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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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A teacher teaches a class of children how to read and write.

Did you know that September 8 is International Literacy Day? It’s a day set aside to not only celebrate and rediscover the joys of reading, but to also raise awareness about the literacy struggles that people face all around the world.

Imagine not being able to read. What would your life be like? Whether you consider yourself an avid reader or not, we read every single day. Text messages, emails, billboards, menus, articles, blogs, news stories … even what our friends post on social media! Reading is integral to our lives, yet millions of people around the world haven’t had the opportunity to learn this important skill.

You can help change that.

And it all begins with something as simple as collecting your loose pocket change.

Join Kate and Mack on their latest adventure through their “Pocket Change Challenge.” It’s an easy way to teach your kids about giving while promoting a need that we can help tangibly meet. No matter how old you are — whether you’re five years old and just learning to read or 75 years old with years of reading behind us — you can play a part! We especially want to encourage young kids to get excited about reading. How amazing would it be that they can make a difference by helping kids, just like them, learn how to read?

Because when people learn how to read, they’re given the ability to read the most important book of all — God’s Word in their heart language.

Join us in celebrating International Literacy Day! If you love to read or simply know the benefits of this life-changing skill, consider doing something to help someone else learn how to read, too.

Photo by Zeke du Plessis

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By Melissa Chesnut

Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God. We need it daily—to hear from Him, and to talk to Him.

Yet all too often, it’s easy to forget just how important it is to stop and talk to God. We get caught up in the daily happenings of life, and prayer can easily be something we perform out of habit—at mealtime and bedtime, and when that crazy driver cuts us off and we need an extra measure of patience.

A Day to Pray

But prayer should be so much more than that!

On November 11, Wycliffe staff from around the world are setting aside a day to pray, specifically on behalf of the nations of the world. This has been a tradition for Wycliffe since 1933, but we’ll tell you more about that later. Tune in on Monday for more information about this special day, and consider joining us virtually from wherever you are in the world! Stop and take a moment to pray for the people around the world who are still waiting to know that God speaks their language. 

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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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The Impact of Women in Literacy and Education

By Katie Kuykendall

DSC_0344I take great delight in losing myself in a good book, and I come by it honestly. I remember my mom always reading some kind of novel or devotional in her spare time when I was growing up, and she encouraged my sister and me to do the same. For years our holiday tradition was to curl up on the couch with her on Christmas Eve while she read us a Christmas story.

My mom’s mom, another lover of books, is a retired librarian—always reading, always learning. To this day most of my family members can expect to receive a book from my grandma every Christmas. I once turned my room into a library, just like Grandma’s, so friends and neighborhood kids could check out books from my bookshelf. I even wrote a few stories of my own as a kid.

Whenever I walk into a used book store, the smell of aging pages and ink triggers strong memories of Grandma’s house, where my sister and I would rummage through countless bookshelves stocked full of stories, history books, and the like. I could always count on Grandma to counsel me about the importance of expanding my mind, reading every chance I got, and taking full advantage of any chance to get an education.

All my life, these matriarchs of my family have been shaping me into a woman who values literacy and takes pride in her education. That’s why I was proud to graduate from the same college they both attended.

They’ve also taught me to consider myself a lifelong learner. I’d say I’ve learned at least as much from authors as I have from my own experiences, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer.

And for as long as I can remember, they’ve also been wise enough to teach me the importance of caring not just for my mind, but for my soul. I’ve always had at least one copy of the Bible to call my own. That’s how I got to know my Savior, learned to recognize His ways, and first found comfort in His promises.

So naturally the idea of kids growing up without these opportunities doesn’t sit well with me.

As a writer for Wycliffe, I recently traveled to Senegal where Wycliffe is funding literacy classes* for a minority language group. Girls there grow up following in very different footsteps. Until recently, educating women has never been a priority, and it’s still a big struggle now. And they’re not alone—66 million girls worldwide aren’t in school today.

686Sedhiou00546I met little girls whose mothers have never read to them because they don’t know how. And I looked into the eyes of teenage girls hurtling toward adulthood with a warped view of themselves and their families because they were never allowed an education.

They don’t have bookshelves like my grandma’s or even a single book in their homes, and they’ll never be encouraged to attend secondary school or college like I was. In many cases, it will actually be considered a waste of time and money to educate them.

And although the New Testament is planned to be printed in their language in 2015, they might never be able to read it for themselves like I have.

These girls haven’t had examples of driven, educated women to follow like I did. But their children can.

Through these free classes that allow them to learn in their language, they can be motivated women who understand the benefits of literacy and education. They can be moms and grandmas who instill that value in their families, and they can be agents of change for their communities.

*This literacy project is being coordinated by SIL International, Wycliffe’s primary strategic partner. Wycliffe funds projects like this because we want to see God’s Word accessible to all people in the language of their heart, and literacy is foundational to understanding translated Scripture. The Seed Company, another ministry partner, is currently translating the New Testament for this people group.

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Origami%20Dvu%20Heart

Need something to do with your school-age children or Sunday school class for Valentine’s Day? Check out our brand new children’s lesson on love. It features a real-life story from
Cameroon
 about how the Hdi translation team discovered the correct word for “unconditional love.”

The lesson features a heart drawing for younger kids to color and an origami heart craft and skit for older kids to participate in. We’d love for you to take a picture of your kids’ creations and post it on our Facebook page!

Valentine’s Day Lesson: Three Ways to Love in Hdi

Other FREE children’s curriculum from Wycliffe

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Just a few years ago a nomadic shepherd community in Asia was dead-set against girls learning to read and write. They feared that girls would write illicit love letters to boys, ruin their lives, and bring dishonor upon their families.

Thankfully some courageous community members saw the injustice and stepped up to put an end to this damaging traditional view. They began by using mother-tongue curriculum to teach their own daughters and nieces.

Today there are twenty-five “mobile school” literacy centers in the area, and the majority of the students are nomadic shepherd girls. Some of the girls are reading through the Gospel of Luke in their own language. Now no shepherd wants his daughters left behind, spurned as potential brides because they cannot read and write. Literacy has brought honor and new horizons to these girls and their families!

Pray that the demand for literature continues to grow, and that translation continues in order to meet that demand. Pray that those who read will understand and believe. Praise God that this community has drastically changed its opinion about the need for literacy, creating opportunities for more people to encounter God’s Word in their language!

Photo is representative of the people in this story and may not be the actual group involved.

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