Archive for April, 2014

By Katie Kuykendall

One evening in the late 1940s in southern California, Dottie Brown and her late husband Bill were visiting their friends the Lukens. At one point during the visit, Jim Lukens happened to look out the window and saw a man walking up the hill toward their house.

The man, Cameron Townsend, came in and chatted for a while. Dressed in overalls and a straw hat, he had just returned from a trip to Guatemala. The Browns didn’t think much about him.

They had no idea they’d just met the founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, nor did they realize they had just begun a long relationship with Wycliffe.

Fast-forward a few years, and several couples who also happened to be Wycliffe missionaries began attending the Browns’ church in Santa Ana. They included Ben Elson, who later became Wycliffe’s first executive director. They spoke fondly of ‘Uncle Cam,’ and the Browns began to take an increased interest in the organization so many friends had come to love.

They even attended a Scripture celebration in Mexico with the Elsons to see firsthand what Wycliffe was all about.

“When you see the faces of these people when they receive their very own Bible, it makes you want to be sure everyone who really wants one gets one,” Dottie said.

As a real estate broker, Dottie helped Wycliffe find its former headquarters in Huntington Beach, and has also helped many Wycliffe missionaries sell their homes. Several times, if a family felt called to leave but couldn’t sell their home, Dottie has bought it. She even sold a home to Uncle Cam’s daughter, Grace.

Dottie and Bill began supporting Wycliffe missionaries over fifty years ago. Though Bill died last June after sixty-six years of marriage, Dottie continues that support with her business. She also established her own Donor Advised Fund (DAF) with the Wycliffe Foundation. It allows her to advise the Foundation to make grants from her fund to Wycliffe and other charities—supporting the ministries and missionaries she chooses with a single, tax-deductible gift.

Relationship to Surpass a Lifetime

She owns several properties throughout southern California and one in Washington state, which she donated to Wycliffe through her DAF.

“I was going to sell it, and I think the Lord spoke to me,” she said. She was praying about what to do with it when Wycliffe came to mind.

“We’re helping about seventeen missionaries—giving some support to them,” she said. “The DAF will continue that.” Because it’s ongoing, Dottie said she feels comfortable knowing the money will be there for missionaries when she’s gone.

For information about establishing a Donor Advised Fund, or to learn about other legacy plans, visit http://www.wycliffefoundation.org

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This story is an excerpt from The Finish Line monthly downloads. The Finish Line is a guide to praying for translation projects within three years of completion.

Living Water—Brazil

The Kaiwá people of western Brazil have now received the whole Bible in the language they understand best. Pastor Dorival is an evangelist, traveling to share the Good News with other Kaiwá people. Before the Old Testament was completed, he said, “When the Psalms were only in Portuguese, we could not understand them. Words like ‘intercession’ and ‘transgression’—we did not know what these words meant. But now we know! I love Psalm 1 that says we are compared to a tree that is planted by living water. That is so beautiful to me. It gives a deeper understanding of who God really is. When we received parts of the Old Testament, it was like someone took a huge light and put it up high and said, ‘Oh! Look all around here! Here is something you did not know before!’ So when I think that soon there’s going to be Genesis to Revelation, I feel really happy inside. It’s very good. It tastes good to see this happen. So I am jumping up and down with happiness because it is really beautiful, it is almost ready.”

Want to read more stories like Pastor Dorival’s or learn how to pray for people waiting for a Bible in their heart language? Sign up to receive The Finish Line  monthly downloads today!

A Look Inside the Finish Line Part II

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Dress Up Day: PNG style!

Here’s a great post by Ellie, a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea (PNG)! You can read more posts from her family at http://livingletters.wordpress.com/.

Living Letters

bilas 1
My P.N.G. aunties first called us so that we could get bilased (decorated).


They started getting the arm bands and putting them on my little sister and I.

They stuck pretty flowers in the bracelets, I think it’s so cool how they got it all together and ready.

JB’s (Jenny Beth’s) turn!
blas 7

Isn’t she cute? Funny, she looks tired! Look closely, see how fancy the beading is.


Even Jacob got to look beautiful! (hhhaaaa) Now look at his necklace’s pattern.


Look at this kind of paint! It comes out of a fuzzy pod. The seeds are red. They rub it, and it’s like paint!

Me too! I get a turn to get painted.
bilas 9

Now they get a turn to look nice in front of the camera.

bilas final

Here we are all together. They made a hard effort to get everything ready. I love my village!

Written by Ellie, age 10.

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By Melissa Paredes


Amanda and Spring* have been sharing the Gospel with their unbelieving family members using portions of Scripture translated in their own language. And they’re finding that when God’s Word is shared in the heart language, people respond better.

One day, the two women went to visit Amanda’s aunt, who is terminally ill. Although Amanda had tried to share the Gospel with her aunt before, she wanted to try again. In the past, Amanda felt like there was a barrier preventing her from truly communicating to her aunt. She thought that it might have been because of the opposition and influence of another aunt who lives nearby and is a shaman in her community. But Amanda had been praying, and friends had also prayed that God would use her and Spring, as a testimony to Amanda’s aunt.

a village in the mountains of south China

So Amanda went and shared portions of her draft translation about the story of creation. During their visit, the women shared who God is and what it means to follow Him. And this time, something hit home.

Amanda’s aunt excitedly told them she wanted to believe and prayed with them, right then! The power of the Gospel had finally resonated within her soul, and the barriers around her heart broke down. When Amanda left, she gave her aunt an MP3 player with the draft version of the book of Mark on it, as well as some songs in the local language, so that she could continue to learn more about God.

Shortly after the visit, Amanda’s aunt’s health began to get worse, and she passed away soon afterwards. But Amanda and her friends rejoice that she was able to respond to the message of the Gospel while she was still able!

Spring has also been able to witness to her family. While her mother has believed for many years, her father has never wanted Spring to share with him. But during one recent visit, where she and Amanda went together, he finally agreed to listen to them.

After they shared the Good News of the Gospel in his own language, Spring’s father told them that he wanted to believe. At first, Amanda and Spring thought that he was just being polite. So they asked if he wanted to take more time to consider such an important decision. He empathically replied, “No! I understand what you have said and I want to believe now!”

God is doing great things among people who are able to hear the Gospel in their own language. Hearts are changed and lives are redirected as the seed of God’s Word takes root. Amanda is continuing to make great progress in drafting portions of the Bible, and the translation team is helping her begin community testing of her drafts. Pray for Amanda, Spring, and others who are working to bring the Bible to their friends, family, and community in the language they understand best.


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By Richard Gretsky

Badi Vila is one of the Bible translators for the Tairuma people. Recently, in her home area of Kerema, Papua New Guinea, land has become a hot commodity. Companies from all over the world have been coming into the country to buy up and lease parcels of it, from individuals and from the government.

One day Badi’s landlord forced her off her property, claiming she owed more money than she would be able to come up with. Then he made Badi return and tear down her house so that he could sell the land.

From the Ground Up, Again - Badi Vila

Later that year, the same thing happened to the local translation headquarters. And its loss was a major blow to Bible translation in the area.

Yet, despite the setback, Badi Vila and her translation team pressed on, and the benefits of their dedication to the work began to outweigh the losses they’d seen.

On one occasion, Badi Vila and her translation helper, Gabriel, traveled to the town of Ukarumpa to attend a translation training course. While there, they told about their recent trip to Badi’s home church, where they had read portions of the Scripture (Genesis 22:1–19) they had translated into Tairuma.

After the service, a church elder stood to greet them. He then began explaining why an elderly man who he’d been sitting next to had been crying. This elderly man had been so touched when he heard the Bible read in Tairuma that he was at a loss for words. Only tears would do.

As Badi Vila recalled the event, she said, “for so long, we the Tairuma people have been using the Taoripi and the Orokolo Bibles and hymnbooks in church. So for us to finally read something in Tairuma was a great breakthrough…[that elderly man] was rejoicing with us.” She later gave a copy to her mother—who started crying as well.

Although, the translation team has had to deal with losing their building and numerous other trials, seeing people who’ve been greatly affected by God’s Word makes everything they’ve had to face worth it. Now, Badi Vila and her team will not stop until they’ve translated all the Bible into Tairuma—for they know the value of having Scripture in one’s own language is not something that can be bought or sold, or even torn down. Only built up.

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Living the Love Doctrine

By Katie Kuykendall


“I think one of the most frightening days of my life was the day that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was there; no, not just in Memphis; I was at the assassination.”

Bishop J. Delano Ellis, II, solemnly recalls the historic event. He was pastoring a small church in Memphis at the time, and drove a taxi cab to help make ends meet. Walter Bailey, owner of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was staying, called him to drive Dr. King, Jesse Jackson, and Ralph Abernathy to dinner in his cab.

“I was sitting in the cab, waiting, and Jesse Jackson had come downstairs to tell me, ‘Hey man, he’s coming right out! Just wait one minute; don’t go nowhere,’” Bishop Ellis said. “As I went to get out of the cab, I heard this loud ‘pop,’ which I thought was a car behind me backfiring. It wasn’t.”

Chaos ensued. “I was knocked to the ground by the Memphis Police Department,” he said. “I was beaten with billy clubs. I asked, ‘Why are you beating me?’”

The officer broke Bishop Ellis’s glasses and told him to get out of the parking lot.

“Is that your cab?” the officer asked. Bishop Ellis replied, “Yes,” and the officer hit him in the mouth.

“Say, ‘Yes, sir,’” he said.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. —Romans 12:18 (NLT)

Today, nearly forty-six years after that grievous day, Bishop Ellis is the founding general overseer of the Pentecostal Churches of Christ, a founding father of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops, and senior pastor of the Pentecostal Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio. While visiting at Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, Bishop Ellis issued a challenge to the Church. In the face of discrimination, persecution, and other cultural trends that affect us deeply, what will your response be?

Ellis (1)

“Living the doctrine of love … living it out in the middle of adversity and persecution, unfair treatment … you have a big job,” he said. “How do we do that? It’s not easy to live out the love doctrine. Living the message of Christ is virtually impossible for us, but it’s possible for Christ.”

For a long time after the assassination, Bishop Ellis struggled to recover mentally and emotionally from the trauma. It started with profound fear, which gave way to anger, and then ultimately determination.

“[The persecution] didn’t affect my relationship with God negatively,” he said. “It empowered me. You learn in those circumstances to credit some things to trial. Where wickedness abounds, grace much more abounds. Trouble informs faith. Trouble teaches you who God really is.

“Lord, I’m in Your hands,” he prayed. “Your will be done, whatever that will is. Get glory!”

As a pastor, Bishop Ellis responded to persecution by becoming “an advocate for excellence.” He devoted himself to teaching his congregation to combat oppression with dignity, information, prayer, and the power of Scripture.

“It’s my lifeline,” he said about the Scriptures. “It’s all I live by, and it’s all I live for. And I live to walk up on somebody and introduce it to them. I’ve got to read it every day. It has new meaning, new life every time I go back to it.”

Wycliffe was honored to present at the Joint College of Bishops 2014 Congress in Cleveland, Ohio recently. Click here  to read about it. It has been our pleasure to enjoy Bishop Ellis’s wisdom and friendship, and we look forward to continued relationship with him and the Joint College of Bishops.


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Wycliffe 101In the early 1900s, a young man named William Cameron Townsend (known by friends as “Cam”) was concerned that many people didn’t have the Bible in a language they could understand.  So in 1934 he started a small linguistics school to train people for Bible translation.

Cam named the school “Camp Wycliffe”—a tribute to John Wycliffe, who did the first Bible translation in English. By 1942, this tiny school grew into two partner organizations—Wycliffe Bible Translations and the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).

Today, Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL, and many other organizations around the world are working together on more than 1,500 translation projects. More than 500 languages now have the entire Bible and almost 1,300 have the New Testament. About 1,900 languages are still waiting for a Bible translation to start.

To learn more about Cameron Townsend and the start of Wycliffe, read A Man with a Vision.


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