By Katie Kuykendall
Several days into the Urbana conference, T.C. Barrs, a maintenance technician assistant at Wycliffe USA and a Wycliffe recruiter at Urbana, was working alongside the other recruiters in the exhibitor booth. The recruiters were introducing students to the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project (BPPP)—an opportunity to pray for a people group waiting for a Scripture translation in their language. Twelve containers of prayer cards were displayed in the booth, representing twelve of the people groups in the world that need prayer.
David, a student at the conference, was studying the prayer cards when T.C. greeted him and began sharing about BPPP.
“I see all these people without Bibles,” David said. “But I want to pray for my language because my language doesn’t have a Bible.”
T.C. was speechless.
David continued, telling T.C. that he came to the United States from the Congo on a student visa, studying to be a computer engineer with the hope of using his degree for a mission organization. His family still lives in the Congo. David learned English at a young age—one of the eight languages he now speaks—but his family is still unable to read God’s Word for themselves.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget what he told me,” T.C. said. “I’ve been here [with Wycliffe] for five years, being told that people need Bibles in other languages, but this put a face to it—a face I’ll never forget.”
T.C. and some of the other recruiters told David about several Wycliffe linguists who had started out as engineering majors and found it to be an easy transition into Bible translation. T.C. watched as David’s face lit up when he realized he could be the person to translate the Bible for his family.
“To see the hunger he had to get the Bible into his language—not for him but for his parents—I don’t think I’ll ever be the same,” T.C. said.
Though T.C. has always felt like he was at Wycliffe for a reason, hearing David’s story completely changed his perspective about his work.
“I really want to do as much as I can to get Bibles to people like him [David], no matter what I’m doing,” he said. “Even if I’m here doing maintenance…it has changed how I do my job. This is where God has me. Until God moves me, this is what I’m doing because I know that in some way what I’m doing is helping translation work in other countries. It has definitely put more of a burden on my heart to do my job and see Bible translation move.”