Archive for April, 2012

Not Just a Book

Not Just a Book

By Matt Petersen, Wycliffe USA senior editor

“This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth…” Colossians 1:6 (NLT)

Whether we read it or not, you and I have easy access to the Bible in our language. If you do read it, the messages of Scripture likely play an important role in your life, guiding your moral choices and leading you towards God.

But did you know that today, about 350 million people around the world have never had any Scripture in their language? While some of these people are Christians like you and me, struggling to unlock the truths of God’s Word in a language that’s not their own, others live without knowledge of Christ at all.

These 350 million people represent more than two thousand of the world’s languages that don’t have any clear path to God in their language. Wycliffe Bible Translators is here to serve these languages, because everyone deserves to have access to God’s Word. Our mission is to see a Bible translation project started in every language that needs it by the year 2025 . That’s a tall order, but a need this urgent calls for a powerful response.

Although Wycliffe specializes in Bible translation and linguistics, this work is about so much more than just putting words on a page—it’s about removing the language barrier between Christ and those He came to save. Once the message of the Gospel is able to penetrate a person’s heart, it brings total life transformation .

We often think of salvation as the opportunity to join God in Heaven when we die, but the Gospel brings dramatic change on earth, too. This is what total life transformation is all about. Christ modeled this for us when He came to earth offering not only eternal life, but also healing from physical ailments, freedom from oppressive legalism, and restitution of human relationships. He brought hope.

Modeling Christ’s ministry, Wycliffe’s efforts provide more than translated Scriptures alone. Services also include biblically-based resources that bring healing from trauma, prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, and impart good health practices.

Wycliffe is also able to provide literacy training that not only ensures access to the Word of God, but also provides a valuable skill that helps people improve their lives economically and socially.

By documenting and studying a language, translation efforts help ensure the preservation of minority languages and cultures, reinforcing their intrinsic value and strengthening communities.

Wycliffe also works in partnership with many other organizations. For example, ministry partners like The JESUS Film Project and Faith Comes By Hearing rely on Scripture translation for their productions. Through relationships like these and many others, the impact of a Bible translation spreads, ensuring that God’s Word takes root in people’s lives.

Together we’ve made remarkable strides, but much remains to be done . So many efforts depend on the work of Bible translation; so many people wait for the transformation only God’s Word can bring. After all, it’s much more than a book—it’s a relationship.

Want to learn more about Wycliffe ? Check out our Facebook page , or follow us on Twitter  for all the up-to-date information about our work around the world.

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A word from SIL International  Executive Director Fredrick A. Boswell

Outside a bookshop in Fundong, Cameroon, a school supervisor who trains teachers and develops curriculum was greeted by a young boy. The supervisor asked, “Do you attend school?”

“Yes sir, I am in class three,” the boy replied.

“Can you read?” the supervisor asked.

The boy answered confidently, “Yes, I can read in Kom and in English.”

Now quite impressed with this young student, the supervisor asked, “Can you also write, or can you only read?”

“I can read and write,” the boy said.

The supervisor bought a piece of chalk from the nearby bookshop and wrote two sentences in Kom and two in English on the cemented veranda—the boy read all four sentences. Then he handed the chalk to the boy, who wrote the two long sentences in Kom and two in English. A growing crowd—witnessing the difference that local-language education can make—began to applaud. Among those in the crowd was the boy’s mother, her eyes brimming with tears of joy and pride.

Why was the crowd surprised? Education is usually conducted in English, a language that Kom children encounter for the first time when they begin school. Therefore, most young students struggle with the basics of reading and writing, rarely achieving any level of fluency before Grade 5. This boy, however, attends a Kom local-language school which is part of an ongoing SIL Longitudinal Studies Project.

When students receive instruction first in the language they know best, the difference can be dramatic—even young students become fluent readers of their first language, which becomes a bridge to fluency in the language of wider communication.

During this past year, SIL has worked alongside hundreds of communities as they produced materials and implemented plans for multilingual education and literacy.* Language revitalization efforts such as these allow the local language to continue to serve a community’s changing needs and provide a bridge for reaching broader multilingual goals.

In many parts of the world, literacy is seen as the foundation for all sustainable community development because it promotes education and reduces poverty. Literacy can be essential for so many reasons, but the most valuable reason is the opportunity to read the translated Word of God in the language that speaks to your heart, helping make it possible to begin to build a relationship with the Creator and Savior.

Click here for more information about Wycliffe’s language and literacy work, including ways you can contribute. You can also read more about SIL’s literacy programs here.

*Click here to read about SIL International’s service opportunities that have directly benefitted language communities around the world this past year.


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An article by Connie Neumann and Jessica Whitmore of Wycliffe Global Alliance

Wycliffe Global Alliance features more stories like this one on its website at http://www.wycliffe.net/stories/tabid/67/language/en-US/Default.aspx. Lise Nielsen

More and more people from Africa, Asia and Latin America are joining the workforce of Bible translation, while the involvement of people from many countries in the West has declined, according to Kirk Franklin, executive director for the Wycliffe Global Alliance. This reflects a general trend in participation in mission endeavors worldwide.

In Europe this trend, coupled with large influxes of migrants into Europe, has left some with questions about missions. Why send people to foreign countries, when missions has arrived on their doorstep? And, could churches in Africa, Asia or elsewhere be better facilitated through funding rather than through people?

Lise Nielsen, the board chair of Wycliffe Denmark, offers an alternative perspective that has been shaped by her own experience. For her it is not about choosing one way or the other.  It’s about recognizing the role of the global Church working together.

“Wycliffe needs people from all countries, cultures and language groups,” said Lise. “It signals that this is really what the Church wants to do. We are all in this together.”

Her passion for participating in God’s global mission has recently extended to applying to be a Wycliffe missionary, herself.

Before she came to this step, God was at work in her, growing her interest in the Bible, languages and cultures.

Read the rest of this article at Wycliffe.net.

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by Nory Grant

“My people need God’s word!” exclaimed Iso.*

Born in a Southeast Asian country strong in the traditional religion, Iso, a speaker of the Masan language, came to know Jesus at the age of twenty-three.

As a professional writer, Iso had a thriving career. Then, like a coconut dropped in his hand by accident, Iso was given a copy of the first draft of the book of Jonah in his mother tongue.

Stunned, his eyes continued to read the translation sentence by sentence. “Oh, this isn’t clear. Changes need to be made,” he thought. Immediately impacted by the importance of reading God’s Word in his own language, Iso wondered, “Can I help with translation? But how?”

Through a friend he learned about Kartidaya, the Indonesian Bible translation organization.

God gave Iso a plan using a vision:

“I saw the people of Masan, especially the Christians, who could not understand the Bible correctly. They sat in church but their lives were not changed. I thought, ‘It is very important for us to translate the Bible into the Masan language.’ I was ‘caught’ by God. ‘Here I am,’ I said.”

Iso joined the Masan translation project and began translating the book of Jonah. He was asked, “Why Jonah?” He quickly replied, “Short book!”

While translating, Iso related to Jonah. “Sometimes I have an attitude like Jonah. I want to escape from many things, especially when God speaks. I never thought about others much as I was attending to myself. I am thankful to Paseban (a Masan evangelization organization) and the discipleship program. I am growing in my faith. I am learning to love others.

“I still have ambitions about writing, but I believe God trusts me to write for Him. God gave me a talent and there are more things to share in the Masan language, including the real thing, the Bible. I want to help reach and teach the uneducated and many others. I want to help my people.

“A Bible verse I like the most is Genesis 1:3: ‘And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light.’ The life I have is not to be hidden. I have to share with other Masan people. What is my challenge and prayer? To keep looking to Jesus and not be discouraged. To trust God. I am praying that God’s light will come to many Masan people that they too will be caught by God.”


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cessnaYesterday Wycliffe’s ministry partner, JAARS, sent a Cessna Stationair 207 aircraft on a five-day journey to its new home in Cameroon, located in central Africa. Pilots Bruce Powell and Tom Beekman are flying an average of eight to ten hours of flight time each day, making stops in Newfoundland, the Azores, and North Africa. They are scheduled to arrive in Yaounde, Cameroon, on April 22.

Click here to follow the trip with real-time GPS tracking!

JAARS acquired the Cessna at a reduced price and then had it retro-fitted withSoloy conversion/turbine engine kit. The plane was supposed to leave for Cameroon last fall, but it was first delayed by engine problems and then pilots had to wait for the right weather conditions to cross the Atlantic.

This Cessna is part of JAARS’s plan to replace its current fleet around the world with planes that run on jet fuel instead of aviation gas (avgas). Avgas can cost over twenty dollars a gallon and is no longer readily available around the world. So JAARS has to ship the avgas overseas for pilots to be able to fly missionaries and other passengers in and out of remote locations.

Many people donated money for the plane, including 93-year-old Glen from California who, as a dying wish, really wanted to see the plane deployed. He gave a large gift to complete the purchase and then several annuity gifts to help upgrade the engine.

In just a few days, this little red and white Cessna will begin its new work carrying Bible translators around Cameroon and neighboring countries so that other language groups can have God’s Word in a language and form they can clearly understand.

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Forgive My Enemies

One week before the dedication of the Gospel of Luke, three hundred homes in the village of Bambalang, Cameroon, were burned by a neighboring village. But hearing Scripture in their own language has brought comfort and forgiveness.

The story of Bambalang was originally featured in Wycliffe’s FrontLines newsletter. To read the current issue of Frontlines or to sign up for future issues, visit www.wycliffe.org/frontlines.aspx

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Photo by Benjamin Myers

The stark contrast of rich and poor in Manila, Philippines, is magnified here along the Pasig River. This nation of over 7,000 islands is home to nearly 100 million people and 171 living languages. Sixty-eight of those languages still have no Scripture. At least twenty-two New Testament projects are currently underway, so please pray for the people of the Philippines and the translation teams taking on the task of reaching these Bibleless people groups.

Click here to read up-to-date prayer requests from the Philippines.

Click here for several amazing stories about God’s work in the Philippines, told by Wycliffe Global Alliance .

Find this and other awe-inspiring photos and information at Monsoon Messenger

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