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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

DSCN1710“The urgency to give the Bible to the people is high. We are committed to make sure we aren’t making the remaining people groups wait too long,” says Wycliffe Togo Director, Antonin Azoti. “In order to make it happen, we can’t do it the same way we did 30 years ago. These days it’s quite unthinkable that we would carry out Bible translation without the proper technology. But a lack of equipment is holding us back.”

Wycliffe Togo staff shares available computers, taking shifts to do their work online. This leads to delayed communication and a slowed workflow. Antonin’s goal is to provide the head of each department — Accounting, IT, Communications and Human Resources — with a computer and have 2-3 additional machines for department staff and volunteers to share.

Because budgets are tight, the organization relies on volunteer workers, but the lack of technology also makes it difficult to recruit volunteers. Antonin explains, “The minimum that we can provide volunteers who are willing to give of their time, is a computer to use when they are serving Wycliffe. In our country tablets and computers are not yet widespread. You can’t count on the person to have their own.”

IMG_0485On a visit to Wycliffe USA headquarters in November, Antonin received a stock of refurbished laptops and tablets from the IT department — including several donated through Wycliffe’s “Donate Your Stuff” program. When packing up the devices for his flight home, Antonin shared, “Thank you! To take these back is a great encouragement to the team! We’ve been praying for a time when not having enough equipment won’t be a challenge anymore. These donations contributed to bringing about such a time.”

Please consider donating your unused electronics to Wycliffe. We can turn them into financial support for Bible translation, and in some cases we can send the items to translation projects with technology needs. To learn more, visit Wycliffe.org/donateyourstuff or call 1-800-992-5433.

UPDATE: We are deeply saddened to learn that Antonin’s wife, Adakouvi Grace, passed away on Jan. 15 while traveling to Benin. Please join us in prayer for Antonin and their two children during this immensely difficult time.

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Wycliffe USA President Bob Creson and his wife, Dallas, thank all of those around the world who have played a role in furthering Bible translation through their partnership with Wycliffe. In their message, Bob and Dallas also discuss the life change that happened in the Bum people as a result of receiving the New Testament in their own language.

During their Scripture celebration, two Bum chiefs rejoiced over the arrival of the New Testament by bringing the Scriptures in on a throne-like bench normally reserved for men of their high position. This act represents the fact that the Bum now consider God’s Word to be their highest form of authority. Bob and Dallas express their joy over the fact that the Bum and many others now have access to God’s Word in their own language this Christmas and can personally know the Prince of Peace.

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“Bible translation is not for people who are perfect. It is not for people who have it all. [It is for] people who know [God] and want to work in faith with him. And then their lives will be unfolding into beauty –– into something very beautiful.”

Lydia Teera was only a teenager in Kampala, Uganda, when she lost her father to HIV. His death left her orphaned, but it also left her confused, frustrated and betrayed. Lydia had not known that her father was battling the disease. He had kept it a secret from her and the church community in which he served for his entire life.

In the wake of Mr. Teera’s passing, Pastor Tim Kibirige and his wife provided Lydia with a home. Though they did not have much to offer her in the way of financial support, what they did offer is something that changed her life forever –– the healing power of God’s Word. While living with the pastor and his wife, Lydia began to study the Bible. She came face-to-face with God, the giver of all hope. As a result, Lydia began to slowly heal from the scars of her past. But through reading Scripture, she was also able to look toward the future with purpose. In the comforting arms of her Heavenly Father, Lydia found the home she had lost.

As she studied the Bible, Lydia grew more and more passionate about serving God in any way she could. God led her to Wycliffe Bible Translators, where Lydia became the first Wycliffe missionary sent out from Uganda. Initially she grappled with the decision to become a missionary. But as Lydia prayed, she recognized an important truth. “I’m part of a church,” she reminded herself. “And we’ve been called to go and serve. Then why not go?”

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Lydia, like many others, grasped the mission of Bible translation. She realized how much God had changed her own heart and life through Scripture. Today she is still committed to share that vision, purpose and hope with the people around her.

Each December 1 is recognized as World AIDS Day –– an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. And though it may only have been a piece of Lydia’s story, through encountering and grieving this disease, God drew Lydia into a relationship with himself and ultimately allowed her to share her story with many others. He took Lydia’s broken circumstances and unfolded them into beauty, as only he can.

On the surface, it might seem like Bible translation has little to do with World AIDS Day. After all, the Bible is not a medical manual, written to save the body. But for those suffering from the pain of HIV/AIDS, God’s Word offers something that no doctor can provide — hope and healing for eternity.

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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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Words and Photo by Katie Kuykendall

In a dimly lit church, this young Senegalese man studies his Bible intently by the light of a single window. The members of this congregation speak Creole, Manjak, and the national language – French. Though French is not the language most of them know best, many only have access to French Bibles and glean what they can from the text despite their limited understanding.

One Manjak pastor said, “Sometimes people don’t understand the Bible in French. Sometimes we read it in Creole [in church], and only some understand. But when we read it in Manjak, everybody understands.”

Another Senegalese man said, “God’s Word is something of greatness, and it’s for all.”

As a team translates Scripture into Manjak, it’s already transforming hearts. Watch the story of one man whose life changed as a result of the Gospel in his language.

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“It is a surprise to me to hear someone reading the Word of God in Lubwisi,” said Kijanjaalo Christopher, a 72-year-old Babwisi man from Uganda. His community speaks Lubwisi as their heart language, though their Bibles don’t reflect that. “This was impossible for us to have the Word of God written in Lubwisi because, in terms of finance, we are not qualified because we are poor.”

Many Babwisi people have a real thirst for the Bible. Without Lubwisi Scripture, the church has struggled to develop strong leaders who can teach effectively. Pastor Bakasoma Michael said, “There is no way the Babwisi community will understand the Savior when they do not have the Lubwisi Bible, which they can understand. As pastors, we struggled to understand the words of the Bibles that are not in our language.”

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In recent years, God has answered the prayers of Kijanjaalo Christopher, Pastor Bakasoma Michael and countless other Babwisi people by providing four educated, dedicated Babwisi men to translate their Scriptures. Since 2006, the Babwisi have partnered with Wycliffe and the Seed Company in Bible translation. Today they’ve completed the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament, which will be dedicated in June 2015.

But the Babwisi need help getting the Bibles printed. Wycliffe is working with the Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce to print and deliver 5,000 Bibles to the Babwisi this summer, and you can help us. A donation of just $8.50 — less than the cost of eating one meal out — provides a Bible. Visit Bibles for Babwisi to learn how you can get involved today.

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Will the Job Be Done - Translators (Elyse Patten)

If you’ve been following Wycliffe’s work for a while now, you’re probably familiar with our mission to see a Bible translation program in progress in every language still needing one by 2025. As that date rapidly approaches, some people have asked, “Once you reach that goal, will your work be done?” Definitely not!

You see, our ultimate goal is for everyone on earth to have access to God’s Word in the languages they understand best. That means we’ll have to finish every Bible translation we start. And even after every translation is complete, many will need to be revised. Because of the way languages change over time, Bible translation will continue to be a need until the day Christ returns!

So while starting a Bible translation for every language that needs one by 2025 is a critical goal, it’s definitely not the end goal.

This post is part of our Wycliffe 101 series. Click here to read the previous post, or here to start at the beginning.

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