Efraim Alphonse

Efraim Alphonse biography, was an American missionary known for his ministry among the Guaymi (also called Valiente) tribes. Born in a fishermen family Efraim was well versed in piloting a boat even in treacherous streams. One day he agreed to take a missionary along dangerous reefs of Panama coast to the terrifying Guaymi tribes. On the way, the missionary stirred up Efraim’s heart about the need for Christian teachers among the Guaymi tribes. Even though he didn’t finish his studies yet, he joined the missionary to teach Christ’s love to the cruel Guaymi tribes.

Birth : 24.06.1896
Home calling : 31.05.1995
Native Place : Carenero
Country : Panama
Place of Vision : Panama

The Guaymi language was difficult to learn and Efraim spared no efforts to learn it. He used to offer five cents to anyone willing to teach him a new word. He slowly constructed a written form of the local language.

He believed that God’s Love can truly be experienced when people can read the Bible in their own language. Hence he translated two gospels of the New Testament into Guaymi.

Although the translation work was slow and painstaking, Efraim became determined to continue it. He understood that to perfectly translate the Bible, he need to read the original Greek scriptures.

Hence after spending some time in Jamaica to perfect his Greek he returned to the Guaymi tribes and translated several books of the Bible into the local language. He also published a hymn book and a grammar book which became an essential instrument for the later missionaries.

Efraim Alphonse ministry in Panama

Despite his serious heart ailments and several hospitalizations, Efraim never stopped working for the Guyami tribes. Apart from translation ministry, he efficiently managed five schools and lovingly shepherded the local churches. He also toured Europe emphasizing the need of the church to look beyond its ornamental constructions and reach the ignorant people.

After a fruitful ministry of around 70 years Efraim Alphonse, a missionary who was a writer, a poet, and a linguist, went to be with the Lord at the ripe old age of 99.

Beloved, is your heart not stirred up when you know that many people yet have not tasted God’s love?

Take away from the article

Lord, increase my faith and zeal that I may more earnestly desire the salvation of all people. Amen!

Word of Prayer

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