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Posts Tagged ‘missionary’

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 Alison Compton Ngallaba

Alison first went to Tanzania with Wycliffe in 2006, serving as a linguist and literacy advisor. In 2012 she married Solomon Ngallaba, a Tanzanian. The Ngallaba’s are currently on furlough in the United States.

It was December 2003 when I received a letter from Wycliffe Bible Translators accepting me as a missionary. As I reflect back on my calling into the ministry of Bible translation, I realize the Scripture God used to call me is just as relevant now as it was then.

My journey to missions started in 2002 when I was working at Johnson University. I developed a thirst for learning more about the Bible. Even though I had a Bible degree from Johnson, I was excited about the Word in a new way and was thirsty for more. So I signed up to take Greek on my lunch break. One day a Bible translator spoke to our Greek class advocating for Bibleless people. I was shocked! I thought everyone had a Bible. (I grew up here in the “Bible Belt,” after all.)

I kept thinking about the Bibleless people. I couldn’t get them out of my mind. The Word meant so much to me! What would it be like to be without the Bible? But I didn’t think I could possibly go.

This same semester, I attended Bible Study Fellowship on Monday nights. We were studying the Gospel of John. One verse captured my heart and convicted me, leading me into missions: In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, two of John’s disciples saw Jesus pass by. They followed Him. Jesus knew He was being followed; He turned around and asked them, “What do you want?” They wanted to know where He was staying. Jesus’ reply is what got me: “Come, and you will see.”

Over the next nine or ten months, I thought of those Bibleless people. And I was filled with a long list of doubts and fears. “God, I don’t speak any language except English.” He replied, “Come, and you will see.” “God, I’ve never lived anywhere but Tennessee! Can I really move overseas?” God replied, “Come, and you will see.” “God, what if I get sick?” “Come, and you will see.” “What if I miss my family?” “Come, and you will see.” “What if something bad happens?” “Come, and you will see.”

This continued until I finally said, “Yes, Lord, I will come!” I’ve never regretted that decision even for one day.

Now here I am, a decade later. I still find myself filled with doubts and fears. “God, what will it be like to live in the United States for a year? I haven’t lived here for that long since 2005!” “Come, and you will see.” “God, what will it be like being a mom and raising our daughter overseas?” “Come, and you will see.” “How will we live in America on an African budget?” “Come, and you will see.”

Just as it took me some months to say, “Yes, Lord, I’ll come!” I find myself in that process again. I am slowly uncurling my anxiously clenched hands and letting God fill them. He is faithful and His Words are true.

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By Hannah Weiand

In a recent conversation with a stranger, I mentioned that I was starting a writing internship with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Suddenly his eyes lit up and he shot up straight in his chair. He said, “Wow! What, do you speak, like, Hebrew or something?!” I couldn’t help but laugh as I told him that, no, I wasn’t a translator; no, I don’t know 15 languages; and no, I don’t speak Hebrew.

Peter Knapp's desk at Pacific Islands University, Guam.

While many incredibly gifted people at Wycliffe Bible Translators do serve as translators overseas, there is so much more to Bible translation than, well, translation. When some people find out that we work for Wycliffe, they often ask, “So, how many languages do you speak?”, and think that in order to work for Wycliffe, you have to be a linguist or a translator, but that’s not the case.  Some people come to work for Wycliffe after growing up with missionaries for parents, so they speak two or three languages. Others, as mentioned before, have experience in linguistics and have many languages in their repertoire. And then there are people like me, who are passionate about Bible translation and all that God is doing through it, but due to various circumstances, speak only one language. Here’s why:

Wycliffe needs more than just translators!

There is so much that goes into Bible translation, and we need people like you to help make it happen! Wycliffe needs translators, but it also needs teachers, writers, artists, marketing analysts, accountants, administrators, IT specialists, and the list goes on.  There are needs to be filled in many categories and in positions all over the world!

You might also be surprised to learn that Wycliffe is more than a translation agency. Yes, our vision is to see the Bible translated so that people all over the world can understand it in their own language, but Wycliffe’s heart isn’t just to translate text. We reach out through literacy programs, health programs, audio and video translations, and more to make an impact on the community. Everyone on the Wycliffe team may share a vision for Bible translation, but not necessarily share an in-depth knowledge and understanding of linguistics.

Ann Kuy (Philippines) interviews Patience Kasuwa Bwoi from Nigeria

So whether you are interested in translating the Bible or supporting Bible translation through other skills, we need you! In the end, each position with Wycliffe helps make Bible translation happen, and if you speak 1, 2, or even 20 languages, you can make a difference in reaching this goal!

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By Tim Lithgow with Richard Gretsky

In the early 1980s, Barbara Hardin and Linda Weisenburger settled on the Papua New Guinean coast, a few hours’ drive north of Madang, where they planned to study the Maia—the local language—and translate the Bible into it. But they soon discovered that the local people weren’t very interested in their own language, content to converse in English and the trade language of Pigin. Discouraged, it wasn’t long before the two women seriously considering giving up.

Then one day some people from a neighboring village, who also spoke Maia, came and asked the women to help translate their language. Barbara and Linda were reserved because of their previous attempts with the language group, but encouraged enough that the people reached out to them, that they agreed to help, moving their work to the new village. However, despite the fervent support of a few Maia people, many others were not interested in the language program. Logistical challenges, like having to be helicoptered in during the wet season due to a deteriorating road, added to the emotional difficulty of pouring themselves into the project with many setbacks, struggles, and low interest from the community.

New Sounds in the Night—Dusk

Year in, year out, they worked for many years—facing the challenges inherent to rural Bible translation.

Finally, their work came to an end, and they were ready to hold a Scripture celebration to dedicate portions of the Bible in Maia. Genesis, Ruth, Matthew, Mark, Acts, and a few epistles (in print form and on Audibibles*) were to be presented. In the midst of preparations, Barbara and Linda were encouraged that the community worked together to prepare for the ceremony.

On the dedication day, the people’s excitement showed, as dancers escorted visitors into the village, actors presented dramas depicting the truth of God’s Word protecting people from evil, and public speakers reminded the community of the importance of having Scripture in their own language.

As the sun set over the jungle, the nightly noise of the cicadas and other tropical creatures was mixed with the sound of Maia Scriptures being played on the Audibibles*. Groups of people throughout the village were finally listening to the life-changing message of God’s Word in their mother tongue.

*Audibibles are pre-recorded mp3 players with portions of Scripture stored on them.

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We often underestimate the power of prayer to change the world around us. But as the examples in this video show, our prayers can help change people’s lives in significant ways. And just by praying, you can help people get a Bible translation in their language.

Visit wycliffe.org/prayer to learn how you can start impacting lives through prayer 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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When Luke Elliott graduated high school, he didn’t know what he wanted to study in college, but he had a strong interest in missions. So after talking with his pastor, he decided to spend a year working with Wycliffe missionaries in Papua New Guinea, learning more about overseas missions and discovering his own strengths and interests.

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