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Archive for June, 2014

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.

 

A Deeper Impact—Papua New Guinea?????????????????????

Even if the Bible has been in a country for a long time, it might not be having a significant impact if people can’t understand it. One man shared, “The Bible has been in PNG [Papua New Guinea] for over one hundred years. … Why has it not made an impact [in my area]? I believe having it in Tok Ples [his language] is the key that is going to unlock the Bible and make a difference in the lives of my people. Tok Pisin [one of three official national languages] is not adequate enough to express the deep meanings of the Word of God, and so people are not understanding and having their lives changed by the Word of God.”

 

Want to read more stories about the impact of God’s Word translated for different language groups, 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!

 

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My Language, But Not YoursCommunicating between different language communities can be difficult. Unless a mutual language is spoken—often a language of wider communication such as English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, or French—language barriers can be seemingly insurmountable.

These barriers are something that people in South Tanna, Vanuatu, face every day.

Most people in South Tanna are taught in English and French at school. But since most do not continue attending school after year six, their understanding of those languages quickly fades. So using the Bible in those languages is not an option.

The Bible is also available in Bislama, the language people use to communicate when someone doesn’t know their language. But most people only know Bislama well enough to carry on basic conversations, not heart-level discussions.

The people in South Tanna speak Nafe. That’s their heart language—the language that they speak in their homes, in their gardens, and as they are working.

The Nafe language needs its own Bible translation. And this summer, they’re finally receiving it. On June 13, the Nafe New Testament was dedicated!

You can help bring Scripture to people like the Nafe in the language they understand best. Go to www.wycliffe.org/summercampaign to learn how.

Read more about the Nafe language here.

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By Melissa Paredes

 

Perry really wanted to be able to read the Bible, preferably in his own language. But there was a problem. He didn’t know how.

He’d been a believer for many years and had attended a Lutheran church, but no one there had been able to teach him how to read God’s Word. And he’d just gone to a Bible course where pastors and evangelists from all over Central Australia came together. He’d learned a lot, but it still wasn’t like being able to study the Bible for himself.

With tears in his eyes, Perry headed home, his heart heavy.

Desperate to find someone who could help him learn how to read, Perry went to Pastor Jimmy, a man who had worked for many years on Bible translation. Pastor Jimmy connected him with David Strickland, a translator working with AuSIL*. He and David had been working on translation together for many years. In fact, it was Pastor Jimmy who had helped teach David the Anmatyerr language so he could begin working on a translation in that language.

It just so happened that Anmatyerr was  his father’s language! Perry had learned it as a child, but had largely forgotten it. If he could relearn it and learn how to read it, he would be able to read God’s Word for himself, in his own language.

David agreed to help teach Perry how to read, and they began with the Gospel of John.

It was a painstakingly slow progress, but Perry gradually learned more and more words. After about two weeks of lessons, he was able to read the first page of the Gospel of John. To help him continue learning, David gave Perry a memory stick with a recording of passages from John. That way he could listen and follow along in the text, continuing to practice the words he’d learned and picking up new ones along the way.

Excited by his progress, Perry often told David, “See, you are teaching me!”

As the weeks went by, David introduced new material for Perry to read, especially narrative passages. Perry has since mastered the story of the widow’s offering, and even reads it aloud to others! He recently began practicing the Gospel of Mark at home using a memory stick. Now, he’s even able to work on reading passages without the help of the audio recordings.Age Doesn't Matter

Perry and many others like him around the world are proof that you’re never too old to learn new skills and follow new dreams in service to the Lord. It’s been a long journey, but Perry is continuing to practice and make progress in reading the Bible in his own language. It is his desire to return to his home in Mount Allan and help restart the Lutheran church he used to attend—the former pastor is now too aged to travel to the church from his own community—and serve as an evangelist to his people.

*Australian Society for Indigenous Languages

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Photo by John Shuler

The Murle people live in one of the more remote areas of South Sudan, in the eastern part of the Jonglei state, close to the Ethiopian border. Conflict between subversive groups and the country’s army has destabilized the Murle area, displacing thousands.

Most of the Murle are pastoralists, who move often to find water and grass for their cattle. Recently a group of SIL* literacy workers trained some Murle teachers to conduct literacy classes in cattle camps. The aim was for the new teachers to live and move with the group, conducting classes when people had fewer chores or activities.

Two SIL workers and a man who had been on the Murle New Testament translation team conducted teacher training sessions for thirteen Murle men. Many of the attendees had their New Testament copies, which they used and read fluently during morning devotions. They also shared songs and sang prayers in their own musical style. In addition to teaching literacy, some of the Murle men wanted to share the Gospel in the cattle camps. The staff demonstrated and practiced different teaching methods with the men and had them write short stories.

One morning during devotions, a Murle man named Marko glanced longingly at the Murle New Testament that lay on a table. He asked the staff where he could get a copy. “They are out of print,” one of the literacy workers replied. “Do you not have one?”

“I had one,” Marko answered. “But I lost it when we were running from the fighting.”

The literacy team gave Marko their resource copy and marveled at how much this book was like sustenance to him, perhaps even more so than the physical food he needed to live.

Marko had tasted God’s Word. He longed for the nourishment it provided in difficult circumstances. That’s why Wycliffe is committed to translating Scripture in every language and seeing it printed—and reprinted—so that people can feed on its eternal words of life.

The Murle New Testament will soon be reprinted, and many Murle people have expressed interest in a translation of the Old Testament. As we enter the critical summer months when many ministries suffer a significant drop in support, we need your help. We can’t afford to see our work slow down for people like Marko. You can help our work move forward with a gift to this year’s summer campaign. And for a limited time, your gift is matched, doubling your impact for Bible translation.

Visit http://www.wycliffe.org/summercampaign  to learn more about how you can help!

*SIL International is one of Wycliffe’s primary partners

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This story was originally published at Wycliffe.net.

by Karen Weaver, Tim Scott

Papua New Guinea

 

13 09 24 p3Linguistics captivated Luai during her studies at Keravat National High School. Although she wanted to study advanced linguistics at the university level, she put that dream aside when she got married and began working at a bank.

Several years later, Luai’s pastor needed a representative from the Nalik language area to attend the New Ireland Translation Institute (NITI). He encouraged Luai to attend. Going to NITI rekindled Luai’s interest in linguistics and initiated her involvement in translating the Nalik New Testament.

Initially Luai’s husband did not show any interest in her work with the Nalik translation, but he now supports her. This is a great encouragement to Luai.

Further encouragement came through an unexpected visitor. A lady came to the village and noticed that Luai’s home was disorderly and that she hadn’t raked the yard. When Luai explained that she spends many hours translating the New Testament and has little time for her own work, this visitor offered to send her daughter to help with housework. Luai testifies, “Her daughter has been a big help to me.”

13 09 24 p1Later, Luai heard that this same woman had become ill, so she went to visit her. While there, a group gathered in the house. Luai used the opportunity to check a portion of the translation with these people to see if the meaning was clear to them and if it sounded natural. As she left, her new friend requested, “Please come back again and check more Scripture in my house.” When Luai asked why, her friend explained, “I don’t have a Bible. I sometimes go to church and listen to sermons, but I have never read the Bible for myself.”

Following her request, Luai has returned several times. The group of listeners has expanded to include several students from a local trade school. Luai testifies, “I praise God who chose me to translate the Bible into my own language. As I translate I see God and my eyes are opened. He has given many promises to those who follow him. He is faithful!”

Photos by Tim Scott

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A group of women and children perform a dance for visitors in Santo, Vanuatu. A country with approximately 113 languages, there could be as many as forty to fifty languages still requiring Bible translation work. Pray that God would provide the workers to help bring His Word to the people across Vanuatu in the language they understand best.

 

Photo:  Elyse Patten

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From Asia, we’ll be heading down to the countries in the Pacific. This infographic will help get you ready for the next three weeks as we dive into what God is doing in this region of the world.

 

Don’t forget that we’ll be spending the next three weeks on the Pacific. Check out our social media and follow our RSS feed to learn more!

Pacific_infographic_FINAL_6_5

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