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Archive for June, 2012

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In his book “The Fire of the Word,” Chris Webb tells the story of a young man named Francesco Bernardone who went to a small church to hear mass celebrated. As the service ended, Francesco approached the priest quietly explaining that he had not understood the Gospel reading done in Latin. Would the priest kindly read it again?

The cleric obliged…line by line…this time translating Jesus’ words filled with faith, hope, love and charity, and a call to heed the Gospel message: “The Kingdom of heaven has come near!” As he listened and understood the words, Francesco’s heart began to race. Hearing the calling of the Spirit on his own life, he exclaimed, “This is what I want!”

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Wycliffe Bible Translators’ first-ever Bible quiz game, In Other Words, was a huge success. We had a remarkable response, and more than 29,383 people played! We’re extremely grateful to the donor who provided the money for the game as a way to introduce more people to Wycliffe and Bible translation.

We gave away dozens of prizes and are thrilled to announce the top winners!

  • Grand Prize Winner: Marcia G., Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Top Recruiter: Cynthia G., Louisville, Kentucky
  • Bible Quiz Master: Win S., Lawrenceville, Georgia

Many players have told us how much they appreciated the encouragement they received from God’s Word and what they learned about Wycliffe.

“I am growing everyday with the Word of God in my heart!”  —Edward A.

“I am loving In Other Words, and being a great part in translating the Bible in other languages so all can be saved in Christ. Thanks so much.” —Ruth M.

“Thanks also to the entire Wycliffe team for bringing something like this to the Christian community. I wish you all much success and pray that this tool will be a great benefit in spreading the Gospel.” —Tracy R.

And this one from Kingston, Jamaica:

“Hi Wycliffe Bible Translators, I must say this is really a great way of learning the Bible, and also knowing how to quote Bible verses. I always wanted to know how to quote Bible verses and indeed God has directed me here. I always read the Bible but could not quote Scriptures. I am truly grateful and blessed to be a part of your Bible Translators, not just to play the game but I would love to be able to reach others through His Word. May God continue to bless your ministry.” —Denease T.

Thank you to everyone who played In Other Words!

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By Angela Nelson

Mike and Lisa Bartels are teachers, not translators. But both their day job and their side ministry are helping people get Scripture into their lives.

In Davao, the third largest city in the Philippines, the Bartels teach at Faith Academy’s Mindanao campus. Mike teaches social studies and Lisa teaches English and foreign language classes. Faith Academy was founded as a school for missionary children. Without its staff and teachers, many missionaries from Wycliffe and other agencies would not be able to do their jobs.

“We joined Wycliffe because we were really passionate about Bible translation,” Lisa said. “Even though we’re not translators ourselves, we’ve had a really neat opportunity to reach out to the local community with the local Scriptures.”

Mike and Lisa live just a few blocks away from a poor shanty town—temporary structures built on stilts over a large plain that often floods when the river gets high. Many of the children from those homes play near their house, so the Bartels started inviting them to church. The kids really enjoyed church and started asking about Bible verses, so the Bartels decided to start a Scripture Memory Club.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays for six weeks each semester, the Bartels invite the kids over to their house to recite verses in their own language—Cebuano. Then they are awarded useful prizes for their verses. A short verse might be worth two pencils, while a longer passage could earn them a pair of flip flops. There’s usually a grand prize for memorizing a whole chapter, like a school uniform or a pair of school shoes.

Many parents struggle to afford school uniforms and supplies for their children. And without these things the kids might not be allowed to attend school. So not only are the children learning God’s Word through the process, they are also seeing physical needs met.

At least two hundred children have participated in the club, including children from families who practice another major religion who come with their parents’ blessing because they need the school supplies.

As the Words of God make their way into the hearts of children, “We claim the Lord’s promise that His Scripture won’t return void,” Lisa explains.

Wycliffe needs teachers! Learn more here.

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By Matt Petersen, Wycliffe USA senior editor

“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” –Psalm 119:143 (NLT)

“I’m very concerned for your safety right now,” said Abdiel, our host and self-assigned bodyguard during our stay in Guatemala. I glanced at Cyndy who was seated beside me, gingerly cradling her video camera against the jarring of the truck.

“Why are you concerned?” she asked.

“You know those guys who came over to greet us a minute ago, right before we left?” Abdiel questioned. “They were drug traffickers. That’s why we needed to leave so quickly.” Apparently traffickers don’t like Americans on their turf, especially ones carrying cameras.

This wasn’t our first dangerous encounter. Just the day before, we’d visited one of many new home churches. Few people in these villages are able to read. Instead churches gather together and listen to Scripture on a digital audio player called a Proclaimer, which is provided by Faith Comes By Hearing, one of Wycliffe’s partners.

Upon entering the tiny, crowded one-room house where this church meets, I could sense tension as several people began talking excitedly. I didn’t know what they were saying, but something was obviously wrong. The group leader spoke for a couple of minutes and soon everyone settled down, but an uncomfortable feeling remained.

It wasn’t until we had safely left the area that Abdiel was able to explain what had happened. He told us some foreigners had recently stirred up trouble in the village by starting mining operations. When the people saw our white skin, they thought we were associated with the miners. Also, although Abdiel wasn’t aware of it in advance, when we arrived someone told him we had entered the hometown of a powerful drug lord.

We faced other challenges in Guatemala as well. There was the threat of thieves, malaria, dengue fever, parasites, dangerous road conditions, spiritual opposition from traditional religions, and more.

In spite of these concerns, God protected us. Yet I know that Christians aren’t immune to suffering and death. What amazed me was the joy I saw in so many of these Christians in spite of difficult circumstances. Time after time they shared joyful stories about God and His Word at work in their lives.

One interviewee told about a pastor who shepherded his church for sixteen years using a Spanish Bible, since the Word wasn’t yet available in the local language. Unfortunately everyone—including the pastor himself—struggled to understand the Scriptures in Spanish. But when the pastor listened to the Proclaimer and finally heard the message of salvation in a language he could understand clearly, he accepted Christ as his personal savior.

Many people we interviewed shared their joy at being released from an oppressive false religion, others from severe alcohol addiction. All were excited about the freedom that God’s Word has brought.

Working with Wycliffe, I’ve traveled to many places and met many people who have been transformed by the Bible in their heart language. Each time I’ve been impressed by the spiritual and physical hardships many Christians face, but even more so the incredible joy and peace they experience because they rely on the Bible for strength and comfort. These testimonies challenge me to treasure the Scriptures more seriously myself. And like the Christians in Guatemala, I’ve found that through His Word, God brings me joy in the trials.

Translated Scripture changes lives. Don’t underestimate the power of a gift in support of Bible translation.

Have you experienced God’s peace and joy in the midst of trials?

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No one should have to settle for God’s Word in a foreign language. Watch this video to learn how people groups in Kenya are finally experiencing the impact of Scripture in the language of their hearts.

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Four hundred people, eighty nations, and one vision. Last month leaders from all the partners of the Wycliffe Global Alliance met together in Asia for a week of sharing the joys, challenges, plans, and hopes of the ministry of Bible translation in their nations. Here Fajak Avajani, leader of the Episcopal Church of Sudan Translation Department, holds his Tira New Testament while listening to the morning session on missiology. During the closing reflection time for the conference Fajak shared with the whole group.

“I came to this conference with a bleeding heart,” Fajak said. “And I am leaving this conference with a bleeding heart, because my country is bleeding.”

The facilitator called for a time of prayer for Sudan, and many colleagues gathered around in support. Our world is big, and many of its peoples are hurting. The vision to see every language community with access to the Good News is big, and not without difficulties. But if God is for us, who can be against us? We are in this together.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Sudan.
Read more about how prayer played a vital role for Fajak and the Tira New Testament project.

Photo & Words: Elyse Patten

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 (NLT) Do you find power or comfort in this Scripture? Can you remember a time when you depended on God to help you overcome?

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A Taste of the New Wycliffe Cookbook

Wycliffe missionaries who are translating Scripture in remote areas of the world don’t always have access to the same cooking methods and pre-prepared ingredients that are found in the United States. What started years ago as the Jungle Camp Cookbook has now turned into the fifth edition of the Wycliffe Cookbook. For decades, these simple recipes have been helping Wycliffe staff and others around the world cook old and new favorites using basic methods and ingredients.

Here’s a sample of recipes from the cookbook:

Pork Adobo (Philippines) (p. 160)

Brown:

  • 2–4 tablespoons oil or shortening
  • 3–4 cups pork cubes, chicken pieces, or a combination
  • 4 large garlic cloves, cut in fourths

Add and simmer in a covered heavy pot until tender:

  • 1/2 cup vinegar, or more for a more tart flavor
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 whole peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4–1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or more for a less tart flavor
  • 3 cups water

To make gravy, add a little cornstarch and water. Serve over rice.

Jungle Camp Yeast Bread (p. 25)

Combine and set aside until foam rises to top:

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar, honey, or molasses

Add:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup soft shortening, butter, or oil

Combine separately and add:

  • 8 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk powder

When the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board to knead. Knead until smooth and elastic and it doesn’t stick to board. Place in a greased bowl. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free spot 85°F until double (1 1/2–2 hours). Punch down. Let rise again until almost double in bulk (30–45 minutes). Form loaves, rolls, or coffee cake. Cover and let rest 15 minutes. Bake at 425°F for rolls or 375°F for loaves for 30–40 minutes. Makes 3 loaves, 4 dozen plain rolls, 1 large pan of rolls, or 1 coffee cake and 2 dozen plain rolls.

See the cookbook for substitutions and ways to easily turn this recipe into cheese bread, dill bread, jiffy pan rolls, monkey bread, oatmeal bread, and sweet dough!

To order your copy of the cookbook, visit http://www.wycliffe.org/Resources/Shop.aspx

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