Archive for November, 2012

Photo by David Ringer


By Tim Scott*

An old man watches anxiously as the line forms. Today, many are receiving God’s Word in their heart language. The printed New Testaments had arrived and the day was filled with speeches, dancing, and food. Everyone was happy. But still the man stood alone in the shade, watching the queue, wondering, should he buy this book? The problem was not the money; the problem was that the old man had never gone to school. He had no formal training and had no idea how to read. Was it foolish for him to think that he should have God’s Words in his house?

So he continued to watch and wait. It was like some unseen force was holding him there. Finally, when the line was short and most of the people had left, he quietly took his place in line behind a woman and her child. The child was excited to get the book, for she could read and she had no other books in the house. She looked up at the old man and smiled, “Do you want to read God’s Word too?” she asked. “Yes, yes I do,” he replied with a voice that only hinted at the depth of his desire.

Finally, he bought the book and took it home. Embarrassed that someone might ask him to read it, he hid it in his bag. For the next several years, almost every day, he would go to the garden with his book in his bag. Always wishing he could read, he would open the book, look through it and try to make sense out of the letters on the pages.

What happened next was truly a miracle in the garden…

Watch the video to find out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScaW3w21p0I&feature=plcp

*Tim Scott is the Chief Communications Officer for the Papua New Guinea branch of SIL, Wycliffe’s primary strategic partner.

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By Katie Kuykendall

Looking for ways to get your family or class interested in Bible translation? With these seven unique opportunities that cater to a variety of time commitments and budgets, Wycliffe’s got you covered!


1.      Pray for a Bibleless people group together.

No matter their age, your children can take part in Bible translation by praying for a people group without Scripture in their language. Through our FREE Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project, you and your family will receive e-mails to encourage you as you pray, a printable how-to-pray bookmark, and information about your people group as it becomes available.


2.      Make a treat with a recipe from a Wycliffe missionary.

The Wycliffe Cookbook can be a great tool to support Bible translation while teaching your kids about life in the mission field—and making great memories in the kitchen together! Our cookbook has delicious recipes and fun anecdotes submitted by missionaries. You are sure to find treats and activities the whole family will enjoy like Whimsy Sculpture Bread, Baked Monster Pancakes, or Crispy Critter Cookies, to name a few!



3.      Give a Christmas gift that can transform a life.

This year help your family experience the power of generosity by giving a gift with eternal rewards! The 2012–2013 Wycliffe Gift Catalog is filled with ways you can help bring God’s Word to people still waiting.

Let your kids pick a project that your family can help fund, like creating video Bible stories for Guatemalan children or supporting missionary families.



Explore the world of Bible translation together at the Wycliffe Discovery Center.

Field trip! At the Wycliffe Discovery Center, kids can travel the world and dive into the life of a Bible translator without ever leaving the country. They’ll experience people and cultures they’ve never seen before through interactive games and activities. There’s also a chance to hear exciting stories from a real missionary about doing God’s work around the world.


5.      Teach lessons that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Check out Wycliffe.org for dozens of resources and FREE downloadable curriculum perfect for your family or Sunday school class. Whether it’s a story and coloring book like Angel Tracks in the Snow, or free lessons about prayer and the steps of Bible translation, you’ll find countless ways to teach kids about Bible translation.


6.      Learn about life overseas with a fun game.

Take a trip to MakaziVille. (No passport required!) This fun, FREE computer game from our partners at The Seed Company lets your kids become missionaries in a foreign land. They’ll move into MakaziVille and learn all about living in a different culture while translating the Bible and sharing the Gospel. Check it out and let the fun begin!


Introduce them to The Story of Jesus for Children.

Next time your family is in the mood for a movie night, we suggest The Story of Jesus for Children. Created by The JESUS Film Project, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, this video is the retelling of the true story of Jesus through a child’s eyes. It includes some footage from the original “JESUS”film—which is translated into languages all over the world and shared with people who may never have heard the Gospel before—making it a great way to introduce kids to one of the many kinds of media used in Bible translation.


Interested in resources for students? Click here to see what we have to offer!

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CNN Editor’s Note: John and Bonnie Nystrom are the authors of “Sleeping Coconuts,” the true story of how a devastating tsunami changed the face of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea.

By John Nystrom and Bonnie Nystrom, Special to CNN

(CNN) – As images of the Superstorm Sandy’s devastation have filled our TV screen and computer monitor these last three weeks, our thoughts have often been of friends in Arop, a tiny fishing village in Papua New Guinea.

When it became clear that Hurricane Sandy would hit the Northeast United States hard, our thoughts went back to our friends in Arop, a tiny coastal community that faced an unimaginable tragedy of its own.

In July 1998, earthquakes off the Pacific island’s shore sent three 30-foot waves roaring toward the coast. Most of Arop’s huts were built on stilts, but they never stood a chance against such a force of nature. The tsunami destroyed everything and claimed the lives of more than a third of the 2,400 people who called Arop home.

Whenever a natural disaster makes the news, we think of them.

Before the tsunami we had worked among the Arops for 10 years as linguists with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Our mission was to translate the Bible into their language, which previously had no written form.

Because we lived and worked in a community that overcame such inconceivable tragedy, people often ask us how Christians “keep the faith” in the wake of tragedy.

Unfortunately, we usually wait until after disaster strikes to determine how we will respond.

It is very difficult to think clearly about God, or anything else, when your world has been turned upside down.

But if we understand who God is and why evil and suffering exist, we can experience God as the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles,” as the apostle Paul calls him in 2 Corinthians. He says that God comforts us “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

For us the question is not, “Where is God in this tragedy?,” but “How will we respond to it, how will we experience God’s comfort in it, and how can we share that comfort with others?”

Read the rest of this post on the CNN Belief Blog.

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A Mazatec man sets up a recording studio in his home so others can hear.

By Terry Schram

Félix Ventura, an educated assistant pastor, joined the translation project late. The Jalapa de Díaz Mazatec New Testament had already been translated, but another step needed attention. His task was to read the translated Scriptures and think about how clearly Jesus and Paul and the others spoke Mazatec.

Doing this, he discovered that the Scriptures had much more impact on him when he pondered them in his own language, and he began to teach others to read Mazatec. He found that people who already knew how to read Spanish could extend their reading skill fairly easily if they followed the printed Mazatec passage while listening to it read very slowly, word by word. He used the book of Jonah for this because it’s fairly short and tells an interesting story. As he worked with older people, he realized that although many would probably never learn to read, they did want to listen to Scripture.

Soon Félix became so impressed with the great value of recorded Scripture that he decided to buy recording equipment and set up a small studio in his home. Now he records Scripture with three distinct purposes in mind. First, he reads the books he is currently revising and then gives those recordings to specific listeners he has incorporated into the revision process. They listen and give him feedback on how clearly it communicates in their language. Second, he reads some materials very slowly, as well as at normal speed, so people who read Spanish but not yet Mazatec can follow along in a printed text and teach themselves to read their mother tongue. Finally, he records published Scripture so those who cannot read can also have access to God’s Word.

Félix joined the translation project late, but it wasn’t too late for him to see a possibility, take initiative, and make the Word more accessible to many.

*Terry and his wife, Judith, serve in Mexico with the Jalapa de Díaz Mazatec translation project. This story was taken from the Fall 2012 issue of Rev . 7, a quarterly publication of our partner JAARS.

Committed to spreading God’s message, Félix Ventura records Scripture for oral learners, Scripture revisers, and new readers.

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Want to win a free copy of our new book Sleeping Coconuts? Be the first one to correctly answer the following three questions, by posting a comment to this post, and we’ll mail you a free copy of the book! (See contest rules below.)

1. Where did John and Bonnie Nystrom meet and fall in love?
2. What was the title of the sermon that led John Nystrom into missions?
3. How many tsunami waves hit Arop village on July 17, 1998?

For additional chances to win a copy of Sleeping Coconuts, check out the trivia questions on Wycliffe’s Facebook page this week!

Contest Rules:
The first person to answer all three questions correctly (by posting a comment) will receive a free copy of the book Sleeping Coconuts (with free shipping within the United States). Additionally, we will post one question a day on Facebook from November 12-16 for more chances to win a free copy of the book.

Some of the answers can be found in the first chapter of the book, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.sleepingcoconuts.com or in the introduction pages that can be seen here.

We will announce the blog winner as soon as we see all three correct answers, and we will announce each day’s Facebook winner by 5 p.m. EST that day. If no correct answers are given, we will use our discretion to choose the best answer. (Only one prize per person. Wycliffe staff are not eligible to win, but their friends and family members are!)

Congratulations to Jack McConnochie for being the first one to answer all three questions correctly! We’ll message you about your free copy of Sleeping Coconuts. (For those who didn’t win, be sure to check out our Facebook page this week for more chances to win!)

Here are the answers:

1. The Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of North Dakota during the summer of 1982

2. “The Fear of a Wasted Life”

3. Three consecutive tsunami waves hit Arop village on July 17, 1998

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Viña Studios* in Guatemala has come up with a clever way to teach Scripture to children—with finger puppet videos! They started with David and Goliath and then expanded to a Sunday school series of chronological Bible stories. Here’s how they describe it on their website:

“The video series uses fingers as the actors to tell Bible stories for kids. (But we know lots of adults who think they’re really wonderful too!) The scripts are faithful to the Biblical text, and the costumes and sets are designed as historically as possible. Fingers were chosen as the actors so that the videos can be adapted into lots of other languages without lip-synching being a problem. Also they’re easy to use, downright cute, and as far as we know we don’t have to deal with any finger-actor’s union.”

Alexander, a former rock band member, said, “I’ve always dreamed of serving the Lord in some way, and now that I’ve been invited as voice talent in the finger puppet series, I can say that God has given me one of my greatest desires….in former times I used my voice in activities that, instead of helping young people, led them to their ruin. Now, through this series, my voice sends a good message to children who I don’t even know.”

Pictures by Stephanie Willis

*Viña’s ministry was started by the Central American Branch of Wycliffe’s primary strategic partner, SIL. Learn more at www.vinyastudios.org

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By Elyse Patten

Photo by Phil Prior

Children in the heart of Nigeria happily greet visitors to their town. They speak Mwaghavul with each other but also learn Hausa and English, Nigeria’s official language, at school. Like many Nigerian Christians, Mwaghavul speakers are enthusiastic about hearing God’s word in their own language. Their New Testament is on its third print run and the translation team is currently working toward their goal of completing the Old Testament in 2014.

Nigerian Bishop Ndukuba said in an interview that when you speak to people in a language they have learned, “It will come to the head. They will be trying to diagnose, understand and categorize what you are saying according to the rules of the language they have learned.”

But when it is in the language of their heart, he says, “They will blow up! They will open up. They will cry, they will laugh, they will rejoice, they will sing! It means that God is part of their tribe, is one of them. When they talk to Him, He is not a stranger.” Go to wycliffe.net to listen to any chapter of the New Testament in Mwaghavul and for prayer requests from the translation team.

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