Archive for December, 2013

By Melissa Chesnut

Some people wait an entire lifetime to have God’s Word in their heart language. The Sabaot people of Kenya waited eighty years!

Work began in 1932, but translators had to develop the written language before translation of the Bible could even begin. After sixty-five years, the New Testament was dedicated in 1997, and fifteen years later, the complete Sabaot Bible was dedicated on June 10, 2012.

Sabaot NTThe translation was a team effort, supported by the unified efforts of churches, community leaders, and the Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL) organization in Kenya. The day was an important milestone for BTL especially—it was their first completed Bible!

The result of years of prayer, hard work, determination, and perseverance brought people together from all over Mount Elgon district. Guests came from near and far, including members of the Sabaot community, people from BTL and Wycliffe, church leaders, and even government officials!

The dedication was aired on national TV, broadcast on Christian radio, and covered by the daily newspaper, where former president Moi made a statement about the celebration.

“It is therefore a great joy to finally see the culmination of this work,” shared one of the speakers during the celebration. “Obviously, the Lord has been in this work, and therefore, I can only join the psalmist in Psalm 115 … ‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and Your faithfulness.’”

Before the Bibles were distributed, church leaders from Uganda and Kenya prayed over the books. The men raised their hands in a sign of thanksgiving, while joyful smiles light up their faces.Sabaot Bible

“It is our prayer that those who read this Bible will experience change in their lives for the glory of God. Amen.”

When it finally came time to open the first box filled with the new Bibles, the leader carefully unwrapped the book. Bringing it to his lips, he kissed the Bible before raising it over his head for all to see. God’s Word was finally in the hands of the Sabaot people!

Patrick Mang’esoy, a Sabaot translator, shared the importance of the day for him personally. “The Bible is with the Sabaot people, and that was my major concern in my life. It is like having hoped for a child for a very long time, and here it comes. What a joy in the family.”

To watch clips of the Sabaot dedication, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_PnWXcxXQk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkpzaNdRVuE.

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Enjoy a message from Bob and Dallas Creson about the substantial progress Wycliffe saw in 2013, thanks to the generosity of our faithful donors.


Bob and Dallas 2013 Christmas Greeting from Wycliffe USA on Vimeo.

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By Melissa Chesnutwishlist

During the Christmas season, people often create lists of things they hope to receive for Christmas, and lists of resolutions they hope to achieve in the coming year.

Here at Wycliffe, we have similar lists for 2014. But instead of calling them “wishes” and “resolutions,” we think of them as prayers and goals. Sometimes these items seem big and overwhelming, but God is the God of the impossible, and nothing is too daunting for Him!

In 2014, Wycliffe would like to:

  • Make 250,000 new contacts; these are people who are not currently aware of what Wycliffe does and who may not even know the organization exists! We want to have more and more opportunities to spread the news of what God is doing around the world.
  • Find 25,000 new prayer partners; these are people who have not yet signed up to pray with us for the work of Bible translation. Right now, over 18,500 people are committed to praying, and we’d love to see that number increase by 25,000!
  • Increase donations for projects around the world to $21 million. In order to translate the Bible into the remaining languages still waiting on Bible translation, more funds are needed. We’re trusting God to move in a powerful way so that these projects can be completed, and so that new projects can be started.
  • Accept 140 new staff persons to join in the work and serve wherever God has called them. People are needed to help deliver the Good News, and we’re praying that God will bring in more individuals who want to partner in the task set before us.
  • See the number of languages still needing a Bible translation project start to drop well below 1,900*. In November, we learned that there are still 1,919 languages that likely need a Bible translation to begin. This is wonderful news, and we’re so thankful to God for His faithfulness. What could be more exciting and encouraging than seeing that number continue to get lower?
  • Connect with more college students. College is a great stage in life to connect with students who are wondering how—and where—God wants to use them. Wycliffe had a wonderful opportunity to connect with Liberty University students during their fall missions’ week, and we’re hoping to find other opportunities to reach out to students across the country.
  • Be faithful stewards of all God has blessed us with—the funds, the resources, and the partnerships, both with you and with other organizations around the world. He has been so good in blessing us, and we want to bless others in return.

What’s on your “prayer list” for 2014? What goals are you setting for yourself? How are you boldly stepping out in faith and asking God to provide?

*To see the full Scripture & Language Statistics report for 2013, click here.

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By Wendi Richards

Beautiful Tires—Truck

The Bible states, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news,” but what if the feet are the well-worn tires of a heavily loaded flatbed truck? On November 5, 2013, a normal looking truck was made beautiful, as the boxes stacked upon it were full of God’s Good News for the Kimwani people of Mozambique. Loaded with a precious cargo, the truck was carrying half of the New Testaments that had been printed for the predominately Muslim group that lives on the coastal islands of Mozambique. The New Testaments were being transported from Nampula to Pemba to be part of the Scripture celebration and dedication in late November. That day, the everyone there thanked God not only for the beautiful feet of the team of translators, prayer partners, and financial partners who made the Kimwani New Testament possible—but also for the beautiful, well-worn tires of a truck loaded down with the Good News of God’s love for all people.

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Scott and Lois Youngman went to Southeast Asia in 1987 and began studying the T* language in 1990. Translation work for the T people started in 1995. Because of visa considerations, they found it necessary to live outside the language area and make frequent trips carrying on their translation work.

The day-to-day task of translating the Scriptures was under the primary care of their colleague, Pastor B*, a T speaker gifted at understanding the intricacies of his language and translating Scriptural truths.

The team has now completed the New Testament and Genesis. While the Scriptures were being printed, Scott and Lois came to Orlando, Florida, and shared their story with our staff. Using examples from their translation work, Scott illustrated meaning-based, dynamic equivalent translation and explained how they handled divine familial terms**.

Over dinner at our home, Scott explained how he and the T team used ParaTExt*** software to maintain consistency in their translation of key terms. The program allowed them to input a draft of the text and check the draft against the original Greek and Hebrew texts, modern translations, and resource materials. Using its tools, they were able to determine the best choices for key terms, find inconsistencies, and quickly edit their document.

One of our other guests at dinner exclaimed, “Wow! Cheaper, faster, with no loss of quality!” (One of my favorite ways to describe Vision 2025 strategies for Bible translation; it’s also about faster and deeper engagement with the Scriptures. Reaching the last people group, and the last person in the last people group, with the truths of God’s Word and the life-changing message).

Without hesitation, Scott replied, “No, cheaper, faster, and better quality.” His experience validated the fact that computer technology is helping translators improve the quality of their translations.

In addition to improving quality, technology is also increasing the speed at which translations are completed, meaning that people groups without Scripture are gaining access to God’s Word and having the opportunity to engage with it more quickly than in years past.

ImageAt the dinner table, the conversation migrated to the use of mobile technology to enhance engagement. I tell people frequently that Dallas and I live in an area of Orlando that has very poor cell phone reception. When I travel to extremely remote parts of the globe, I generally get a better signal than I do here at my home in Orlando!

Scott laughed and said that nearly every T person has a mobile phone, and many are better than the simple “dumb” (his term) phone he uses. The expansion in numbers and quality of mobile phones in that area of the world is dramatic! Worldwide, in fact, there is a proliferation of mobile phones.

Our conversation moved to the creation of the Digital Bible Library—an ever-growing, secure yet accessible, collection of quality Bible translations,**** and what the availability of Bible text means to these remote communities.

Imagine what can happen when the T people are able to download an app containing the T Scriptures, or insert a mini-SD card containing all the T Scriptures into a slot on their phone. There are multiple audio and visual opportunities like the “JESUS” film now available. Everyone who wants to will soon be able to carry the T Scriptures with them, access them at will, and engage with them.

Cheaper, faster, better quality. God is permitting us to use these technologies to get Scripture into the hands of people in record time. More people with more access and opportunity to engage with Scripture than at any other time in history!


**Divine familial terms are, for example, “Son of God” and “God the Father.”

***ParaTExt and related tools are a collection of software programs developed jointly by the United Bible Societies and SIL International that allow translators to input, edit, check, and publish a translation of the Scriptures, based on the original texts (Greek, Hebrew), and modeled on versions in major languages.

****The Digital Bible Library™ (DBL) was the vision of Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN)—a partnership of philanthropic donors, Wycliffe/The Seed Company/SIL, the United Bible Societies including the American Bible Society, and Biblica. Creators of websites and applications for mobile devices can download Bible texts from this library to provide the opportunity for people everywhere to experience the power of God’s Word in their heart language.

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By Wycliffe USA

God is raising up local people all around the world to help do Bible translation in their own languages. Here’s the story of a few men in Papua New Guinea who are doing just that.

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Jesus is Stronger than Spirits

By Katie Kuykendall


Many people groups around the world live with a very real fear of spirits. In one community where our teams were working, kids in the village were scared to be alone because of ghosts. Through the curriculum we shared with them in their own language, the children learned about Jesus’s authority over the spirits. They memorized Matthew 28:16 in their heart language, “And be sure of this, I am with you always.”


The teacher said that after learning the curriculum, one child asked a friend to accompany them to the bathroom because they were scared to go alone. The other child answered, “Go by yourself! Jesus is always with you. He is stronger than spirits!”

 Stronger than Spirits

Help Kids Trust in Jesus


Through the 2013–2014 Gift Catalog, you can help more kids know the truth about Jesus by providing picture books, Christian classes, Bible-based curriculum, videos, and more. Click here to see those gift opportunities and change a child’s life for eternity!

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