Logsdon News

Logsdon Student Uses Gift of Translation to Serve Others


Javier Vargas with the translated book “White Witch Doctor”

At Logsdon Seminary, students learn to use their talents for the glory of God. Logsdon MAFM/CCMF student, Javier Vargas, has many gifts, but he chose to use one when no one else would. Originally from Colombia, Vargas translated the book White Witch Doctor from English to Spanish.

In the book, Dr. Daniel I. Gruver shares memories and stories of his fifty years of medical missions with the indigenous Kuna people in Panama. Dr. Gruver passed away before he was able to translate the book to Spanish. His son, Daniel Marcus Gruver, reached out to multiple groups and individuals to translate the book, but none completed the project.

“One look at the medical and indigenous Kuna terms and it would be put to the side and forgotten,” said Gruver.

Not only did Vargas take on the challenge with enthusiasm, but he also volunteered his time and effort for free. He took the time to look up the medical and cultural meanings of various words to come up with the most accurate translation.

Javier Vargas with Dr. Daniel Marcus Gruver and Jane Gruver

“Over the next eight to nine months Javier won over our hearts with his commitment and dedication,” said Gruver. “With prayer and hard work, he was able to very accurately portray the true heart of a missionary.”

Gruver expressed deep gratitude for Javier’s selfless efforts as he prepared to deliver Spanish copies of the books to the Kuna people.

“The people that I grew up with in Panama and that worked an served with my father, those that he healed and lives he saved can now have a copy of the book they have been asking for in Spanish,” he said.

When asked what prompted Vargas’ act of service, he said that God had granted him a heart of compassion and the desire to serve with the abilities God had given him. When the responsibilities of school, his job, his family, and translating became stressful, Vargas remembered why he decided to translate the book in the first place.

Daniel Gruver with people from the Kuna community

“An image came to my mind, and it was a person from the indigenous community reading it to their community in a language they could understand. And that made me keep going,” he said. “As Dr. Gruver, brought physical and spiritual healing to a community that he and his wife did not know before, we as students can carry in our backpack our desires to serve others in the unique time we have, today.”

Vargas is in the second year of Logsdon’s dual degree in Master of Arts in Family Ministry and Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling & Marriage and Family Therapy. He will graduate in May 2021. After graduation, he plans to serve in an organization that works with senior adults.

“I would like to explore more about adult development and contribute to those inspirational people in their stages of life,” he said. “It is enough to have them close, listen to them and have gratitude for the wonderful work of God in each one of them. Honoring them is also a way of honoring the memory of my father, who had made plans to visit his granddaughters here in the States, but due to health issues, he passed away a few years ago.”

The English Version of White Witch Doctor

Javier also hopes to continue translating materials into Spanish for the Latino community and writing original works of his own.

“Today I look at my hands, and I remember that I still have them to continue blessing others, just as this nation has done to me,” he said.

When translating White Witch Doctor, Javier reflected, “You do not write for yourself, knowing that one day you will not be able to read it; you write so that others can go through your writings and see the world that you went through yesterday.”

Javier’s Spanish translation, El Encantador Doctor Blanco, is available here, and the original English version can be purchased here.