Posts Tagged ‘education’

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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By Bill Gardner with Richard Gretsky

Many people think that Bible translation has been a recent phenomenon that really only started in the last 150 years or so. But the reality of Bible translation’s history might surprise you.

Bible Translation Through the Ages - John Wycliffe

Bible translation actually began even before Jesus was born! Around 200 B.C. many Jews were living in Egypt where they no longer fluently spoke Hebrew or Aramaic, but instead spoke Greek as their mother tongue. (Egypt had been conquered by Alexander the Great.) Since the Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew with a few sections in Aramaic, they decided to translate it into Greek, beginning with the Torah (the five books of Moses). This Greek Old Testament became known as the Septuagint, and was used widely among Jews and then among Christians. In fact many of the quotes in the New Testament are from the Greek Old Testament.

At first the early Christian church used the Greek Old and New Testaments. But after a couple centuries, people decided they needed the Bible in their own languages, so the whole Bible was eventually translated into some of the most widely spoken languages in the world (i.e. Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Ethiopic, etc).1 But as those languages changed over time (e.g., Latin became various Romance languages like French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish), their translations became archaic, “holy” translations, which most people no longer understood at all.

After another 1,000 years a second major wave of Bible translation happened, around the time of the Reformation. While John Wycliffe had earlier translated the Bible from Latin into English, William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale translated the Bible into early modern English from Greek and Hebrew. Around that time, Martin Luther did the same for German and others did so for Spanish, Portuguese, French, etc.2 With the invention of the printing press in the early 1400s, people could more easily access, read and understand the Bible. It led to transformation in individuals, communities and societies all across Europe.

The third major wave of Bible translation began about 200 years ago. During the 19th century, God’s Word was translated into almost 500 languages all across the world.1 The 20th century saw the birth of Wycliffe Bible Translators and other Bible translation organizations, and significantly saw more than 1,000 new Bible translations. And the pace of Bible translation has continued to increase during the 21st century.

Bible Translation through the Ages - Africa

Today, we have the honor and privilege to participate in a movement that God has been orchestrating for centuries. By serving, praying, and fiscally supporting the work of Bible translation, we truly make a difference.

Let’s all work together so that soon all people groups can hear God speak to them in their own language.
[1] Silzer, Peter. “An Overview of Bible Translation Through History.” Lecture, Biola University, La Mirada, 2005.

2 Scriptures of the World: A Compilation of the 1,946 Languages in Which at Least One Book of the Bible Has Been Published since the Bible Was First Printed by Johann Gutenberg. London: United Bible Societies, 1990. 41.

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By Melissa Paredes

“I want you in full-time ministry,” God told him.

This calling came out of the blue for Steve. After all, he was enjoying his life and work as a band and choir teacher near Spokane, Washington. He and his family had a great community of friends, and they even saw themselves staying in Spokane long-term. But it seemed God had other plans for them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen recalling the day he heard God’s voice, Steve admits he was hoping for more details from God. After all, he didn’t feel qualified spiritually, and his particular gifts didn’t seem to fit the mold of full-time ministry. Steve thought about possibly going to Bible college to further his education, but that wasn’t something he really wanted to do — he’d already received an education and loved what he did! He was confused by God’s call and didn’t know what it meant for him and his family.

A year later, Steve happened to meet a Wycliffe recruiter who told him about the remaining need for Bible translation in almost 2,000 languages. But Steve still didn’t see where he fit. “There’s no way I could be a Bible translator!” Steve shared. And isn’t that what he would have to do if he worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators?

But then Steve learned something exciting — something that seemed to answer that haunting question of where his gifts fit in ministry. The recruiter told him that Wycliffe needs teachers, particularly for missionary kids. Even music teachers!

This news struck a chord with Steve. He had a set of gifts and qualifications that could be used right away, and in full-time ministry!

So in 2006, Steve and his family moved to Papua New Guinea where he now teaches at Ukarumpa International School. And through teaching, Steve’s making a difference in the lives of his students, their families and even those who are still waiting for the Bible in their own language.

Steve Blake 1

“I’m helping God’s Word reach new places, new hearts,” Steve shared. “It’s cool to hear parents say, ‘We wouldn’t be missionaries here if it wasn’t for the school.’ These parents are able to focus on translation, literacy and other work because they know their children are being given a solid education.”

And it’s true. When people like Steve use the gifts God has given them for his glory, they’re contributing to the work of Bible translation. Every role is important in this work — even teaching music to missionary kids. It’s just a matter of faithfully answering God’s call when you hear his voice.

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By Melissa Paredes

Many of us in the Western world forget that literacy is a privilege — one that many people across the world don’t experience. Learning to read and write is a skill that opens doors to countless education and career opportunities, as well as direct access to the Word of God. Yet many have never even had the opportunity to learn how to write their own name.

That’s why literacy classes are so crucial, and are one way that Wycliffe desires to bring hope to communities. Without this foundation, written Scriptures won’t be able to touch the hearts and lives of those receiving God’s Word in their language for the first time.

In a community in Bangladesh, an adult literacy class is opening new opportunities as students learn to read and write in Bangla, the national language of the country.

Prior to attending the literacy course, many of the adults had never had the opportunity to hold a pencil or a book. Now they are not only holding pencils, but also learning to write! And they are learning how to read books so that they can continue to expand their knowledge.

Hope Through Written Words

Photo by Zeke du Plessis

Many had also never learned to write their name, so they had to use their fingerprint as their signature on legal documents. Now, they’re able to sign documents with confidence.

Around 25 people, from the ages of 20 to 50, are participating in the literacy program, which lasts for eight months.

Everyone has a different reason for joining the group. For some it’s the chance to finish their childhood education; for others it’s the first classroom opportunity they’ve had in their life. One woman shared, “Now I can count out the amount, pay bills and take change from the shopkeeper.”

Whatever their past educational background, this is a great opportunity for them to sit in a class and learn these valuable new skills.

Many work hard throughout the day before coming to class in the evening. It’s a big commitment, but they want to keep learning. They tell their instructors, “We want to learn more, not stop here. Please don’t leave us.” Despite the challenges, their interest has helped them continue, and all are making progress.

As the adults learn how to read better, they’re able to delve into deeper topics relevant to their community. The books they read also help them learn interesting stories to tell their children, and now parents are growing more confident in helping their children with reading and writing assignments from school.

As these adults learn valuable literacy skills, attitudes are changing. More and more people are seizing the opportunity to take literacy classes, and access to these classes is helping these adults take further steps in developing their communities, and even their country.

Literacy offers a chance to change a life, bring hope, and open the door to a new world of opportunities. But most importantly, it gives people the opportunity to learn how to read the Scriptures— the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive. There is hope found through written words, and this community is experiencing that firsthand.

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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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By Richard Gretsky

WThe Sweaty Side - Grouphen Luke Shaver heard about the Race to 2025, a Wycliffe adventure race that promotes Bible translation and sheds light on the translation process, he jumped at the chance, and joined a team Wycliffe put together from various schools.

Within weeks the quartet stood at the finish line covered in snow, sweat and smiles. Luke knew he had to share this awesome experience with others.

After praying about the best way forward, Luke started “Voice for the Bibleless,” an on-campus club that raises Bible translation awareness and supports efforts to reach more languages with translation.

In 2014 many students from the club got involved in the Race to 2025, and another team is slated to participate this coming year. Luke is ecstatic that so many are getting involved and are spreading the news about Bible translation.

The Sweaty Side - WildernessMeanwhile, Luke’s own adventure is just beginning. Upon graduating he plans to join Wycliffe and get linguistic training so he can enter a new race — the race to reach every language still waiting with their own Bible translation.

To see the race in action, check out this video!


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By Heather Pubols*

Born for Translation

Some people are born for translation. Well, at least in this case, that is actually sort of true. Betty (pictured back left) leads the team translating the Bible into the Nukuoru language. Her mother was the first one in her family to be involved in translation. She helped the team translating the New Testament into Nukuoru.

Betty shared with us that when she was young she sensed that God wanted her to work in translation like her mother had done. After years of education including Bible college and coursework to learn biblical and modern Hebrew in Israel, Betty continued the translation work for which her mother had been involved. Now, Betty and her team hope to complete the Old Testament so that the whole Bible in Nukuoro can be finished by the end of the year.

The team works from the Micronesian island of Pohnpei were many from the community have settled. Their home island is a boat-ride away from Pohnpei and is still inhabited by a few hundred Nukuoran people.

* Heather is the Director of the Wycliffe News Network. This story first appeared at: http://www.thepubols.com/2013/05/31/born-for-translation/ The photo of the Nukuoran Bible translation team was taken by Elyse Patten.

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