By Elizabeth Wilson, short-term trip coordinator for Wycliffe USA
This week I have the privilege of representing Wycliffe at Liberty University’s semi-annual Global Focus Week. As I walk through DeMoss Hall, I’m drawn to the vivid pictures of people from other countries, pieces of bright ethnic fabric, and statistics of how many people haven’t yet heard the Gospel.
There, I heard that more than two thousand* people groups did not have access to God’s Word in their language, and I began to ask God how I could be involved in His mission around the world. I wanted to go overseas as soon as possible, but my elementary education degree required four more years of school.
I thought about a quote from Jim Elliot, a missionary who was killed in South America in the mid-50s. “Wherever you are, be all there,” he had said.
I joined an Indian graduate student association group at my school so that I could be around people who were different from me. To my surprise, I made close Indian friends who taught me their language and culture and helped prepare me to interact with a variety of religious backgrounds once I arrived in India, down the road.
I also volunteered at my church’s ESL (English as a Second Language) program during the school year, and I interned with a missions group in Southall, London, during summer breaks. All the while, God was confirming my desire to work with people in India.
When I heard about someone who was translating Bible stories for oral and nomadic people groups in North India, I eventually got connected to Wycliffe Bible Translators, where I have been serving for the last ten years.
I started out in South Asia, translating stories from Scripture for a people group tucked away in the Himalayan Mountains (see the video below). It was a dream come true to watch God’s Word reach people who had never had it in their language. After three years there, I started speaking at colleges, and then served as a story-translator consultant for different regions.
Today I coordinate short-term trips (called “Discovery trips”) so that others can get a glimpse of God’s Work through Bible translation around the world. I continue to ask for God’s help to be “all there” no matter where I live, or what I do.
Looking back, I believe that my college years were the primer for my life’s engine to take off. The energy and passion I had were not wasted, and those experiences have had significant impact on who I have become and what I am doing now.
My advice to college students considering a life of following God, whether or not that includes overseas work, is to invest deeply in exploring avenues and adventures around you. From short-term trips, to summer internships, to local church outreach, to praying for Bibleless people groups—get involved. Do it now. And while you’re at it, give it your all.
“You will never regret your choice (to serve God). It is wonderful to be free to pour out all, every drop of one’s life; and that is what you have done and are doing. No, you will never regret it, never.” —Amy Carmichael (missionary to India)
*Today the number has dropped below two thousand! Learn more here.
Telling Stories in South Asia
Spend a day with Elizabeth as she helps South Asian Christians translate Bible stories into their own languages in this video: