Archive for October, 2012

Al Williams, a pilot in the Philippines, tells why people filling support roles such as accounting, teaching, and mechanics are critical to Bible translation.


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By Catherine Rivard (Catherine is a translator working in Papua New Guinea.)

How do I pray? How do I know God hears me? What do I say?

Cross-legged on the veranda, I leaned against the cinderblock of our classroom. Our flashlight beams cast more shadows than light, and the other women sitting with me were only glimmers of teeth and eyes. Toddlers crawled into their mother’s laps as incense from the smouldering mosquito repellent coil drifted upward. Please, they asked again, how do we pray?

I was serving on staff at a month-long literacy course held in Saidor village, Papua New Guinea, where twenty-one participants from eight local languages were learning a variety of skills, including curriculum development, storytelling, leadership, disease prevention, and Bible study methods. One night after devotions, several of the women approached me. They nudged each other shyly until Betty stepped forward, her voice soft. “We have questions. Would … would you help us?”

I smiled. “Let’s sit down together.” Excited grins darted across their faces as they snatched up their bilums (string bags) and hustled me out of the classroom.

“She’s here to answer our questions!” Lillian announced. Tossing aside the typical pleasantries,  the five women immediately pulled out scribbled lists and began eagerly firing questions.

How do I get the Holy Spirit and where does He reside? Explain baptism. What does it mean when Jesus said, “It is finished”? What is the kingdom of God? Why do bad things happen in my life? If I try to follow God and fail, will God still punish me? Did the stories in the Bible really happen? How do I memorize Scripture? How do I share about God with others?  

Every night for a week, I pulled out my Bible and prayed fervently for wisdom and the language ability to respond to their hunger. Without God’s Word in their own languages, Jesus had always sounded like an unintelligible foreigner shouting through a pillow, far removed from their own lives and desperate questions.

Later, Betty touched my arm and asked, “I know that it costs thousands of kina* to attend a course like this. So how is it that I’m able to come? Who paid my school fee?”

“Many churches and people in our home countries have sent money to help pay your school fee for this course,” I explained. “They believe it’s important for you and your community to be able to worship God in your own language.”

She grasped my hand with both of hers, her eyes wide and sparkling. “Please, please thank them for me!” Laughter burst from her, and she couldn’t stop grinning. “This course has helped me so much!”

*The currency in Papua New Guinea

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By Katie Kuykendall

“And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, ‘Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.’ So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them” (Nehemiah 8:11-12, NLT).

On Friday morning, Wycliffe USA in Orlando was bursting with the sounds of shouts, cheers, drums, tambourines, and more as hundreds gathered together to make a joyful noise to the Lord.

A crowd of people waved colorful flags, handkerchiefs, and balloons as they paraded into the large auditorium full of Wycliffe staff, family, and friends ready to celebrate. At the front of the procession, several people carried a hand-carved and decorated wooden box full of Scripture translations.

These books represent twenty-five language groups all over the world that now have God’s Word. They also serve as a reminder of all that God has done to bless Bible translation work in the past year. We are one step closer to seeing Wycliffe’s vision become a reality—that Scripture would be accessible to all people in the language of their heart.

“When you think about Wycliffe Bible Translators, I want you to start thinking about the number zero—zero unreached people groups; zero Bible translation needs,” said Bob Creson, president of Wycliffe USA. “Did you know that in our lifetime, that’s a possibility?  We’re the first generation that can say that with a lot of certainty. It is right in front of us.”

Today there are more people with access to God’s Word than ever before in history. They now have the chance to engage with Scripture so that God can change their hearts and transform their lives.

“This God of the universe reached down, the Word became flesh, and He moved into our village,” Bob said. “He spoke the language of our heart. We got to hear this Good News message in a language that we relate to best. And now this Word—this Jesus—is going door-to-door in village after village. He’s knocking on doors and He’s calling out to people in a language they can relate to best.”

We were grateful for the chance to spend a morning celebrating with those communities of the world that now have God’s Word in their own language.

Now you can join us in praying for the remaining Bibleless people groups through a new series on our PrayToday blog. “Your Prayers, His Word, Their Hope” is a series celebrating thirty years of the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project, with daily prayer prompts focused on the people groups still waiting for God’s Word in their language. Click here to participate in this exciting series!

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2012 Solomon Islands Team

This summer, Wycliffe sent several teams around the world to get a taste of Bible translation and cross-cultural ministry. Many of these students were featured in their local newspapers. Click on the “Read More” links below to read the full newspaper articles and visit www.wycliffenextgen.com to learn how you or someone you know can join us on one of our next trips!

Knoxville’s Neubert helps translate the Bible in Guatemala

From The Register-Mail, Knoxville, IL

“I think that God made humans in his image, and he made all kinds of different humans and careers and lifestyles,” Neubert said. “And seeing the big picture of all the people in the world is like seeing little glimpses of what God really is.” Read more

Translating the Bible in Papua New Guinea

From the Cleveland Daily Banner, Bel Air, MD

[Danielle] said some verses were difficult to translate because there are words in English that do not exist in the Mangseng language. One example is a verse in Psalm 1 that uses the phrase “and its leaves do not wither.” In Lavege, the trees do not wither; they just turn yellow when they die. Since there is no Mangseng word to describe withering, the translated verse will say “its leaves do not turn yellow.” Read more

Student heading for New Guinea with Bible translation group

From the Athens Banner-Herald, Athens, GA

Even with all the unknowns, or maybe because of them, Gettemy said she’s excited in general about the trip, which she says combines her two loves — her Christian faith and linguistics. Read more

Norman woman shares her faith on mission trip to Guatemala

From The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK

“Now I have a better understand[ing] of why it takes years to translate the New

Testament into another language,” [Milarosa] said. Read more

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Forrest Flaniken

Forrest Flaniken, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Wycliffe USA

By Russ Hersman

Last Wednesday, our friend and colleague, Forrest Flaniken, shared his testimony with the staff here at the Wycliffe USA office in Orlando. He opened with Psalm 118:24—“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

In a tragic turn of events, while out riding his bicycle in east Orlando Sunday afternoon, Forrest was hit and killed by a car.

Today, as I ponder Forrest’s death and God’s sovereignty, I’m comforted by that fact that this, too, is a day He has made, and I rejoice in what God has done through Forrest’s life.

Forrest was a valued member of our Wycliffe family for nearly twenty-two years. He and his wife, Kristen, have served with Wycliffe since 1992, when they took an assignment in Huntington Beach, California, at what was then our headquarters for Wycliffe USA.

Forrest with his wife, Kristen

Forrest with his wife, Kristen

In 1999, Forrest assumed the responsibility of vice president of operations for Wycliffe USA and played a key role in the design and development of our new headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

Outside of Wycliffe, Forrest was active in his local church—University Presbyterian—and was an adjunct professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Orlando campus, holding a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Central Florida.

Forrest and Kristen at a Florida Gators football game

Forrest and Kristen at a Florida Gators football game

Forrest also coached little league baseball for thirteen years, became an accomplished pianist, enjoyed clogging, and was a passionate Florida Gator.

Forest after a sprint triathlon

Forrest after a sprint triathlon

In the past few years, Forrest had also become an avid sprint triathlete. Tragically, it was while he was out riding his bicycle Sunday afternoon that he was struck by a car and died.

Please keep Kristen, their three sons—Forrest III (known as Chipper), Nelson, and Spencer—and the rest of the family in your prayers as they face this massive loss. Although they can take comfort in the fact that Forrest is with our loving Heavenly Father, I know they are also feeling an incredible hole in their lives right now.




A public memorial service will be held at Aloma Church in Winter Park (1815 State Road 436, Winter Park, Florida 32792) on Saturday, October 20 at 2:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting gifts be made to the Forrest Flaniken Memorial Fund at Wycliffe USA. Checks should be made out to “Wycliffe USA” and marked in the memo line for the “Forrest Flaniken Memorial Fund.” Please mail to:

Forrest Flaniken Memorial Fund

Wycliffe Bible Translators

PO Box 628200

Orlando, FL 32862-8200

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By Hannah at Wycliffe UK

“If you are ever inclined to pray for a missionary, do it at once, wherever you are.”

This quote is from Mary Slessor, a Scottish missionary to Nigeria about 100 years ago. Slessor’s quote wasn’t an isolated one: requests for prayer have been on the mouths of Christian workers overseas through the centuries, especially where those individuals faced loneliness, spiritual attack, illness, frustration, and all the other extremes of the missionary life.

But what if you aren’t sure what to pray? Sometimes, prayers for missionaries can be little more than a ‘God, please bless that worker.’ Is God able to bless the worker? Of course! But a prayer like that doesn’t really reflect an informed desire to see the worker bear fruit for God’s kingdom.

If you are in this situation— moved and wanting to pray for a missionary but not sure how to start— we have just the thing for you. Praying for Missionaries is a booklet to equip you for prayer, by taking you step-by-step through the Lord’s Prayer. For each petition, you’ll find thoughts about how that prayer can be shaped with a mission worker in mind.

The booklet is written by Eddie Arthur, the UK director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, so the advice comes from a missionary responsible for other missionaries. You can download the booklet as a PDF from our [Wycliffe UK] website. (If you’d rather have it for Kindle, have a look at Eddie’s blog for the link.)

Samuel Zwemer, who worked in Bahrain and Egypt at the start of the 20th century, said that, ‘The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.’ You can be part of that God-made history, by joining with mission work through prayer.

Find out about more ways to pray with Wycliffe.

This post was originally featured on the Wycliffe UK blog.

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Just a few years ago a nomadic shepherd community in Asia was dead-set against girls learning to read and write. They feared that girls would write illicit love letters to boys, ruin their lives, and bring dishonor upon their families.

Thankfully some courageous community members saw the injustice and stepped up to put an end to this damaging traditional view. They began by using mother-tongue curriculum to teach their own daughters and nieces.

Today there are twenty-five “mobile school” literacy centers in the area, and the majority of the students are nomadic shepherd girls. Some of the girls are reading through the Gospel of Luke in their own language. Now no shepherd wants his daughters left behind, spurned as potential brides because they cannot read and write. Literacy has brought honor and new horizons to these girls and their families!

Pray that the demand for literature continues to grow, and that translation continues in order to meet that demand. Pray that those who read will understand and believe. Praise God that this community has drastically changed its opinion about the need for literacy, creating opportunities for more people to encounter God’s Word in their language!

Photo is representative of the people in this story and may not be the actual group involved.

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