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Archive for the ‘Missionary Spotlight’ Category

By Melissa Paredes

Have you ever wondered if what you’re doing with your life is making an impact? If what you’ve chosen as a career will last longer than just a couple years, giving you the chance to make a mark on the world? We all have a desire to leave a legacy, to make a difference in this world. And sometimes we get a glimpse of that impact.

A Legacy 25 Years in the Making3That’s how it was for Dave Schutt, a teacher at Faith Academy in Manila, Philippines. On January 10, 2014, students, alumni and faculty put together a surprise event to commemorate the 25 years that Dave dedicated to countless students. And what a surprise it was!

In the months leading up to the event, Faith Academy faculty had created a hidden Facebook group, requesting that former colleagues, alumni and current students share something about Dave — a favorite memory, an old picture or a thank-you expressing how their life has been directly impacted by his commitment to teaching.

Dave’s legacy at Faith Academy goes all the way back to 1989, when he and his wife, Tammy, moved to the Philippines. That August he began teaching, and he has continued to do so ever since then. A Legacy 25 Years in the MakingHe’s taught multiple classes throughout the years, depending on what has been needed — Algebra I and II, pre-Calculus, AP Calculus, physical education and weights. He’s also coached wrestling, boys’ volleyball, track and field, boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball.

I myself was privileged to have Dave as a teacher for several classes throughout high school. In fact, he’s probably the only reason my algebra classes were bearable! Somehow he made math fun, and I could see that he genuinely cared for us — both as a class and as individuals.

That genuine care was clearly noted by many students and faculty throughout the years, as the overwhelming response to Dave’s 25 year celebration attested. The impact he’s had on so many people was evident by the countless comments and pictures that were shared.

A Legacy 25 Years in the Making2But what’s kept him teaching for so many years? “God has been faithful,” Dave shared. “And Faith [Academy] is such a great school for us and our kids!”

“I have no regrets!” Dave said about his tenure at the school. “It’s a great ministry and Wycliffe and SIL have also been a great support to me as I teach and support their children.”

Teaching is a wonderful way to touch many lives — perhaps countless more than we could ever even begin to imagine. And for Dave Schutt, it’s been a legacy 25 years in the making.

Learn more about how you can touch lives and make an impact by serving with Wycliffe through teaching.

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When Luke Elliott graduated high school, he didn’t know what he wanted to study in college, but he had a strong interest in missions. So after talking with his pastor, he decided to spend a year working with Wycliffe missionaries in Papua New Guinea, learning more about overseas missions and discovering his own strengths and interests.

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By Bill Gardner with Richard Gretsky

DCF 1.0While my wife and I were serving with Wycliffe in Africa, I was asked to teach linguistics to university students, first in Mozambique (in Portuguese) and then in Kenya (in English). I hadn’t originally set out to be a teacher—I actually studied electrical engineering in college—but it has gone so well that my wife and I have been invited to teach full-time at one of Wycliffe’s training programs in North America. We are really looking forward to it!

Why do we love teaching linguistics? What motivates us? It’s the people. When you are training you often have three different groups of people, and each type is uniquely valuable. The first group is those who really struggle learning the concepts. With them, we’re happy to simply help them move forward. Excelling - Lori TeachingThe second group is those who learn what we teach and apply it, confidently able to do the work themselves. Both of those are fine, but it’s the third group that really encourages and speaks to us. They are the people we train who really run with the information; they’re the ones who learn the material and immediately start looking for pastors and other people to teach.

Again, all people are valuable, but it’s those moments when everything clicks for someone and they catch a passion for what they’ve just learned—that’s truly what we live for!

My goal as a linguistics teacher is to be like a master craftsman, apprenticing others to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to be successful and effective out in the field. And my hope is that some of those journeymen will in turn go on to train others. That’s what the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to do: “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” (2 Timothy 2:2, NLT).

It has been so rewarding to see Africans we have trained go on to become Bible translators and translation and Scripture engagement consultants—putting into practice what they have learned and also passing it on to others. That’s one of the most important things that keeps us motivated in teaching students and helping pass on the vision for bringing God’s Word to everyone who still needs it.

And we’re happy to fulfill that role.

Excelling - Gardner Group Pic

For over 30 years, William and his wife, Lori, have worked as linguists with Wycliffe. During that time, they’ve lived in the Philippines, Republic of the Congo, Mozambique and Kenya, and will soon be heading to Canada to teach at the Canada Institute of Linguistics. To find out more, read about how Bill has applied his skills in “Engineering Translation.”

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On Saturday, Sept. 27 Bob Creson presented Bobby Gruenewald with the 2014 Scripture Impact Award at LifeChurch.tv’s Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, campus. Bobby is a pastor and innovation leader at LifeChurch.tv, where he explores new ideas and searches for practical ways to leverage them for the global church. In that capacity, he founded and oversees YouVersion, a smartphone app that provides free access to more than 1,000 versions of Scripture in more than 700 languages. Since it was launched in 2008, YouVersion has been downloaded more than 153 million times.

Bobby received the award in recognition of his contributions to Scripture engagement and to bring an end to Bible illiteracy.

“As Wycliffe USA advances rapidly toward our goal of seeing a Bible translation project in progress in every language still needing one by 2025, we’re increasingly mindful of the importance of finding innovative ways to expand access to and opportunities to engage with those translations,” Creson said. “Bobby Gruenewald and his team at LifeChurch.tv have revolutionized the way people all around the world access Scripture in the language they know and understand best. We’re honored to recognize their contributions to the global church with the 2014 Scripture Impact Award, and we look forward to continuing to work with Bobby and his team.”

IMG_6523Wycliffe USA created the Scripture Impact Award in 2003 to honor the late Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International (now Cru in the U.S.), in celebration of his love for the Lord and the Scriptures. The award commends men and women who have a passion for the Bible and demonstrate a personal commitment of mind, will, resources and influence to see that God’s Word reaches, engages and changes people.

“Bobby has a unique passion and vision for using technology as a tool for missions and for building Christ-centered relationships,” said Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv. “His gifts and his commitment to using them for God’s glory are a blessing not only to LifeChurch.tv but to the global church.”

In celebration of the Scripture Impact Award to Gruenewald and YouVersion’s partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators, LifeChurch.tv wrote a devotional for YouVersion called “The Impact of Scripture.” LifeChurch.tv and Wycliffe translated the devotional into five additional languages – Spanish, Chinese Traditional & Simplified, Korean and Brazilian Portuguese some of the most popular languages in the Bible app.

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By Bill Gardner with Richard Gretsky

For over 30 years, William and his wife, Lori, have worked as linguists with Wycliffe. During that time, they’ve lived in the Philippines, Republic of the Congo, Mozambique and Kenya, and will soon be heading to Canada to teach at the Canada Institute of Linguistics.

I often tell folks I meet: “I studied electrical engineering, and it led me directly into Bible translation.” After they chuckle, I go on to say that I am only half joking. Although the two fields aren’t normally thought of as compatible, the skills I learned in engineering, e.g. how to analyze systems and use computers, have benefited me greatly in my work with Wycliffe.

For example:

If you can think like an engineer, you can think like a linguist.

DCF 1.0In engineering, I was taught to think in extremely precise, regimented and highly technical ways. This is also necessary for linguistic work.

Linguistics is all about analyzing the various systems in languages: the phonology (sound system), morphosyntax (grammatical system), semantics and pragmatics (meaning systems) and sociolinguistics (social system). These are all crucial elements for effective Bible translation and Scripture engagement. For people to be able to learn to read the Bible in their own language, Wycliffe’s teams need to analyze the sound system and the sociolinguistic context, and develop an orthography (writing system) for that language. Teams also need to understand the semantics and morphosyntax of the language in order to develop dictionaries and make decisions on how to translate key terms.

You might be surprised how far computer skills can take you.

Back when I studied computers in college, we were still using punch cards (things have come a long way since then!), but the computing skills I learned as an engineering student have continued to serve me well. I regularly use wonderful programs that help perform tasks like analyzing the sound system of a language and translating the Bible into another language. And now people can consult halfway around the world by email and programs like Skype. This technology greatly facilitates the work of Bible translation.

So, although Bible translation wasn’t what I had in mind when I got my education, my training in analyzing systems and in using computers was a big part of what enabled me to work with Wycliffe.Engineering Translation - Lori Teaching 2

I had no idea that I could use my electrical engineering skills to excel at Bible translation, but I have been able to. How might your skills be useful in Bible translation?

*There are many kinds of roles in Bible translation, including engineers. To learn more, check out the jobs on our career page: https://www.wycliffe.org/go/career.

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In the late 1980s, John and Bonnie Nystrom came alongside several men from Arop village in Papua New Guinea to translate the Bible into the local language. But a decade later, a massive tsunami took the lives of many in Arop village, including one of the translators.

Wycliffe Bible Translators is proud to present this short film about the Nystrom family and the sacrifice, teamwork and faith of the Aitape West Translation Project team in the face of tragedy. We encourage you to set aside an evening to watch it with your family, or share it with your church and other members of your community. Grab a cup of coffee or some popcorn and enjoy this film together! And don’t forget to download the accompanying discussion questions so your group can further engage with the Arop story.

Visit wycliffe.org/arop for more information about the film and translation project.

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By Richard Gretsky

Simply Faithful - Farefare PrimerSome people think of missionaries as super-human—leaping the entire breadth of the Atlantic Ocean in one bound, leading entire countries to Jesus, all while dodging flights of arrows. But that’s not what they are. Most are pretty normal, actually; except that they’ve committed to roll up their sleeves, travel far from home, and serve however they can.

Such is the case with Bob and Nancy Schaefer.

They were both raised on dairy farms in the Ozarks, but didn’t meet until college. Then, in the summer of 1969, they got married and joined Wycliffe.

Assigned to Ghana in 1971—the same year their son Paul was born—they moved to the Farefare village of Zuarungu in April 1972. Later, they welcomed two more children into their family—one in 1974 and one in 1977.

Bob and Nancy acclimated quickly to a life of translation in the village, as the diligence necessary for it closely mirrored the “farmers’ hours” they experienced growing up in Missouri and Arkansas.

For forty-two years, the Schaefers passionately worked with local Ghanaian translators to provide Bibles for multiple people groups.Simply Faithful - Bob and Buli

Their down-to-earth, diligent effort translating Scripture has paid great dividends for the local people: in 1986, the Schaefers and their local team finished the Farefare New Testament, followed by the Buli New Testatment in 1996, the Birifor New Testament in 2006, and the full Farefare Bible in 2008. They expect to finish the full Buli Bible in 2015.

To this day, they still live there (as does their son, who works with a neighboring people group) helping to translate the Scriptures. Since 1983, their job has slowly shifted from strictly translation to primarily serving as consultants for local translators—something they speak fondly of.

“You have to be prepared not to seek position for yourself, but rather to help others be in the position to do the work of Bible translation,” Bob said.

“In most of our work, more or less, we are offering shoulders to stand on,” Nancy added. “[And] the thing that stands out to me is absolutely how much you can learn from the people that you work with.”

Simply Faithful - Zindo ClassWith the help of those people, these selfless farmers-turned-translators have enabled many more people to access God’s Word in their own language. So when talking about missionaries’ success, this couple may not be super-human, but they’ve played a major role in leading people to Jesus, and that’s super enough for them.

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