Archive for September, 2012

“Deaf people don’t understand things from a hearing person’s perspective.”

Hundreds of signed languages around the world don’t have God’s Word. See how the Bible comes alive for Deaf people in El Salvador when it’s translated into their language for the first time.

Click here to get involved!

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When Pastor Joshua finished the New Testament translation in his language—North Tanna—in 2008, he began traveling around four of the islands in southern Vanuatu to promote Bible translation and encourage other local translators.

He was visiting the translation office in South Tanna one day, when he suddenly realized a ten-year-old girl, named Alice, was at the door. She looked at him and spoke quickly in her mother tongue. But since Pastor Joshua didn’t speak Nafe, he didn’t understand her.

“Can you say it again?” he asked.

Alice relayed her message again. Only this time she tried to speak slower.

“One more time,” Pastor Joshua urged.

Alice complied.

“Can you speak Bislama?” the pastor asked, still unable to catch her meaning.

Alice shook her head. She didn’t know Bislama, the national language of Vanuatu, well enough to speak to this respected man.

“Can you tell me in Whitesands?” he asked, thinking perhaps she knew another neighboring language.

Alice shook her head. Clearly frustrated, tears were forming in her eyes.

When Pastor Joshua saw this, he said, “Ah, let me just come with you.”

The two of them walked out the door of the office and up the hill to Alice’s home. Her mother was seated on the dirt floor in her bamboo-thatch kitchen, holding her arm. In pain, she asked Pastor Joshua to pray for an unknown sickness that had begun to bother her, disturbing her sleep and her ability to work in the garden.

Pastor Joshua did pray for Alice’s mom, and later on she was able to get medicine from the hospital, which has helped.

But the experience struck Pastor Joshua, reminding him of how many people struggle to communicate on these linguistically diverse islands. How could they grasp God’s message of hope if it’s not in a language they can understand?

Fortunately, Alice and her mom won’t have to wait much longer to hear Scripture clearly. If all goes smoothly, the Nafe New Testament will be typeset next spring, and printed by the end of 2013. But these final stages are key times when roadblocks often slow down the translation process.

Please pray for the Nafe translation and for each of the other languages in Vanuatu still waiting for Scripture!

The original version of this story was posted on the Pacific Bible Facebook page on July 27, 2012.

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How can communities know truth and be protected from manipulation and false doctrine?

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By Alan Geiger
Photos by Marc E.

“And you are helping us by praying for us….” —2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT)

When Kimiko was seven or eight years old, her parents introduced her to a Japanese woman who was going to the Philippines as a Bible translator with Wycliffe.

“My dad suggested that all the family had to start praying for the lady,” says Kimiko. It became part of a new tradition for her family. “Every morning we got together and studied the Bible and prayed for missionaries.”

So, in 2005 when Kimiko decided to join Wycliffe herself, she could do it with confidence knowing that she would be supported through prayer.

“The work here [in Japan] was done by foreign missionaries,” says her mother. “We have seen their work and the hardships. They were the ones who helped us grow, so we know the importance of mission work. We know how much it takes to do missionary work in another country, so we needed lots of prayer.”

The Circle of Prayer

Kimiko’s parents met with the director of Wycliffe Japan

who equipped them with information about how they could start an official prayer group. After meeting with the leaders of their church, Kesennuma First Bible Baptist Church, they formed an inorinowa, a prayer circle, to regularly pray for Kimiko.

A small group began meeting at Kimiko’s parents’ house once a month. Using the Wycliffe Japan prayer guide, the prayer circle not only prayed for Kimiko, but also for the requests of other Wycliffe Japan workers serving in countries all over the world.

Their commitment to praying for missions solidified after a Japanese missionary working in a country in Southeast Asia visited their church.

“He challenged us by asking, ‘Would you become a missionary of prayer?’” says Kimiko’s mother. “It really struck me and shocked me to think about how important prayer was.”

The Kesennuma Inoriniwa soon grew. Kikuo Hatakeyama was one of the people who joined the prayer circle. Through her experience with the circle, she has come to understand how prayer can help sustain missionaries through hard times.

“If you go to a different place it can be very, very difficult,” she says. “We really need to pray for those people.”

Read the rest of this story at wycliffe.net.

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By Krisanne, Edited by Angela Nelson

(Krisanne is a literacy specialist who reflects on tough realities for the people she works with in the mountains of Southeast Asia.)

A friend tells me a baby girl has been born today, but that things aren’t right. The infant doesn’t have a nose, and she has six toes on one foot. I ask if we can visit her and if she needs medical care. But my friend says they live way up in the mountains, not very close to us. “So can we go visit her?” I ask again. She looks at me like I am crazy. So I begin to pray.

Lord, protect this little life and be with her family. Lord, can she live, please? Sometimes it feels like there is so much death up here.

The next day I hear a bell ring across the field. I assume it’s just a bell for school, but soon kids come and tell me that someone died—the baby girl. Her family has come down from the mountains and is gathered at a house across the river.

My husband Paul, our son Jonah, and I prepare to go visit the family. I fill a bag with rice and sugar, since it’s customary to give those things, along with money, to help the family of the deceased. We trek across the river and are thankful it’s not flooded. As we arrive at the house, we see the precious baby girl—dead. They want me to look at her; to see all the deformities, and hold her. Phew, Lord, I’m not sure I can hold her. But I do for a moment. She has a nose, but no holes in it. There are six toes on one of her feet, and it seems part of her stomach has come out of her belly button.

I tell the mom that I am so sorry. I say that her daughter is beautiful and that she’s with Jesus and will never know pain again. The mother doesn’t show much emotion, which isn’t uncommon here, but I still ache for her. My language abilities feel so limited. I wish that there were Scripture in her language so that she would know Truth and our Comforter, especially in this dark, tough time.

I stay for a long time, not knowing what else to say, but wanting to be there to support this family. Eventually I go outside where men are working on the casket. Many ask, “Why did this happen? What caused it?” “I don’t know,” I say. It could be something that occurred when the baby was conceived or while she was in the womb. We just don’t know. But I tell them that God is good, and He loves this family and this baby. Sometimes things happen that we don’t understand, but God hopes that in those times, we will draw closer to Him.

Please pray for this family. I don’t think they know Jesus. Pray that we can learn their language well. This is why we’re here—to translate Scripture into the heart language of these dear people and see them understand and engage with the awesome truth of Jesus and the hope that only He brings.

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By Elyse Patten

For many tourists visiting Brazil’s ‘Marvellous City’ this 40 meter high depiction of the Christ is their first port of call. Sitting high on a mountain the colossal statue looks out over the sprawling city of Rio de Janeiro on all sides.

The Brazilian church is growing rapidly, with the evangelical church welcoming approximately 6,500 new believers each day and opening 300 new churches each week! And we haven’t even mentioned the Amazon. The indigenous church is also growing swiftly, and reaching out to those who live further into the rainforest, but there are at least 150 language communities who need a translation of the Bible. Approximately 100 of these groups are still totally unreached.

Please pray for the work of the Church in Brazil!

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We might often take our abilities to read and write for granted. But when you’ve never been given the opportunity to learn how, acquiring those abilities can be life-changing. In this video, Martha Matzke tells the powerful story of a grandmother who can now read Scripture after attending literacy classes.

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