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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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By Melissa Paredes

Over the next few days, Wycliffe has a lot of reasons to celebrate!

September 30 is Bible Translation Day, which the U.S. Congress set in place in 1966. For almost 50 years we’ve been celebrating this opportunity to honor the work of Bible translation around the world. To learn more about Bible Translation Day, read the history here.

Reasons to Celebrate2October 2 we’re hosting a Scripture celebration at our Orlando headquarters, rejoicing with 19 languages that have received God’s Word in their heart language this year. We’ll share photos and updates on our Facebook and Twitter accounts that day, and we’ll blog about the experience on October 3.

These two days are definitely worthy of excitement, and we want you to join us! That’s why we’re offering free admission to Wycliffe’s Discovery Center from September 29 to October 3. During your visit you’ll encounter people, languages and cultures, and you’ll see firsthand the impact that Bible translation is having around the world. Bring your kids, friends, family, neighbors or anyone you know who is looking for a fun, free day spent together in Orlando.

Reasons to CelebrateSo join us this week in celebrating what God has done throughout history and what he is doing today. His name is being spread throughout the world, and hopefully one day soon all peoples will know that he speaks their language too.

To see pictures from the Scripture celebration, or to stay updated on what’s happening with Wycliffe’s work around the world, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Words and photo by Rodney Ballard

Featured Photo From the Field--Celebrating God's Printed Word

Urs Ernst smiles as he inspects the newly completed Makaa New Testament, in print for the first time. Urs, who joined the project in 2000, was the translation consultant working with Dan and Teresa Heath who have served as exegete and linguist respectively since the project’s beginning in 1978. This is a celebration of the completion of the typesetting, with two copies of the New Testament having been printed in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The main printing will be in South Korea and is expected to arrive in Cameroon for the New Testament’s dedication in 2015.

 

 

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By Melissa Chesnut
Did you know there’s a day set apart worldwide to honor the work of Bible translation? Well there is, and we’re excited to tell you about it!

In 1966, Wycliffe founder Cameron Townsend first shared an idea with Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris, his friend of several years.

“September 30 is St. Jerome’s Day,” Cam said. “He’s the first translator of the whole Bible. I thought maybe we could get the House and Senate to pass a resolution calling for the president to proclaim September 30 as Bible Translation Day.”

Harris liked the idea and agreed to propose the resolution in the Senate. Soon Cam received word that the resolution passed!

Bible Translation Day1

On September 30, 1966, a ceremony was held to proclaim that day as Bible Translation Day. Since the Apache New Testament had only recently been completed, Cam decided they should present that translation as part of the ceremony. Senator Harris presided, and Cam arranged for Britton Goode, the Apache who had helped the translators, to present the Scriptures to him and Congressman Ben Reifel. A Sioux Indian from South Dakota, Reifel had witnessed firsthand the impact that owning the Bible in her heart language had on his mother, who spoke only broken English and used the Sioux Bible to teach her children about God.

Several people gave speeches that day, including both Senator Harris and Congressman Reifel. Cam’s speech was, as always, one that left the group in attendance encouraged and inspired.

“We are making history. By God’s grace and with His help, we are taking part in a tremendous enterprise,” said Cam, as he began his speech. “The enterprise is Bible translation; the goal is hearts changed by God and disciples equipped to lead others to Christ. But before any translation can be done, before any change comes in a heart, we must overcome physical and language barriers.

“The language barrier is difficult to overcome. But it must be done. The Holy Spirit, speaking through John says, ‘After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb’ (Revelation 7:9, NIV). We believe God has called us to help make this verse come true. …

“This is not an impossible task. If it were, God would not have given it to us. But it is difficult. It takes hard work, dedication, perseverance, and commitment. Teachers at Wycliffe’s schools have helped thousands of students learn translation and literacy principles, but we lack people who are willing to go. Many don’t realize how Bible translation is still needed around the world.”bible Translation Day2

In the years since Cam first started Wycliffe, 518 language groups have received the entire Bible and 1,275 have the New Testament in the language they understand best. Additionally, over 1,500 Bible translation projects are currently in process.

Today, Wycliffe continues to carry on the tradition of celebrating Bible Translation Day. With unwavering focus towards the unfinished task at hand, Wycliffe seeks to pursue the goal that Cam so eloquently laid out in his speech—that of bringing the translated Word of God into every language that still needs it.

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Spring Scripture Celebration

paradeWycliffe USA staff gathered in Orlando on March 14 to celebrate sixteen completed New Testaments! Several speakers shared stories* about newly translated Scriptures in Ghana, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Europe, and performance poet Shawn Welcome delighted the audience with poems about the Words of God and living water.

Here are a few highlights from the presentation notes of Wycliffe USA President Bob Creson’s closing speech:

“Alfred is a Nooni speaker in Cameroon, West Africa, and a translation consultant in training for the six Misaje languages. Alfred is supervising the technical part of the six-language Misaje translation program.

“In October of 2012, for the first time ever, the number of Bible translation needs dropped below two thousand. I wanted to share this good news with all of you, so I wrote to all worldwide staff.

“The day I wrote, Dave Lux, a member of Wycliffe USA and an advisor to the Misaje cluster of languages, opened my e-mail on a remote mountaintop in Lassen, Cameroon.

“At the same time he read my email, Dave said he witnessed the first sharing of new Scripture in the six Misaje languages. Dave wrote, “The Misaje translators yesterday afternoon divided up their newly printed books of the parables of Luke for distribution. It struck me as an historic moment. It was quite unknown by the world, and equally uncared for by the world, but from God’s perspective it was precious to see these men taking steps for the first time for the six language groups to have the printed Scriptures.”

“Dave sent me a picture of this event— Alfred Njinyoh is right there. If I didn’t have the background from Dave, Alfred would be anonymous—unnoticed, but a critical part of that translation project.

“Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:26–29, NLT).

“This event on a remote and unknown mountain top in Cameroon, witnessed by unknown men and women who speak languages that are unknown and insignificant in human terms are all part of a large event and important to God. Six more communities are hearing the Good News in their mother tongue; six fewer communities without any of the Word.”

Completed Scripture

Please praise God together with us as we celebrate these completed New Testaments, representing over two million people who now have access to God’s Word in their own language!

  • Bakairí New Testament, 950 speakers, Brazil
  • Bariai New Testament with Genesis and Exodus, 1,380 speakers, Papua New Guinea
  • Bedjond New Testament, 36,000 speakers, Chad
  • Bolinao New Testament, 50,000 speakers, Philippines
  • Helong New Testament with Genesis and 63 hymns, 14,000 speakers, Timor
  • Kenga New Testament, 40,000 speakers, Chad
  • Merey New Testament, 10,000 speakers, Cameroon
  • Pokomchi New Testament, 90,000 speakers, Guatemala
  • Koorte New Testament, 170,000 speakers, Ethiopia
  • Sinte-Romani New Testament, 318,920 speakers, Europe
  • Alune New Testament, 20,000 speakers, Indonesia
  • Gamo, Gofa, and Dawro New Testaments, 1,240,000 speakers, Ethiopia
  • Nawuri New Testament, 16,000 speakers, Ghana
  • Nadëb New Testament, 400 speakers, Brazil

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 In the upcoming weeks, we will be posting three of the stories that were shared during the Spring Scripture Celebration.

 

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Translation Team Bible study at Ate Bea's house.

“…your faithful service is an offering to God…” (Philippians 2:17b, NLT).

February 28 marked the sixtieth anniversary of SIL International’s original work agreement with the government of the Philippines.

At the invitation of Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, SIL Philippines began Bible translation and language development in 1953. It was SIL’s first initiative in Asia. In the sixty years since 1953, SIL has provided linguistic research and vernacular materials in almost 100 languages/dialects of the Philippines.

For each month in 2013, SIL Philippines will designate a different theme to celebrate the sixty years. This first month highlights the history around the initial invitation given to a still-young Summer Institute of Linguistics (the former name of SIL International.)

This article was originally posted on the Wycliffe PrayToday blog. Click here to read the full story.

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By Katie Kuykendall

“And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, ‘Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.’ So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them” (Nehemiah 8:11-12, NLT).

On Friday morning, Wycliffe USA in Orlando was bursting with the sounds of shouts, cheers, drums, tambourines, and more as hundreds gathered together to make a joyful noise to the Lord.

A crowd of people waved colorful flags, handkerchiefs, and balloons as they paraded into the large auditorium full of Wycliffe staff, family, and friends ready to celebrate. At the front of the procession, several people carried a hand-carved and decorated wooden box full of Scripture translations.

These books represent twenty-five language groups all over the world that now have God’s Word. They also serve as a reminder of all that God has done to bless Bible translation work in the past year. We are one step closer to seeing Wycliffe’s vision become a reality—that Scripture would be accessible to all people in the language of their heart.

“When you think about Wycliffe Bible Translators, I want you to start thinking about the number zero—zero unreached people groups; zero Bible translation needs,” said Bob Creson, president of Wycliffe USA. “Did you know that in our lifetime, that’s a possibility?  We’re the first generation that can say that with a lot of certainty. It is right in front of us.”

Today there are more people with access to God’s Word than ever before in history. They now have the chance to engage with Scripture so that God can change their hearts and transform their lives.

“This God of the universe reached down, the Word became flesh, and He moved into our village,” Bob said. “He spoke the language of our heart. We got to hear this Good News message in a language that we relate to best. And now this Word—this Jesus—is going door-to-door in village after village. He’s knocking on doors and He’s calling out to people in a language they can relate to best.”

We were grateful for the chance to spend a morning celebrating with those communities of the world that now have God’s Word in their own language.

Now you can join us in praying for the remaining Bibleless people groups through a new series on our PrayToday blog. “Your Prayers, His Word, Their Hope” is a series celebrating thirty years of the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project, with daily prayer prompts focused on the people groups still waiting for God’s Word in their language. Click here to participate in this exciting series!

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