Archive for August, 2013

David Bowden is a spoken word poet who recently witnessed a translation project happening in India. This poem is about his experience there. Find out more information at EndBiblePoverty.org, an initiative of our partner The Seed Company.


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Somali man

Photo by: UN Photo/Tobin Jones
Words by: Elyse Patten

A Somali man sits next to his herd of goats at Bakara Animal Market in Mogadishu, Somalia. In the district’s animal market, thousands of goats are brought each morning, where they are sold for their meat. With the longest coastline on the African continent, Somalia occupies the eastern-most point of the Horn of Africa with a population of 10 million people who speak more than ten different languages. Enjoying a warm semi-arid climate, Somalis are credited with domesticating the camel.

Archaeological research reveals that an ancient Somali civilization once thrived with a unique writing system that is still undeciphered. Today the vast majority of Somalis are Sunni Muslims, and Islam is vitally important to the Somali sense of national identity. Christians are in the minority. There are eight language communities in Somalia without any Scripture available to them. Watch a short film about a Christian Somali woman’s journey of faith. Please pray for the work of the church in Somalia. Find prayer requests from Africa here.

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Written by Tim Scott*

The new translators were meeting with the Moro villagers of Papua New Guinea.  Sadly, the previous translators could no longer stay, but God had graciously provided a second set of translators to continue translating the Bible. As the helicopter waited with the previous translators inside ready to return to the base, Paul and his family greeted the many villagers who had gathered to welcome them.

When the regional director challenged the people to support Paul and Jennie as they had supported the previous translators, one of the older men stepped forward.

Buyuwe, a small man barely over four feet tall, said with a strong voice, “We brought food for the other family, we brought firewood for them, and we have taught them our language. Now they are gone and a new family has come. We will bring food and firewood for this family, too, and teach them our language. But, I am afraid . . . I am afraid that I will not see God’s Word in my language before I die.”

These words stuck with Paul for years, often serving as motivation during tough times.

I Will Bring Food 2[1] copyFifteen years later, Paul brought the proofs of the completed New Testament to Gumbarami village for a final read-through. This will be the   last step in the process before sending it off to be printed.

When people from Moro came for their turn at reading, Paul recognized Buyuwe and called him over. He said, “Buyuwe, do you remember what you said to me when I first arrived?”

With expectant eyes, Buyuwe watched as Paul handed him the entire stack of more than seven hundred pages. Paul exclaimed, “Here. Here is your entire New Testament, God’s Word in your language . . . and it is in your hands before you die!”

With great joy and loud laughter, Buyuwe grabbed Paul’s hand and shook it strongly. In fact, he would not let it go, and for several minutes he continued to shake Paul’s hand, his laughter resonating throughout the area.

Truly God’s Word had come to the Iyo people.

*Tim Scott is the chief communications officer for SIL in Papua New Guinea, Wycliffe’s primary strategic partner.

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By Melissa Chesnut

“The things I learned cannot be fully explained by words, they just have to be experienced—so even if you have hesitations, go! Let God change you. You won’t regret it,” shared David Rhodes, who recently participated in one of Wycliffe’s GET Global trips to Papua New Guinea.

The goal of Wycliffe’s GET Global program is to send high school and college students around the world to “Go Experience Translation” (“GET” Global) during their summer vacations. Teams vary in size from eight to fifteen people and spend two to three weeks among a minority language group where a Bible translation project is in progress. During the time teams experience translation work firsthand in three ways—through language learning, cross-cultural interaction, and community development.GET Global PNG

“Having been on previous mission trips, I thought I knew what I was going to experience in Papua New Guinea,” shared Charlie Scott, another recent participant. “On my previous mission trips, I served the people; on this trip, the people served me. As I lived among the people, they taught me how to be selfless and put other people before myself. After experiencing the culture, I will never forget the impact it had on me.”

Each trip targets specific activities or areas of interest. For 2014, there are trips that target those interested in music and drama, teaching, health advocacy, evangelism, and more. Some trips even offer opportunities for earning college credit during your summer, January, or May term.

“I had an incredible experience in Papua New Guinea!” David shared. “I went not really knowing what to expect and came out the other side of the trip with so much more than I expected. Being in a different country where things aren’t as comfortable or easy gives God a unique gateway to speak to you, and gives you glimpses of yourself. The trip was definitely an adventure, and I would recommend that all of my friends go on a similar trip at least once in their lifetime.”

If you want to experience that “once in a lifetime” trip David talks about, consider signing up today. Applications for the January trip to Cameroon are due on October 1, and all other applications for the summer 2014 trips are due on March 1. But if you apply early, you can have your application fee waved!

For more information about trip locations, schedules, and waived application fee deadlines, visit http://www.wycliffe.org/Go/ShortTerm/GETGlobal.aspx or e-mail getglobal_usa@wycliffe.org

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Photo by Zeke du Plessis
Words by Elyse Patten

A broad smile and an even broader hat are a charming combination on this friendly man in Yimbéré, Cameroon. One of the languages he speaks is Fulfulde, a language that belongs to the Fulani people but enjoys wide-spread use as a regional trade language used by millions throughout Central and West Africa. In Northern Cameroon Christians use Fulfulde in their worship services and currently a revision of the Fulfulde Scriptures which were published decades ago is being undertaken. Please pray for the Fulfulde translation team.

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By Melissa Chesnut

It was a Friday afternoon. Many of the Krachi villagers—men and women, young and old—were gathered around a tape recorder.

To those who know the Krachi people of Ghana, this would be an unusual scene to observe. As peasant farmers, the Krachi people spend most of their days working in the fields. The days they do not go to the fields are rare: Sundays for the Christians, and special or taboo days that happen once a week. On those days, no one is allowed to work in the fields.

But on this occasion, it was neither a Sunday nor a special or taboo day. The Krachi people had left their fields for something more important—listening to God’s Word.

The tape recorder was playing the Gospel of Mark, an audio version that had recently been completed and distributed among the Krachi people. Setting aside the normal schedule of their daily lives, this group of people had gathered to listen to God’s Word in their language.

As the tape played, a familiar voice was heard. One of their own people had read and voiced the recording of Mark! This was not just some stranger speaking their language for the recording—it was one of them!

Moses Danso was one of the elderly men listening to Mark that afternoon. His life—along with many others—was touched through the use of tape recorders to communicate Scripture.

No Longer A Barrier“I have never been to formal school,” he said. “But I can listen to the Word of God in my own language. Illiteracy can no longer be a barrier to my salvation.”

For those who are unable to read or write their language, these audio recordings are perfect. But many Krachi people are now getting the opportunity to learn how to read and write their own language as well.

Before, the Krachi alphabet had not been developed, so there was no written document for the language. Then a team from the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), a Wycliffe partner organization, helped develop the Krachi alphabet. The team is now providing literacy programs for the Krachi people while they work on the Krachi New Testament translation and additional audio Scripture recordings. So far, they’ve drafted 90 percent of the New Testament, which will soon be checked by translation consultants!

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By Catherine Rivard with Richard Gretsky

For much of the workshop, Susan, a Kwomtari speaker of Papua New Guinea, sat unobtrusively at her table, often resting her chin on her hands as she listened to the lectures. One of thirty participants from seven languages, Susan was attending the third of four workshops on Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS), a course that teaches Papua New Guineans how to memorize and retell Bible stories in a dramatic manner.

Quiet and humble, Susan rarely spoke in discussions, and so when she shyly walked to the front of the room, everyone grew silent. She stared at the ground for a moment, and then, breaking into a huge grin, Susan dove headfirst into the story of Moses fleeing Egypt. Waving her hands and darting around the room, the tiny woman became as fierce as Moses scolding the Hebrews, as cowering as shepherds, and as vivacious as Jethro’s daughters. As she finished the story, the room roared with laughter and applause; Susan beamed in delight—not being able to read no longer meant she couldn’t share God’s Word.

As a pastor’s wife with a deep faith, Susan’s inability to read has long been a great frustration to her, preventing her from leading well her women’s fellowship group or even telling Bible stories to her children. After she attended her first OBS workshop, Susan eagerly began sharing stories with her family and throughout the village, though some women in the fellowship became angry, accusing Susan of arrogance and not accepting their authority as literate members.

However, when Susan was asked to share a Bible story for the opening devotional for a regional women’s meeting, she gladly obliged. “How many of you can read?” she asked. A dozen of the 150 women raised their hands. “OBS helps you learn Bible stories and share them with your families—without needing to read.” Excited, the women sat listening, spellbound by the biblical story and the passion with which Susan told it.


The opposition that Susan had faced melted away, and instead, more of her people became excited about receiving God’s Word through OBS in their own lives!

After Susan’s husband saw the impact his wife was having, he found a way to help her use her strengths to impact others. And since then, Susan has been telling Bible stories in churches throughout the Kwomtari area, with her husband following her and preaching his sermons based on the message contained in the story she shared. Together, they are planning outreach trips to other Kwomtari villages and beyond.

Catherine Rivard is a linguist with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea. She blogs here.

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