wanted to believe the message, but was worried about switching his allegiance from St. Jerome to Jesus.  During his fourth year of dancing for the patron saint, Yepo finally gave his heart wholly to God, breaking his vows to Jerome and greatly upsetting his wife and both of their mothers.  The women’s concern deepened when Yepo was introduced to Wycliffe missionaries and they invited him to get involved in the Bible translation program for the Huaylas Quechua language.

huanquilla dancers (3) (768x1024)Yepo began helping with the translation of the book of Luke, and quickly discovered the advantage of having the Word of God in Huaylas Quechua instead of just in Spanish.  Before having the translation, he said, “The Word was in my mind.  But it went into my heart when I heard it in my language.”  Yepo began reading the translated book of Luke to his wife and their mothers, who were still very much against his new-found faith.  Before long, each women also gave her heart to God.


While working on the New Testament translation, the missionary linguist spent time teaching Yepo about the history of Bible translation.  Imagine Yepo’s surprise when he learned that the very same St. Jerome to whom Yepo had once devoted his life in hopes of getting into heaven, is actually remembered for being one of the first translators of the Bible!  Yepo himself has now been a dedicated Bible translator for over 30 years.  He is currently part of a “cluster program” where the Old Testament is being translated into five different Quechua languages at the same time.  During those 30 years Yepo has given up opportunities for other types of work, but this humble Quechua man who has devoted his life to translation says, yepo's family (3) (1024x758)“It’s not in vain that we gave everything up.  When we finish, I know it will be a great joy for all of us to put the completed Bible in the hands of the Quechua people.”


Rachel McDonald Yanac              June 22, 2015

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