Posts Tagged ‘culture’



We’d like to give you a sneak peek of the Wycliffe calendar — check out these beautiful scenes and imagine yourself there. Each month has a different image and verse specifically chosen to help you visualize the beauty and truths of the Bible.




For over 30 years Wycliffe USA has created a calendar for the upcoming year, and for the last six years we’ve created a special theme for the calendar. This year’s calendar gives a glimpse of cultures and communities around the world. The theme is best summarized in the closing paragraph of our intro: “Our God is the God of all cultures and communities, and he is calling each of us to himself. And just as he promises, we will one day join together singing his praises for all eternity.”

This is a great way to be reminded of God’s heart for his people, and you can easily share this reminder with your friends and family. Purchase yours today!

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Kate & Mack are here3We’re so excited to share with you that as of this week, Wycliffe’s newest publication, “Around the World with Kate and Mack: A Look at Languages from A to Z” is available for purchase at shop.wycliffe.org. It’s definitely something you’ll want to add to your children’s bookshelves as they learn about the beauty of God’s creation and the diversity of his people!

Kate & Mack are here2In this book you and your family will be able to travel with Kate and Mack as they visit kids from all over the globe. You’ll meet Anna, Felipe, Kitella, Moses, Isabelle and others, learning more about their languages, cultures and a variety of fun facts that are unique to their countries. You’ll also learn about geography, maps and so much more!

And because we don’t want you to miss out on meeting Kate and Mack, we’re giving you a couple of sneak peeks from the book itself. But the fun doesn’t have to end with just the book. You can download interactive lessons and activities for your kids by visiting wycliffe.org/a-z right now! And don’t forget to sign up so we can notify you Kate & Mack are herewhen new activities are available.

In these activities your kids will help solve mazes, decode secret messages, learn what their name might be if they lived in Ghana (hint: people are often named after the day of the week they were born on!), and more. So what are you waiting for? Come travel with Kate and Mack today!

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By Bob Creson

When most of us think of Panama, we think of the Canal. Built 100 years ago at an enormous financial cost and with many lives lost, it remains one of the amazing wonders of Central America. The canal saves each ship that uses it almost 8,000 miles of sailing around the tip of South America. Almost there locks‘Widening’ of the canal is underway to accommodate post-Panamax ships that are more and more dominating the shipping industry. These ships are of such enormous size and capacity that the existing canal and locks cannot accommodate them.

While most of us don’t think about the minority people groups in Panama, they exist. The Kuna are one of those people groups. The Kuna people number around 165,000 and their homeland is the San Blas Islands — coral atolls that hug the eastern section of Panama’s Caribbean Coast. In addition, there are several Kuna villages in the jungle areas of Panama’s interior. In recent years many Kuna have moved to Panama City to take advantage of work and educational opportunities.

The translation of the Kuna Scriptures began almost 40 years ago. A Kuna pastor, Lino Smith, asked for help to provide a New Testament for his people. Kuna co-translatorsWorking alongside Pastor Lino, Keith and Wilma Forster began work amongst the Kuna. After the publication of the New Testament in 1995, the spiritual walk of believers significantly deepened. But the Kuna church wanted more! They wanted the whole Bible! So work on the Old Testament began.

The Kuna Bible — the 531st complete Bible (Old and New Testament) in the entire world — was dedicated in late September of 2014 in three locations. My wife, Dallas, and I attended the largest celebration held at Comunidad Apostólica Hosanna Church in Panama City. Celebrating with us were SIL Executive Director Freddy Boswell and his wife, Bekah, as well as several colleagues from Wycliffe USA.

It was an awe-inspiring moment when the Bible was brought into the auditorium. The ceremony, designed by Kuna Old Testament translators, reflected the way God’s people brought him offerings in the Old Testament. First came a man wearing a Jewish rabbi’s scarf and blowing on a shofar (a Jewish ram’s horn trumpet).   Then came four Celebratingteenage boys carrying an elaborate box supported by poles balanced on their shoulders. In the box was the new Bible, which the Kuna were offering to God as a gift, asking him to use it for his glory. The pastor leading the event proclaimed, “The Word of the Lord has arrived in Kuna!” With thunderous applause, the audience of 3,200 welcomed the Bible!

At a dinner following the celebration, Keith, Wilma and Bob Gunn (Wycliffe USA member and pastor) gave glory to God for the completion of the Scriptures and reminded those in attendance that they were ALL Bible translators! All contributed to the Kuna Bible and this celebration! The Scriptures would not have been completed without the prayer, financial and administrative support from the whole team.

The following morning, Sunday, we attended a much smaller worship event held at Crossroads Bible Church, where Bob is associate pastor and his son Steve is pastor. Bob led the morning service honoring Keith and Wilma and four Kuna translators who did the heavy lifting on the translation of the Old Testament. Crossroads is proud, yet humble, to have had the privilege of Choir with pianosupporting the Kuna translation project for 40 years. Outlining the history of the translation program, Bob mentioned that Keith and Wilma – as well as some in the congregation – were tempted on occasion to quit…but they didn’t. They persevered, and the Bible was completed.

Over the years, Crossroads has invested heavily in Bible translation for a number of people groups. As a reminder to the congregation, the church keeps copies of all the Scriptures they’ve helped produce in a glass-covered wooden cabinet. At the conclusion of the Sunday service, in unison, the four Kuna translators got up from their seats on the front row, went to the stand at the front of the church where the Kuna Bible rested, picked it up, carried it over to the cabinet, opened the glass cover, took out the Kuna New Testament that had lain there for 18 years, and replaced it with the just-completed whole Bible.

Many of us were in tears by this point. We recognized that we were witnessing something that had never existed before — the Word of God, the full counsel of God, available to the Kuna church. The work of translation is done; it is now in the hands of the Kuna church and the Holy Spirit of God…a good place to be.

Today there are about 30 Kuna churches on the San Blas Islands, 18 churches in and around Panama City, and several more churches scattered throughout Panama’s jungle mainland. God will be faithful to his Word — He always is. It is now firmly planted in the Kuna community and will accomplish all He wants it to accomplish.

You, too, are a vital part of the Bible translation ministry — a part of the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation starts ever witnessed. Thank you for your efforts! Your persistent investments are building God’s kingdom here on earth.

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By Catherine Rivard and Richard Gretsky

Early in life, Kristina lost two of her three children during childbirth. The emotional pain devastated her, but she was also very physically wounded. In the attempts to save the children and repair her ravaged body, Kristina underwent four agonizing surgeries. The trauma from these events lingered in her life for many years.

Later on, she was introduced to Christianity. And though the hurts from her life persisted, after a time, she placed her faith in Christ and began to follow Him.

Soon after that, she and twenty-nine other participants from seven languages were given the opportunity to attend an Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) workshop in Wewak, Papua New Guinea.

The courses at the workshop—divided into four modules that took place throughout the year—were designed to teach Papua New Guineans how to memorize and retell Scripture in a way that’s familiar in their culture where storytelling is an art.

After the first module, Kristina returned home and shared the Bible stories she had learned, but her husband was extremely unsupportive. He wouldn’t let her share the stories publically or attend the next training session. Kristina was disappointed, but instead of becoming angry, she humbly submitted to her husband and began praying that the Lord would transform his heart. Over time, God did soften her husband and, this past April, he allowed Kristina to attend the next phase of training.

In this phase, the participants listened to a recording of the Bible stories in the local trade language and then were recorded saying it back in their own. Kristina gently closed her eyes as the recorder played. As she listened to the story of Moses and the burning bush, she softly repeated what she heard into a second recorder—this time in her mother tongue.

Comforted by Story - Kristina and Friends

Kristina (left) and colleagues take part in an oral Bible storytelling session.

But Kristina was not just repeating those stories; she was uplifted by them.

“Listening to these stories about the Israelites has really encouraged me,” she said. “They were in difficult times, but God was bigger than that and rescued them. I know He’ll bring me through my Red Sea as well.”

Retelling Biblical stories has provided great comfort to Kristina, who now knows that God was with her during the loss of her children, her rough childbirths, and even during the period she had to wait for her husband’s blessing to attend the training.
That is why Kristina is dedicated to teaching Scripture, because she knows that hearing Bible stories can help change other people’s lives—no matter how deep their hurt.

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By Konlan Kpeebi with Melissa Paredes

Konlan Kpeebi works as a translator in his home country of Ghana. This is a testimony of his experience in one particular people group who came face to face with how important it is to have God’s Word in their heart language.

Most times when I go to the Koma area, it reinforces my view that we need to include rural evangelism as an integral part of our task of Bible translation and literacy among the Koma people. These are amazing people who are interested in listening to Bible stories, and their testimonies are also very inspirational.

One of our translation offices is located in a village in the Koma area. The village is divided into two sections. Each section has its own chief.

The two chiefs were Christians before becoming chiefs. However, since becoming chiefs, their relationship with the local pastor has not been good. As a result, one chief has now started following another major religion in the region, while the other chief has backslidden in his Christian faith.

The Wisdom of SolomonOn one visit to the village, I decided to visit the two chiefs and give them each a MegaVoice that plays translated stories from the Bible in Konni (the local language). After presenting them with the devices, I encouraged them to listen to the stories with their families. I also encouraged them that being a chief doesn’t mean they should abandon their Christian faith, because leadership is ordained by God. And since God has allowed them to be leaders, they should be living according to the Bible.

After I told them this, one chief said he was very happy to hear that, because he thought that once he became a traditional chief, he could not be a good Christian. That belief had made him reluctant to go to church.

I also took the opportunity to tell them about King Solomon and the wisdom he had, which we especially see in the story of the two women who were fighting over whose child was alive after one of them had lost her child. Without first telling them how King Solomon handled the case, I asked the two chiefs and their elders how they would have handled it. Before I told them how King Solomon solved the problem, all of them admitted that it was a difficult case. But King Solomon was able to solve the problem because God gave him wisdom to make the right decision.The Wisdom of Solomon 2

I learned that the chiefs and all their subjects had never heard this story of King Solomon, even after many years of attending church. But after I shared the story with them, it became the talk of the village and caused many people to yearn to hear more. This underscores the importance of translating the whole Bible into their heart language—Konni. Pray that the Holy Spirit will touch these chiefs and their families as they listen to God’s story.

Pray that as the Koma chiefs and elders continue to listen to Bible stories in their own language, they would give their lives to Christ.

You can also join us in praying for different language communities around the world—just like the Konni—asking God to hasten the work of translation so that they can clearly understand what His Word says. Visit www.wycliffe.org/pray to learn about ways to partner with us in prayer.

The Wisdom of Solomon 3


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By Melissa Paredes

It’s always a privilege to come together to celebrate God’s faithfulness as more people groups receive his Word in their own languages for the first time. And here at the Wycliffe USA headquarters in Orlando, we try to do that once a year. Yesterday, on October 2, we got to do just that!

UntitledThis year’s Scripture celebration theme was Psalm 119:114b, which says, “Your Word is my source of hope” (NLT). As we rejoiced over 17 languages, in 14 different countries, who recently receiving God’s Word in their heart language — some for the very first time — we were reminded over and over again of the truth of that verse.

Bible translation is hard work, and it often takes many years of perseverance before a community finally receives the Scriptures in their heart language. Translation is a labor of love, and that love was fully realized by these 17 language communities over the last months as dedications were held around the world, honoring and celebrating the completion of translations in their language.

But it’s not just a labor of love by translators. A Bible translation can only succeed when people work together to see it through to completion. It takes those who contribute to the work through prayer; those who make sacrifices by sending their loved ones abroad to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are in need; those who sacrifice time, energy or money; and so much more. Bible translation takes teams, and we see that clearly when the end result — God’s printed Word — is placed in the hands of those who have waited.

Untitled2So as we were reminded over and over again this morning, God’s Word is our source of hope. And today we celebrate 17 language communities who are now able to cling to that source of hope for themselves.

Here’s a beautiful video that shares how all of us are needed to make translation happen.

Here are the 17 languages we celebrated today, listed in alphabetical order.

Complete Bible

  • Jula — Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso (2,550,000 speakers)
  • Obolo — Nigeria (260,000 speakers)
  • Pennsylvania Dutch — United States and Canada (200,000 speakers)
  • San Blas Kuna — Panama (57,100 speakers)

New Testament

  • Arop-Lokep — Papua New Guinea (3,000 speakers)
  • Bodres (name changed for sensitivity purposes) — South Asia (100,000 speakers)
  • Kwaio — Solomon Islands (20,000 speakers)
  • Makonde – Mozambique (360,000 speakers).
  • Mankanya – Senegal (65,000 speakers). The Mankanya also received Genesis.
  • Maskelynes – Vanuatu (1,200 speakers).
  • San Antonio & San Jeronimo Tecoatl Mazatec – Mexico (34,000 speakers).
  • Muyang – Cameroon (30,000 speakers).
  • Mwani – Mozambique (120,000 speakers). The Mwani also received portions of the Old Testament.
  • Okphela – Nigeria (180,000 speakers).
  • Seimat – Papua New Guinea (1,500 speakers).
  • Tolaki – Indonesia (330,000 speakers).
  • Wapishana – Guyana (6,000 speakers) and Brazil (1,500 speakers).



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That’s a wrap on our time in Africa! In case you missed anything, here’s a recap of the highlights:

Thanks for joining us on this journey!

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