Archive for August, 2011

Ready To Lead


“I feel as though I’ve spent the day on sacred ground,” said Glenys Sweetman. She’d just listened one-on-one to five Ivorians relate their experiences during months of violence after the disputed elections of late 2010. Each of them recounted very sobering stories, yet each affirmed that God had amazingly and mercifully protected them.

During those difficult days, Bita Tra Didier led the SIL* staff, and since then he has been appointed director of SIL Cote d’Ivoire. God has carefully prepared Didier, whose mother tongue is Kouya, for this position. Languages have always been Didier’s passion. By the time he was a teenager, he was composing poems and songs in his own language and also in French and English. But there was no alphabet that fit his Kouya language, so writing down his songs was hard. No alphabet…and no Scriptures. When the Scriptures were read in church, they were read in French, Gouro and Baoule—but not in Kouya!

That all began to change when Wycliffe UK members Eddie** and Sue*** Arthur came to his village and began working with the Kouya people to develop an alphabet and translate the Bible. Didier was delighted!

During the next few years, Didier earned a Master’s degree in English and African civilization while also working on the Kouya translation with the Arthurs. At first his relationship to the Word was largely intellectual, but as he and Sue searched out the meaning of each passage of Scripture and grappled with the best way to express it in Kouya, he began to think further about his own relationship to God.

One day he translated John 5:44: “You gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.” Suddenly he realized that these words of Jesus applied to him! Today he says, “I can say that I really met the Lord while reading John 5:44 in Kouya. I remember that I cried that day, because before then I had always been trying to please people. I owe John 5:44 everything I am today, and I am thankful to the Lord that he spoke to me through that particular verse.”

As he matured in Christ, Didier’s passion for languages became a passion for people and for the translated Word. He spent seven years as the director for another organization, developing Bible resources, building a network of contacts, and gaining administrative skills. Now, having returned to SIL, he works with his staff to support a cluster project and six other translation projects, while together they explore partnerships with other Ivorian language groups who have requested technical help.

There are potentially 30 remaining translation needs in Cote d’Ivoire and several projects which need to be restarted. These projects had been disrupted due to the civil war. Africa has huge needs—for Bible translation and for trauma healing and other programs based on the translated Word—but the growing number of Africans with a passion for Bible translation, both in SIL and in partnering organizations, bodes very well for the future of Vision 2025—to see a Bible translation in progress in every language needing it by 2025.

Please pray for these leaders, and especially for Didier and his colleagues, that God would protect them from physical and spiritual dangers and guide them as they bring the Word of God to their Ivorian countrymen who still wait to understand His Eternal Word.

*SIL is a partner organization of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA
**Eddie Arthur is currently the Executive Director of Wycliffe UK
***Sue Arthur is a translation consultant with The Wycliffe Seed Company


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Photo by Elyse Patten

Celebration makes the world go round. The people of this village on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu have been preparing for this day for months, even years. Collecting fruit and coconuts, harvesting root vegetables, buying fabric and rice, crushing and roasting taro, plucking chickens, fattening a cow and catching these giant fish on a small ocean canoe. But its worth it. For friends and relatives have traveled over land and sea for the celebration. You may think that 10 years is a long time to spend translating the Bible with a people group like this one on Tanna. But all that work is just preparation for a huge eternal celebration. And its worth it.

Editor’s Note: This photo was submitted by email from Elyse Patten who is a photojournalist for the Monsoon division of the Wycliffe Global Alliance.

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Giant of Bible Translation Dies


Dr. Eugene Nida, the giant of Bible translation in the twentieth century, died in Madrid on August 25. He was 96.

Using concepts from linguistics, cultural studies, communication sciences and psychology, Nida developed a practical approach to translation he called dynamic equivalence or functional equivalence, the goal of which was to make the translation clear and understandable as well as accurate. He also influenced the emerging field of modern translation studies and is generally acknowledged as having set in motion the developments that led to that discipline. Through his numerous books and publications and extraordinary lecture schedule, he was able to help scholars, translators and specialists in Christian missions find new ways to think about effective communication.

Read more: http://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/news/794-eugene-nida-dies/

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I Believe In Scripture

Scripture is God breathed…now these Words are in our hands…I believe in Scripture.

I Believe in Scripture Poem- David Bowden from NORTHchurch on Vimeo.

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We thought we’d share with you a thank you card we received recently from one of our visitors to the Wycliffe Discovery Center.

Artwork by Allicus VandeBrake

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There are approximately 400 different Sign Languages in the world that need the Bible and one organization that specializes in providing Deaf people opportunities to serve and receive training will join Wycliffe as it’s newest partner organization. Deaf Opportunity OutReach International (DOOR) which was incorporated in 1999, recently announced the organization’s partnership with Wycliffe to serve together more closely in training Deaf believers to translate the Bible into sign languages.

Jim Dowsett will be Wycliffe USA's first worker assigned to DOOR

In October DOOR will accept its first full-time worker assigned directly from Wycliffe. Jim Dowsett and his wife, Carol, of Dallas, Texas have served with Wycliffe for nearly 20 years. Dowsett, who is ‘hard-of-hearing,’ provides consultant help to Deaf sign language teams from Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and India. He also assists DOOR’s American Sign Language project.

Mike Buus, President of DOOR states, “Our partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators has been critical in equipping DOOR to learn how to train teams of Deaf people to translate parts of God’s Word into their own language. Wycliffe has more than 70 years experience translating the Bible into over 2,500 spoken languages all over the world. Through Wycliffe we are learning the critical aspects of careful consideration of syntax, grammar, and thorough exegesis to produce translation in sign languages that are accurate and communicate clearly.”

Editor’s Note: For more information on DOOR please visit their web site. To read more about Jim Dowsett’s work with DOOR please visit The Word in Hand web site.

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Catherine Rivard in Papua New Guinea

By Catherine Rivard

Time zones are strange things. I arrived in Papua New Guinea on Sunday, August 14, 2011, but for my US readers it was sometime on the Saturday…which never really existed for me. I’m typing this in my dorm room listening to night crickets and the coming of evening rain; dark has fallen here (which happens quickly on the equator, perhaps 6:30), but for many of you, it is extremely early in the morning…

Regardless how it is explained (I vaguely remember something with an orange and flashlight), here we are, some sleeping and some wide awake, yet blessed us with technology that those odd constraints of time are obliterated with the click of a mouse. (Speaking of which, internet is an exciting luxury that we have, but as such, it is often finicky, slow, and inconsistent, so I appreciate your patience and understanding as I learn to navigate a new system.)

I am settling into life here at POC (the Pacific Orientation Course) in Madang, PNG. We are situated at the top of Nobnob mountain, overlooking Madang and the Pacific Ocean. There are about twenty-two students and another thirteen expat staff members (as well as quite a few children), hailing from as far as Finland, Brasil, Australia, Germany, US, and Romania. The purpose of the course is to teach us the skills we need to interact comfortably in the Melanesian culture here in PNG, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. This includes studying Tok Pisin (a widespread language of PNG), learning basic village living skills (such as dehydrating food, building a hous kuk, treating malaria etc.), acclimating physically (through conditioning training such as hikes and swims), and discovering Melanesian anthropology. The students are from a variety of organizations and will be proceeding to a variety of jobs after POC has finished; translators, like myself, are actually in the minority compared to the support staff positions.

What’s it like to be here? I hope to show you over the next weeks as best I can through stories, pictures and, if I get savvy enough, perhaps even a video. At the moment though, it simply feels rather surreal. The landscape is like nothing I’ve ever experienced—mountains upon mountains of tropical rainforest, flowers blooming everywhere, a guava tree growing right outside my door, birds with songs I’ve never heard before (and then familiar ones…like the mountain roosters that start crowing at 3 am and sound like a pack of coyotes). Roofs are thatched with palm leaves and solar panels provide electricity. I sleep under a mosquito net and take showers with a bucket (which is far more water than you think).

Am I really here? I wonder. Could I actually be dreaming?

But…I suppose that would depend on the timezone that I’m in. 🙂

Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

Editor’s Note: Catherine Rivard recently began her ministry in Papua New Guinea. If you’d like to support a missionary like Catherine, please visit: www.wycliffe.org. To read more on Catherine’s adventures in Papua New Guinea – visit her blog.

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