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Archive for November, 2014

By Hannah Weiand

In a recent conversation with a stranger, I mentioned that I was starting a writing internship with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Suddenly his eyes lit up and he shot up straight in his chair. He said, “Wow! What, do you speak, like, Hebrew or something?!” I couldn’t help but laugh as I told him that, no, I wasn’t a translator; no, I don’t know 15 languages; and no, I don’t speak Hebrew.

Peter Knapp's desk at Pacific Islands University, Guam.

While many incredibly gifted people at Wycliffe Bible Translators do serve as translators overseas, there is so much more to Bible translation than, well, translation. When some people find out that we work for Wycliffe, they often ask, “So, how many languages do you speak?”, and think that in order to work for Wycliffe, you have to be a linguist or a translator, but that’s not the case.  Some people come to work for Wycliffe after growing up with missionaries for parents, so they speak two or three languages. Others, as mentioned before, have experience in linguistics and have many languages in their repertoire. And then there are people like me, who are passionate about Bible translation and all that God is doing through it, but due to various circumstances, speak only one language. Here’s why:

Wycliffe needs more than just translators!

There is so much that goes into Bible translation, and we need people like you to help make it happen! Wycliffe needs translators, but it also needs teachers, writers, artists, marketing analysts, accountants, administrators, IT specialists, and the list goes on.  There are needs to be filled in many categories and in positions all over the world!

You might also be surprised to learn that Wycliffe is more than a translation agency. Yes, our vision is to see the Bible translated so that people all over the world can understand it in their own language, but Wycliffe’s heart isn’t just to translate text. We reach out through literacy programs, health programs, audio and video translations, and more to make an impact on the community. Everyone on the Wycliffe team may share a vision for Bible translation, but not necessarily share an in-depth knowledge and understanding of linguistics.

Ann Kuy (Philippines) interviews Patience Kasuwa Bwoi from Nigeria

So whether you are interested in translating the Bible or supporting Bible translation through other skills, we need you! In the end, each position with Wycliffe helps make Bible translation happen, and if you speak 1, 2, or even 20 languages, you can make a difference in reaching this goal!

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By Richard Gretsky

When Ken and Joyce Prettol returned to America after four decades of working with Wycliffe Bible Translators on three different continents, a number of cultural differences stood out to them. None may have been quite as stark as the difference between how Americans and Indians view food.

Value of Eating - Food Tray

“Indians have such a high level of awareness of their food,” Joyce recalled. Like many people, they enjoy the taste of their food, but more than anything, the Prettols noticed a gratefulness and constant vigilance among their Indian colleagues to think of those without much food.

“Our Christian Indian colleagues always pray for people who don’t have any food. Coming back to America, we see that we’ve lost that sensitivity to people who don’t have food,” Joyce stated.

“In the US, we’ve become quite calloused,” Ken added. “In India, many Christians see the massive amount of people who don’t have food and are empathetic towards them. They pray for them regularly and help them when they can. Maybe that’s why they enjoy their food so much, because they realize that people around them often go hungry.”

Regardless of where they live—whether it be America, Asia, or elsewhere—the Prettols have learned from their Indian colleagues to be truly thankful for what they have, whether it’s material possessions, cultural history, or the very food they eat.

“You may not have a lot of food,” the Prettols say, “but what we’ve learned is that it’s a matter of being grateful for what you have and feeling compassion for those around you.”

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Food Aid

By Konlan Kpeebi

Konlan works for the Ghana Institute of Literacy, Linguistics and Bible Translation (GILLBT) as translation coordinator and as the Konni language Bible translation project manager.

 

I was at the Koma area recently to distribute some grain to the blind and the elderly as well as to some of our literacy facilitators.  The Koma people live in abject and chronic poverty because of their living environment. There was serious flooding in northern Ghana, which brought in its wake, wanton destruction of farms and the loss of lives.

This further exacerbated the plight of the Koma people who are already vulnerable because of their location in Ghana. The Koma people live mainly in the northern sector of Ghana. Their villages are in an area sometimes called “overseas” by their neighbours, because each of the major paths leading to the area cross rivers which are impassable by vehicles in the rainy season. As a result of their isolation, food aid hardly gets to them.

After learning this, I was motivated by Christian love and reminded that our Lord and Master Jesus Christ fed the multitude that followed him when they were hungry. But above all, I was challenged by what author Dewi Hughes said about Christian ministry in the book, God of the Poor: A Biblical Vision of God’s Present Rule:

“Our response to poverty is a crucial test of our faith. It is impossible to really know Jesus and be indifferent to the plight of the poor.”

We have, therefore, been praying that the Lord would meet their needs, and He answered our prayers through someone who gave us funds to help some of the flood victims. With those funds, we were able to buy some maize for them. We were able to serve 36 blind people, as well as some elderly people and some of our literacy facilitators. In all, we were able to serve about 50 families.

Food Aid - Konlan Kpeebi

After the distribution, they were full of praise and appreciation, and this was what some of them had to say:

“We are very happy for the gifts today, and I think we are a privileged generation. Most of our parents who were blind died in suffering. This year would have been a difficult year for us because, if those who can see did not get food, it would have been worst for us, the blind. So, we are very grateful. May God bless the one who has sent this gift.”

Another used a Koma proverb to express his appreciation. “The fingernails also help in fighting. Anything done out of love lasts. This food will feed my family and me for over one month. May God richly bless the one who has given us this wonderful gift.”

When Jesus was on earth, He proclaimed the gospel, healed the sick, and fed the hungry. The demonstration of the gospel was not simply through preaching, but through service. Providing food aid opened the door to connecting these people with the Word.

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By Hannah Weiand

 

Wycliffe has so many amazing events and opportunities coming this spring! Opportunities include events, trips and internships. View full list

 

TOTAL IT UP!

Discover the field of linguistics and Bible translation at this five-day course. Build meaningful relationships, hear personal testimonies and learn how you can get involved!

 

EXPLORE WYCLIFFE

Here’s a one-day session with long-term impact! Find out more about Bible translation, explore opportunities and meet Wycliffe missionaries who can answer all your questions.

 

RACE TO 2025

Raise your heart rate while raising support for Bible translation! This is the ultimate three-day team adventure, filled with the adrenaline rush of extreme sports and challenges in support of Bible translation.

 

DISCOVER

Discover short-term service with long-term impact through these internships and international trips! Each offers an amazing opportunity to dive in and experience what it’s like to support Bible translation. Trips offer three tracks to match your interest level. Click for details about tracks and opportunities.

Track 1

  • Tanzania, Africa | June 2 – June 25| Focus: Information Technology Click for details
  • Papua New Guinea | July 20 – August 15 |Focus: Education, Medical Service, and more Click for details
  • Southeast Asia | July 20 – August 15 | Focus: Translation, Linguistics Click for details
  • Germany | August 6 – August 25 |Focus: Children’s Education, Linguistics, Translation Click for details

Track 2

  • Papua New Guinea | June 7 – August 3 | Focus: Translation and a variety of service roles Click for details
  • Southeast Asia | June 10 – August 7 | Focus: Linguistics and a variety of service roles Click for details
  • Benin, Africa | June 25 – August 5 | Focus: Linguistics, Bible Translation and a variety of support roles Click for details

 

Internships

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By Jon Hampshire with Richard Gretsky

During my years at Bible college, I committed to serve God “anytime, anywhere, and in any capacity.” Accordingly, the Lord led my wife, Cindi, and me on an incredible journey which took us, along with our two little girls, to language study in France, on to cultural orientation in Kenya, and into the rain forest of eastern Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC). The needs were great and the work was intense. And after having been selected to direct the work in the Congo, I became more and more busy, taking on more responsibility and tasks. I saw the enormity of the needs and I knew that the challenges that our Congolese brothers and sisters faced were overwhelming. I just wanted to help in every way I was able, and I did so for many years.

Five years into the director’s role, strange physical symptoms began to affect me: accelerated heart rate, nausea, dizziness, and extreme fatigue. As the symptoms worsened, I got scared, seemingly taken over by an anxiety that I had never experienced before. Visits to the best heart doctor in Kenya, as well as to a neurologist and a general practitioner, only revealed that on paper, I was healthy.

I thought maybe I was going crazy—a fearful thought for a person who felt he always had things under control and whom others looked to for leadership in times of crisis.

The truth is, years of directing translation work in a country that was at war—bringing insecurities, dangers, and numerous unknowns—had taken its toll. I had become depleted in just about every way. (It came to the point where I literally couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without being completely and utterly exhausted.)

Burned Out - Bunyakiri Office

Then, while I was at a conference out of the country, some of my colleagues intervened. They said that I was burned out and in serious danger. I knew they were right.

Changes had to be made. With my family’s support, I began seeing a counselor to help guide me to the path of healing. I started delegating responsibilities that weren’t essential to my job, and even some that were. I rested. I spent time with the Lord.

And God met me in the pit—a fact that moves me deeply, even today. With comfort, encouragement, and love, He was there with me. I knew He was in control in spite of my pain, and I began to see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

With time, I began to heal.

Now that I am stronger and most of my symptoms have gone (though I still deal with some), I am able to reflect on that difficult time with more clarity.

Because I witnessed God’s power and goodness in that time, I recognized that I could trust Him whether He healed me or not, and I realized that it is only by His grace that true healing comes.

Burned Out - Jon and Cindi at Easter

Yes, I burned out, but God, in His deep and never-ending love, was with me at every moment, just as He promised He would be. So I don’t regret having spent some time in the pit, because it was there that I grew to know God more deeply.

And having been there, I am now able to encourage others who find themselves in similar situations—to make wise decisions, to set good boundaries, and above all else, to seek and trust the Lord.

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Kate and Mack just finished a long trip around the world, learning how 12 countries celebrate Christmas. Some countries celebrate it much like we do in the U.S., but some celebrate it quite differently. Kate and Mack are here to help your kids and families learn about the diversity in Christmas traditions!

We’re so excited about these lessons, and we wanted to give you a sneak peak of the fun your family can have over the next few weeks.

Want to sign up? Visit wycliffe.org/12-days-of-christmas! And if you love the lessons and want to keep traveling with Kate and Mack, you can stay connected with all their travels at wycliffe.org/a-z. They’re having adventures you won’t want to miss!

12_days_of_Christmas_cover

12_days_of_Christmas_2Argentina activity

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Bennett is a Sudanese translator who experienced God’s hand of provision in a dramatic and miraculous way.

“God spared my life and the life of my family for translation work,” he says. And Bennett believes that God will make a way for every person in South Sudan to have Scripture translated in their own language.

Bennett’s story began when he dedicated himself to translating Scripture into the Baka language spoken by his people. But soon after, civil war erupted in Sudan and vicious fighting drove Bennett and his family out of their home in Maridi.

Almost everyone in his village was killed in the attack. Many others died on the 100-mile walk through the forests to a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite these terrible hardships, Bennett’s resolve to translate God’s Word did not waver. Soon others in the camp began to share his desire for Scripture translation.

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Word spread and Wycliffe had the great privilege to come alongside these Baka Christians to help provide training and support to move Bible translation forward in their language. With the help of generous partners like you, Bennett’s translation team worked in the Congo for seven years until the war ended in Sudan.

When Bennett was about to return home, he was arrested, torn from his family and forced to witness the execution of eight men. Then the soldiers came to kill Bennett.

That was the day a miracle happened!

“God entered into them,” says Bennett, and the soldiers suddenly changed their minds. In a moment they were transformed from grim executioners into bodyguards that accompanied Bennett on his journey back to Sudan.

With an unshakeable confidence in God’s provision, Bennett has overcome many other obstacles since that day. He knows beyond a doubt that God wants him to bring Scripture to the Baka people in the language they understand best — so they too can experience the transforming love of God.

You can help provide the Bible’s message of hope to war-weary people by mobilizing courageous South Sudanese translators like Bennett. Donations will be matched — dollar-for-dollar — to double in impact and bring God’s Word to more people in South Sudan, and bring it sooner. Visit wycliffe.org/SouthSudan to give today.

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