This month, we celebrate retired Wycliffe staff member George Cowan’s 100th birthday. In honor of this significant milestone, we’d like to share with you a glimpse of George’s contribution to Bible translation over the decades.
In 1942, George moved to Mexico where he met and married his wife, Florence. During their time in Mexico, they studied the Mazatec language — one that can be spoken or whistled — and helped translate the New Testament, which was completed in 1961.
George has also held a number of leadership positions over the years. A few of these include director of SIL* Mexico (1951-1953), president of Wycliffe Bible Translators International (now called Wycliffe Global Alliance; 1956-1981) and director of linguistic schools in Canada, England, Germany and the United States. In addition, he regularly lectured at Perspectives courses from 1988-2008, and taught at Wycliffe’s orientation course for new members from 1981-2014.
But perhaps one of George’s best-known contributions has been as a prayer warrior. His dedication and passion to pray for the Bibleless peoples of the world has been an inspiration to many people over the years. George once said, “I’ve got more versions [of the Bible] than I know what to do with. But what about that poor guy out there [in a Bibleless group]? … He’s got nothing. What should I pray for him? … I can only ask that God give him the same as he’s given me.”
And so George has prayed that prayer and continues to do so. His example is a wonderful reminder to strive for faith and perseverance in our own prayers for people still waiting for the Bible in their own language. You are an inspiration, George. Happy 100th birthday!
*One of Wycliffe’s primary strategic partners.