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Archive for February, 2014

By David Anderson with Matt Petersen

“As I waited outside one of the local morgues in Yaoundé for the ‘levée du corps’ (removal of the body) to take to the church for the memorial service … I was amazed at the number of people that were there during the work day,” said David Anderson, who serves with Wycliffe in Cameroon, Africa.

Sadly, the wife of one of David’s Cameroonian colleagues had just passed away. Following local custom, David was at the morgue to pay his respects and to show his love and support for his friend.

Hope at the Morgue“I found it hard to imagine hundreds of people standing outside in the States waiting with you for a loved one’s body to be released,” said David. But here in Cameroon, a crowd outside the morgue is a common sight, “along with all the vendors who walked by offering to sell nuts, tissues, a piece of gum, or even an egg sandwich.”

“There were easily three times more people there than those who went to the actual church service,” David continued. “We waited about an hour and a half, and then they carried her coffin to the car that would transport her to the church. I didn’t go to the final burial. … It was ten hours away from where I live. They drove all night to get there to bury the body the next day.”

Many at the morgue were part of the Oku language community, which recently celebrated the completion of its New Testament translation. Another colleague of David’s had brought a copy of the translation to give to the colleague who had lost his wife, and, while they waited, she asked an Oku woman sitting beside her to read from it so others could listen and be encouraged. The woman agreed, but, although she spoke Oku, she’d never read in the language before.

“As we sat under the overhang outside the mortuary,” David said, “she had her first literacy lesson in Oku.”

The woman began by reading 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died,” (NLT).

Although their hearts were heavy with the loss of a loved one, hearing this Scripture in their mother tongue was a huge encouragement to the Oku Christians gathered around—a reminder of the eternal hope we have in Christ Jesus.

The woman then read Revelation 7:17, “For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes,” (NLT).

Finishing the verse, she said, “Reading this took away my tears.”

That’s just the sort of thing we love to hear!

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Pastor Paul was born into a pagan family, and used to serve Satan. But when he  came to know Jesus as his Savior, he was brought out of the darkness and into the light. Now Paul is seeing this transformation happen for other families in his village.

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Photo by Katie Kuykendall
Words by Elyse Patten

Children all around the world enjoy the attention of a camera, and this lively bunch from Senegal are no exception. As a young boy, Kéraba Wallou, was forced to wear a bull skull and horns around his neck if he accidently spoke his own language, instead of French, at school. Wearing this symbol of shame, the other children would tease him for the rest of the day. Typically, children throughout Senegal are taught their school lessons in a foreign language, French, and are expected to speak, understand, read, and write it—or be punished. Today, Kéraba teaches and supervises multilingual literacy classes in his mother tongue, Manjak.

cultural prideA school principal says, “When the children came into contact with these Manjak texts – the smile on their faces, the change in their behavior – frankly, they were struck by the book. The book wasn’t something foreign to them. The fact that they can read the book and understand it gives them greater self-confidence. The book becomes their friend.” Mandjak children no longer have to be ashamed of their language. They can be proud to read and write in Manjak. It’s even helping them to later succeed in learning French. Read more about Kéraba here.

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The team leader for the Tembo language project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is excited to see the local church engaged in Bible translation. “We printed the [translated] texts of Philippians and Jude and sent them to the pastors of our churches in a nearby area for testing,” he said. “After receiving these texts, three pastors of the Methodist church communicated to us that they will not return us these copies because, according to them, they find that the translation is good and they are already using them in their church services.”

Alur language translators, (not a Wycliffe Project) MugenyuoseeWhat exciting proof that the translation work is making a difference! Recent gifts to Wycliffe helped move the Tembo project and nine other DRC projects forward. “We take this opportunity to thank the donors because without their contribution, this result would not have been possible,” the Tembo team leader said.

The DRC is one of three areas with high translation needs in the world, having an estimated one hundred and twenty remaining languages that have translation needs.

The ten existing translation projects and more than sixty potential projects have too many needs for the current teams in that area to handle on their own, which is why gifts were so vital. As the teams look toward the future, they know that Bible translation cannot move forward without engaging the Church and Christians in the DRC and developing their capacity to serve in project leadership, strategic development, management, and consulting.

While the churches have human resources, they do not have the financial resources to maintain their church structures or invest heavily in Bible translation. Years of civil unrest have devastated the local economy. Partnership with donors has provided needed funding to keep the momentum of Bible translation moving forward in the DRC.

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By Katie Kuykendall

Luggage and passport in-hand, TC Barrs was ready to step off the plane in Papua New Guinea. It was his first time traveling outside the United States, and he had chosen the GET Global trip opportunity that would get him the farthest away from home—nine thousand miles, to be exact.

TC BarrsAs a maintenance technician assistant, born and still living in Orlando, TC had never had much desire to travel. But that all changed when he met Daniel*.

Several months prior to TC’s trip, he and Daniel met at a college missions conference. Daniel is a student from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and he belongs to a Bibleless people group. He’s never seen Scripture written in his own language.

Meeting someone who doesn’t have the Bible completely rocked TC’s perspective on his role with Wycliffe.

“He [TC] told me how … meeting me made it more real for him—the work he is doing for Wycliffe,” Daniel said. “I think he has this sense of urgency, and a more tangible motivation for doing what he’s doing. I was happy to know that the Lord used me to impact his life in that way.”

Less than a year later, TC was hopping off the plane in Papua New Guinea ready to once again come face to face with people who’ve yet to experience God’s Word in their language.

“I really wanted to see what a part of the world looks like that isn’t westernized,” TC said. But he really wasn’t prepared for everything he would experience.

“The biggest shocker for me was this grass house that looked like it was on fire. I was thinking, ‘This house is going to burn down, and no one’s doing anything to stop it!’ But they have fires inside their houses all the time. They were probably just cooking,” he said with a laugh.TC Barrs2

As TC adapted to village life, he began to fall in love with it.

“I’ve never felt so loved by anyone besides my family as I did by people [I met]. No matter who they are, they’ll give you whatever you need.” One night a man even welcomed the Wycliffe team into his home and gave up his bed so TC and a few other guys could sleep there.

During their time in the village, TC and his teammates showed the “JESUS” film, a video about AIDS awareness, and promoted Scripture use in their language, Agarabi. It’s an experience he says everyone should have.

“Bible translation is always going to be dear to my heart,” he said. His next step is to figure out what that means for him long-term. “What else can I do to help? Where has God called me? Where do I fit in missions?”

What about you? Have you considered how you fit into God’s worldwide plan for missions? Click here for more information about how you can get involved through a GET Global trip with Wycliffe.

*Daniel later became The Bibleless Intern at Wycliffe. You can read his story here.

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By Margaret Hill with Richard Gretsky

Fighting in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been intermittent for the past decade. The fighting has resulted in much death, rampant destruction of property, and countless other travesties. Many have suffered emotionally devastating wounds from being involved in, or witnessing, the fighting and its results. These wounds are often deeper than any physical ones and are much more difficult to heal.

Trauma Healing - Bangui 2In an effort to help some of the people affected by war in the CAR, a trauma healing team from Wycliffe and its primary partner SIL held a workshop at the Central African Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (ACATBA) Center. Five staff persons led twenty-nine participants from five different organizations in the five-day course.

 The course consists of a series of Bible-based lessons that guide people in how to use good mental health principles to deal with deep emotional wounds in their lives. It gives verses from Scripture to meditate on and leads people to pray and communicate with others about those hurts, so that with God’s help—and the encouragement of their peers—they may find healing.

 According to the staff, the class—which was a cross between a healing group and an equipping seminar—was a resounding success. They said that all of the participants seemed to receive a degree of healing, which should help them deal with the continuing problems in the country. In fact, a large number of course participants were enthusiastic about starting healing groups of their own, leading other people in the process toward health.

 Beside those two major benefits, there were three other areas of the course that the staff was very excited about:

  • A number of participants said that they were encouraged to know that people from outside the country cared about their plight enough to facilitate this seminar. Previously, they thought they had been forgotten.
  • CAR has had problems in the past bringing different churches together. The workshop seemed to open the door for Christians to see the need to work together.
  • The workshop gave the participants an oasis of calm for a week. They enjoyed each other, and had plenty of good food each day. The team could see them visibly relax as the week went on.

 With the success of the workshop, the ACATBA staff is planning to host an advanced trauma healing seminar in June or July of this year.


PERSONAL TESTIMONIES:

This seminar has helped me be freed from my fear that was caused by the violence I experienced at the hands of the soldiers. It has also helped reinforce my confidence that God is hearing me, especially after I had written my lament. Now I have a great desire to share this with others in Bangui and Bossangoa as too many people are hurting. —FrancisTrauma Healing - Bangui

Because of this workshop, finally my wife and I have started sleeping deeply at night. I’m spending time going over every lesson with my older children. I did this workshop before in 2004 and it was fine and helpful, but this time, because we are still in the crisis, it has really changed my thoughts and feelings for the better. —Elvis

 This is the first time I have ever heard anyone teaching about these things. I didn’t know before you could discuss them and find answers. Now I am ready to help others. —Aristide

 First, I have been healed of my own inner hurts. Now I feel very strongly that I have a special capacity to help others and I really want them to receive healing too. —Maturin

 I was very traumatized when I came, but now I feel almost healed. During the seminar I learned lots of very new things and now I feel ready even to help my family prepare for bad things that might come. I’m also now conscious of my responsibility to help others. —Anon

 After we had taken our pain and burdens to Jesus on the cross and burnt our papers, I felt healed. That night when I started again to think about the things I had written down, I found I couldn’t worry about them or feel hurt anymore! I really want to share this with others. —Jean-Noel


Prayer
: Pray that people in the Central African Republic would continue to look to God, community, and workshops like this one to help them heal from the atrocities they’ve witnessed.

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More than two decades ago, leaders from the Dibiyaso language group of Papua New Guinea (PNG) asked SIL* to send someone to start a Bible translation in their language. But with hundreds of similar needs all around PNG, no one was available to help!

Finally, this January a decision was made to begin a cluster project in the Bamu River region of PNG that will help the Dibiyaso and four neighboring languages get God’s Word.

Cluster projects like this one are becoming increasingly popular because of the way they share resources across multiple languages, helping communities take ownership of their own projects and complete translations sooner.

To learn more about this exciting approach to Bible translation, check out this video about a project that’s already well underway.

Please join us in praying for the hundreds of remaining translation needs in PNG—that God would continue to open new doors of opportunity like cluster projects so everyone can experience the blessing of God’s Word!

*Wycliffe’s primary strategic partner

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