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Archive for October, 2015

We’re All in This Together

all in this together

By Melissa Petersen

Melissa serves as a communications specialist at Wycliffe USA.

Every year new missionaries embark on the journey of a lifetime — a career with Wycliffe. For many, that career will take them hundreds or thousands of miles away from home and the familiar faces of the ones they love. Some will serve in large cities, others in remote areas. But no matter where they serve, no matter how far from home, they will cling to the support of loved ones — faithful friends and family who are backing them in this God-appointed adventure.

Leah Veil is one such missionary. She’s currently building a team of prayer and financial partners in preparation to serve as a registered nurse in Papua New Guinea. In the coming months, Leah will encounter many new experiences — some thrilling, some exhausting and perhaps even some that are scary. But Leah goes with the knowledge that a team of faithful partners is not only backing her in what she does, but is literally making her journey possible. She isn’t a lone missionary acting in obedience to God. She’s a brave representative acting on behalf of each of the amazing men and women who are sending her.

Leah says, “I have a picture that I love. It was taken in a tiny, dirt-floored room in Guatemala. You notice the faces in the photograph, brightening the room with radiant smiles — mine and the smiles of two women I worked with during my six months in Guatemala. This photo is so precious to me because it graphically shows how, when two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, he is there with them (Matthew 18:20).

“Not too long ago, I had a dream. The only thing in the dream was that picture. Only it was different. In place of many of the original faces were faces of people I’ve never met before. In place of the two women from the ministry team were the faces of my friends and family. The message of the dream was clear –– missions is not about individual missionaries. It’s about the body of Christ standing together to paint a portrait of Christ for the lost to see. It’s about coming together to accomplish the Great Commission.”

Leah and other missionaries like her rely heavily on the support and encouragement of their partners. Even though it will be her feet on the ground, those partners will be there with her in many ways. And once Leah settles in to her work, she will link arms with other men and women who will work alongside her to fulfill God’s purpose. Missions truly is about the body of Christ working to bring God’s Word of hope and healing to everyone.

Without question, we’re all in this together.

Guatemala

Whether you are called to go and serve like Leah is, or to participate by becoming a part of a ministry team like the one she is building, we encourage you to think about how you can be involved in the work God is doing around the world!

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Dr. Eddie Lane and his wife, Betty

Dr. Eddie Lane and Betty, his wife of 55 years

“Bob, what is your plan for diversity at Wycliffe Bible Translators?” That was one of the first questions Dr. Eddie Lane asked newly appointed President and CEO of Wycliffe USA, Bob Creson. Bob always had a high value for diversity, but he knew now that he was also going to be held accountable by his Board for promoting diversity among the staff and membership of the mission.

Dr. Eddie Lane served on the Board of Directors of Wycliffe USA for nine years from 2001 to 2010. During that time he offered his deep spiritual wisdom and quiet compassion to Wycliffe. Dr. Lane was also the founder and senior pastor of Bibleway Bible Church of Dallas from 1967 to the day he graduated to glory on October 15, 2015. Bibleway is the home church of Wycliffe members Gertrude and Kevin Nicholas.

Born in August 1939, during his 76 years Eddie earned his Diploma from Southern Bible Institute, his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas, his Masters of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Divinity from Denver Seminary. He taught at Southern Bible Institute, Dallas Bible College and Dallas Theological Seminary. Besides founding Bibleway Bible Church in 1967, he also founded the Institute for Black Family Renewal in 1992 and the Black Family Press in 1994. In addition to that he authored nine books, including The Cattle on a Thousand Hills: Learning to Pray Through God’s Word.

Eddie was a barrier breaker all his life. He was one of the first black students ever at Dallas Theological Seminary and became their first black administrative staff member in 1975 and their first black faculty member in 1982 where he taught for 30 years until he retired as Associate Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries.
Dr. Eddie Lane, with Wycliffe USA President Bob Creson

Dr. Eddie Lane, with Bob Creson, Wycliffe USA President

In remembering Dr. Lane, Wycliffe’s President Bob Creson said, “Eddie did not speak about going out and doing great things. He just did them and changed many lives along the course of his life. Wycliffe USA is a different and better ministry because of his influence. We thank God for Eddie and pray for his bride of 55 years, Betty Lane, as well as the rest of his children and grandchildren. We will all miss Eddie.”

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A Book Like No Other

A Book Like No Other

The Bible tell us that when God spoke, all of creation came into existence. When Jesus spoke, the lame walked, the blind saw and the dead were raised to life. Today that same power remains alive and active through God’s Word, the Bible.

This beautiful book is a celebration of the gift God has given us in the Bible and of the many people around the world who are discovering hope and joy through the Bible translated into their languages for the first time.

This book is available for purchase at the Wycliffe Shop, and it’s the perfect gift for family, friends and neighbors this holiday season. But maybe you want to take a look inside to see what this book offers before making a purchase. You can do that here!

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Touba village chief

Bright eyes, a warm smile, and inviting laughter: this Senegalese man can’t contain his joy.  A powerful change recently came to his community in Senegal – fathers began allowing, and encouraging, their daughters to attend school for the first time.

It’s not uncommon for girls in many places around the world to be taught that they do not belong in the classroom. Since schooling is costly and money is always tight, many families believe it’s more worthwhile to invest in educating their brothers and male peers.

But thankfully, new opportunities like minority language literacy classes and Bible translation programs are causing more people to see the value of education for everyone. Watch this video to learn how literacy is bringing new hope to families.

Photo & Words: Katie Kuykendall

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Roger and Joan Fisher owned the farm where Roger grew up, which had been given to them by Roger’s father many years before. The land was used by a tenant farmer who, over the years, had expressed an interest in purchasing the land. But for sentimental reasons, the Fishers had declined to sell the property to the farmer.

Eventually, circumstances caused Roger and Joan to change their minds. The time required to manage the land was too great since they lived 1,400 miles away. While Roger’s family owned the land, the value of the property had increased greatly — so much so that when they started preparing the land for sale, they ran into a major obstacle: They would need to pay $158,000 in capital gains taxes!

Cattle feed hay bales in Centreville, Colorado

The Fishers met with a Wycliffe Foundation gift planning advisor to discuss their situation and share their goals for the land sale. They desired four key things: to sell the land without a large payout of capital gains taxes; replace the rental income they had been receiving from the tenant farmer; make charitable gifts to several ministries; and leave part of the proceeds to their children.

The gift planning advisor outlined a plan that could accomplish their objectives. By gifting undivided interest in the land to a charitable remainder trust and a Wycliffe donor-advised fund, they were able to draw an income for their lifetimes that is 25 percent more than they were receiving from the farm rental income. They were also able to make immediate grants to Wycliffe, their church and several other ministries. After all that, they kept an interest for themselves that will be part of the inheritance they leave their children. Together, the three owners (the Fishers, Wycliffe and the trust company) sold their interests to the tenant farmer and received their proportionate shares of the sale proceeds.

Through this tax-wise plan, Roger and Joan were thrilled they could accomplish their goals of providing for themselves, their children and the work of God’s kingdom. Joan says, “God’s Word has made such an impact on our lives — giving us direction, hope and joy. We want that same life-changing power for others. Our resources are a gift from God and we are blessed to be able to invest them into Bible translation for speakers of other languages.”

If you’d like to learn more about including Wycliffe Bible Translators in your estate plans, including the donation of land, charitable remainder trusts, or donor-advised funds, please contact us (toll-free) at 1-877-493-3600 or visit wycliffefoundation.org.

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celebration

“Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.” – Psalm 57:5 (NLT)

This verse wasn’t just the theme for this year’s Scripture Celebration –– it was also the prayer and longing of the hearts of everyone in attendance.

On September 30, a Scripture Celebration took place not only at Wycliffe USA Headquarters, but all around the world, thanks to live-stream! (If you missed the celebration, you can watch it here.). It was a morning filled with rejoicing through worship, video testimonials, photos and stories as we celebrated with sixteen different language communities around the world who have recently received Scripture. On a vibrant display at the front of the stage were copies of Scriptures from each language community — some now have access to the Psalms or the Book of Luke, while others have complete Old or New Testaments. And some now have the entire Bible in their own language!

Testimonies from a few of the language communities represented were shared throughout the morning as well. There were stories from the Culina in Peru –– a group who waited 60 years from the time translation began until the time the New Testament was delivered into their hands in July of 2015. One Wycliffe couple, Dick and Nadine Clark, have been praying for this particular translation project for 40 years!

“I hope I have the opportunity to pray for something for that long,” Hannah Weiand expressed as she talked about the Culina from the stage. “Be it just one translation project or be it this work in general, I want prayer to be part of my legacy. … We need to continue praying, because the work is not done. And at the same time we’re praying, we can rejoice because of all of the translations we have today.”

There were also stories from the Kandawo in Papua New Guinea, a relatively small language community who number around 5,000. In a video, the Kandawo expressed their joy at receiving the Scriptures in their own language through a skit. This skit depicted what it feels like to receive God’s Word in a language that is not your own and doesn’t speak to your heart. But then, the Kandawo exemplified, through the acting of the skit, what happened when they received the Bible in the language that spoke to their heart: joy, hope, thanksgiving and defeat over their spiritual enemy. It was a beautiful display of what God’s Word truly means to those who receive it in their language for the first time.

Amid worship songs, testimonials and beautiful photographs, the Scripture Celebration reminded everyone in attendance of the reason the lives and hearts of so many have been changed –– prayer. The event was rooted in prayer for language communities around the world –– both those who have already received the gospel in their own language, and especially those who haven’t.

Praise God for events like the Scripture Celebration that remind us to pause and take time to be thankful for how he continues to work in the lives of people around the world. May his glory shine over all the earth!

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“The Quechuas … did not only want half a Bible. They wanted the whole thing.”

When Rick and his wife Melanie moved to Peru in 1981 and started translating the Wanca Quechua New Testament, they couldn’t imagine that 25 years later, they would be celebrating its completion. After living in Peru for so long, Rick and Melanie then decided to move to California where he now teaches linguistics courses at Biola University. It would seem like the end of his translation story, right?

Not quite. In fact, Rick continues to work with the Quechua team via Skype on a translation of the Old Testament. And as time has passed, something amazing has begun to happen –– the team is growing! Today it includes students in Rick’s capstone course who are working with the Quechua team virtually to edit and translate text. The entire experience is powerful to watch unfold. “Students participating in this way, it’s the difference between reading a recipe and cooking and eating the banquet,” Rick said. Because of the project, some of Rick’s students have even taken time out of their schedules post-graduation and accompanied him to work with the translators in person — all the way in Peru!

DSC_2748

For Rick and his team, the translation project is more than just a job. “There is a knowledge that comes to us as North American translators from afar that we might not have had, had we not had the interaction with the Quechuas,” he explained. One particular passage — the parable of the lost sheep — took Rick’s Quechua co-translator, Amador, by surprise.

“Nobody would just abandon all their sheep to search for the one that was lost,” Amador, said regarding the part where the shepherd had counted 99 sheep and noticed that one was missing. Amador explained that since sheep are the livelihood for his people, even his mother who is illiterate and cannot count would know if a sheep was missing from the flock.” Puzzled, Rick asked how this could be. Amador said that even though his mother cannot count, “she knows each and every sheep,” because she has an intimate knowledge of her flock.

The Quechua people taught Rick something new about God’s character through that famous parable. “Rather than being a numerical issue or a statistical issue with God [and the parable], it’s a relational issue,” Rick said. “[God] knows each and every one of us. … He knows us in ways that we can’t even imagine. But the Quechuas can.”

Rick was amazed by this newfound knowledge and view of God! “[We came] away with a perspective on the Scriptures and a perspective on [our] relationship with God that we did not expect.” And as he continues to work with the team, Rick is reminded that the work they do is important and life-changing, not just to those reading the finished translation, but to those translating too.

Story by Jennifer Stasak
Photo by Katie Kuykendall

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