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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

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Isn’t it amazing how God often exceeds our wildest expectations when we pray?

Wycliffe recently partnered with Moody Radio on a campaign to support local translators in Peru, Brazil and Colombia. God faithfully answered our prayers (and the prayers of many of you) by not just meeting our campaign goals, but surpassing them! And he showed us that this event was about more than just reaching campaign goals; it was about providing many people with the opportunity to hear about and give to the work of Bible translation for the first time.

Callers who participated in the campaign shared incredible stories of how God worked in the hearts, and we wanted to share just a few of them with you.

  • Michael was recently released from prison, where he’d greatly benefitted from a ministry based on God’s Word. During his time in prison, he’d seen firsthand how the hunger and thirst of fellow prisoners was quenched by the hope of the gospel, and he wanted to give a gift to Bible translation so that others with that same longing can find hope in Christ.
  • Elisabeth told her own exciting story. “I’ve been listening the last couple of days,” she said, “and this morning, I found a $6,000 error in my account … so I decided to give.” We’re so thrilled that Elisabeth’s first response was to give so that others could hear the gospel in their language!
  • Edna revealed that she had been praying about what she could do to honor her late mother. When she heard about the campaign, and was touched by the testimonies of people whose lives are being changed by God’s Word, she decided to give to Bible translation as an act of remembrance.
  • Wiley also saw his prayers answered. He’d been looking for an investment with eternal value, and when he heard the incredible testimonies shared during the campaign, he thought, “This is the most worthy cause.” Praise God!

Prayer was the cornerstone of the Moody Radio campaign. We stepped out in faith and trusted that God would move the hearts of listeners to give towards the work of Bible translation. And because of the prayers of our worldwide prayer team, God not only helped us exceed our goal, but he also reminded us that when we trust in him, he will always surprise us.

Our hearts are full as we declare, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT)!

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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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It’s a brand new year with everything starting fresh. And what better way to begin than with the 2015 version of “The Finish Line”!

In case you don’t know what “The Finish Line” is all about, we’ll fill you in — it’s a prayer resource that shares requests for specific translation projects that are within three years of completion.

We’d like to invite you to join us in praying for these projects that are so close to being done. It’s in these final stages that team members need extra prayers to give them strength and endurance, and they also need you to pray that God would bring all the pieces together — perfectly and in his timing.

We want to make this the best experience possible for you, so we’ve created monthly downloads that give you one project to pray for each day of the month. You can sign up to receive a new download for each month, and then simply pray through the guide day-by-day. It’s too easy to pass up!

Will you join us in praying these projects across the finish line? Sign up today.

The Finish Line 2015

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By Melissa Paredes

The Bigger Picture

Prayer is one of the most significant ways you can help people get the Bible in their heart language. You may not clearly see the answers to your prayers, but some people do. Bob and Betsy Eagar are among them.

In November 1982, Bob and Betsy were living in Atlanta with their two school-age children, Melanie and Rob. That’s when they first heard about Wycliffe’s Bibleless People Prayer Project (BPPP), a program that helps people pray for specific language groups that need Bible translation.

“I thought it would be really important for our family to pray for one of those Bibleless people groups,” Betsy shared, “[that] somebody would go to them and translate the Bible for them.”

They were assigned to pray for the Iyaru (name changed for sensitivity), a language community in Southeast Asia. The family started praying that the Iyaru people would one day receive the Bible in their heart language.

Years passed. Melanie and Rob grew up and left home for college. Then one day Bob and Betsy learned that Wycliffe was sending a husband-and-wife team to the Iyaru people to start a translation project! Their names were Craig and Sarah Marshall, and they were working to raise financial support so they, along with their four children, could move to Southeast Asia.

Excited to see their prayers being answered, Bob and Betsy decided to support the Marshalls financially. They also began receiving Craig and Sarah’s updates and prayer letters, following the events of their lives and their work among the Iyaru people. This continued for many years. Then Bob and Betsy had the opportunity to meet the Marshall family face-to-face.

“They happened to be in this part of the United States,” Betsy shared. “They came and spent the night with us. And it was wonderful to get to meet them, these people that we had been supporting and praying for all these years! We were thrilled about that.”

The Marshalls were equally excited about meeting Bob and Betsy. “They welcomed us, and, with tears in their eyes, told us how much they appreciated us and our efforts out among the Iyaru,” Sarah shared. “They told us they felt so blessed being a part of our team, and we felt exactly the same way about them!”

Although this was the first time the Eagars and the Marshalls met in person, it wasn’t their first conversation.

“Once, about 10 years before we met them, [Betsy] called us soon after we landed in California and helped debrief us and give wise input,” Sarah shared. “We had just gone through several emergency situations that required our getting evacuated out [of the country], and she wanted to be sure we were okay and to help us process what we’d been through as a family. As a trained counselor she understood that we’d seen and experienced some crazy, unsettling times, and reached out to us even though we’d never met. Talk about being a supportive team member! We knew we had to meet these special folks even though we didn’t know others in the [south].”

It was a joyous occasion for both families to finally meet in person on that day in Georgia, but that’s not the end of the story for the Eagars, the Marshalls and the Iyaru people.

When Bob retired in the early 2000s, he began volunteering in the “JESUS” film department at Cru, in Orlando. Almost 10 years later — in the beginning of 2014 — he learned that Iyaru was on a list of languages needing a translation of the “JESUS” film. Bob excitedly shared the news with Betsy, Melanie and Rob. As soon as they heard, they decided as a family that they wanted to help fund that project too.

“To me, [this] is a cool thing that has happened in our lives,” Betsy shared, “that we have been a part of what God is doing, from praying for that people group to now being able to help the “JESUS” film be translated for them.”

Now in their 70s, Bob and Betsy still pray for and support work among the Iyaru. Their story began over 30 years ago, and only recently have they learned how all these pieces of the bigger picture came together. But after so many years of faithful dedication, the Eagar family is seeing just that, and it’s a beautiful thing.

To learn how you can partner with Wycliffe in prayer, visit wycliffe.org/prayer.

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By Amanda Swift with Richard Gretsky

In the Tanzanian village of Bwitenge, an elderly man came in and sat down at the end of a meeting between the Ikoma translation team and the Ikoma language committee. After the discussion ended, the man stood up, greeted everyone, and started giving his testimony.

In his old age, he had become blind. Because of a friend’s recommendation, he had seen an eye doctor in Nairobi, Kenya, who gave him two pairs of glasses, one for reading and one for regular use. But standing in front of the crowd of people, the man no longer needed the glasses—God had healed his eyes.

Pausing from his speech, clearly seeing the crowd of people in front of him, the man looked to the table next to him and saw a printout of the Lord’s Prayer in the Ikoma language. He picked it up and read some of it out loud to prove that he was able to read without using his glasses. He gave glory to God and expressed deep appreciation for God’s healing power and goodness. He also shared that he had long been praying that Scripture would someday become available in the Ikoma language.

At the end of his testimony, some people from the group gave him the publications of the Gospel of Luke, Ruth, Jonah, and the Lord’s Prayer—all in the Ikoma language.

Soon after, two members of the translation team saw the man again while they were walking down the street. He enthusiastically greeted them. To explain how thankful he was, he compared the gift of God’s Word in his own language to ugali,* the beloved, staple food of his home country.

He said, “Nimebarikiwa sana. Nimepewa chakula kitamu sana kuliko ugali.” (I have been very blessed. I’ve been given food sweeter than ugali.)

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*Ugali is a dish of maize flour cooked with water to a dough-like consistency.

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By Chris Winkler and Matt Petersen

How to Pray for a Foreign Country

Wycliffe missionaries Chris and Christie Winkler, along with their three children, recently returned to the U.S. after serving in the country of Nigeria for half a decade. During that time they made their home in Jos, a diverse city that in recent years has been a target of terrorism and social unrest.

Moving to Jos brought both challenges and joys for the Winklers. Here Chris shares some things they learned about prayer and perspective.

Wycliffe: Chris, how did your friends and family respond when you first told them God was calling you to Nigeria?

Chris: When we moved to Nigeria a little more than five years ago, it was much to the dismay of our friends and family, because as we all know, when we see things in the news about Nigeria, and Africa in general, it’s usually not things that we’re very comfortable with here in the States.

Not all of our extended family agreed with the call for us to go. They were praying for us not to go because of what they were seeing in the media. And it really impacted us to have people that we loved and cared about not on the same page as us.

Wycliffe: What was your perception of Nigeria before you moved there?

Chris: Before we felt the call to go to Nigeria, I think we lumped it in with all of the other countries in Africa that have issues. We were largely ill-informed, as were a lot of our friends and family. Many people before we left called Africa a country. But Nigeria is just one country on the very large continent of Africa.

Wycliffe: Did you pray regularly for Nigeria before God called you there?

Chris: Not really knowing people there, we didn’t know how to pray. So I would say that we really didn’t pray very much for Africa before we felt the call to move there.

Wycliffe: How did your view of Nigeria change once you were there?

Chris: Right after we decided to go to Nigeria, issues there started showing up everywhere in the news and on social media. But when we moved there, those place names in the media stories had become our home. When we saw the city of Jos mentioned in the news, it was our home. There were villages where we had friends living. Death tolls and casualty statistics were friends of friends and family of friends. Some were colleagues in the Bible translation movement.

Wycliffe: How did that affect your prayers for Nigeria?

Chris: Once we got there, instead of just relying on the news, our sources were emails and phone calls to friends — people who knew what was going on. And in some cases our source for our prayer partners — our friends and family back home — was us.

Some of our family and friends were still not convinced that this was where God wanted us. They were, at that point, praying for us to come home. But there were some prayer warriors who had read the news differently. They had never read news from Africa before, but when we went, they started reading it and engaging with it, posting on Facebook and encouraging friends and family to pray about these things that they were now learning.  The media was informing their prayers for a place (and people) that they now cared about.

Wycliffe: How did the news influence the fears that your family and friends had about you being in Nigeria?

Chris: As we all know, the media doesn’t always report the whole picture. Sometimes they can’t and sometimes they don’t for whatever reason. We would tell our prayer partners “Well, this is what the news said, but this is what really happened. Yes, it said that happened in Jos, the city where we are living, but it really happened a long ways away; Jos was just the nearest large city.”

So to have that firsthand perspective was really helpful for a lot of our prayer partners.

Wycliffe: How did people’s own experiences affect their prayers for you?

Chris: I think it’s really helpful for us to keep in mind that there are different perspectives on everything. When we had a rash of car bombings in Jos in 2012, it was very scary for a lot of our prayer partners who didn’t really know how to pray. But we also have friends from Northern Ireland who grew up with car bombs as a way of life, and they were able to shape that differently. Their prayers were different, because they had different lenses on.

Wycliffe: Any suggestions for ways we can pray more effectively for the world?

Chris: The source of where you’re getting your information for prayer matters a lot. If you know someone somewhere, and you really want to be praying for that country, ask them over the phone or maybe via email how to pray. Facebook can also be a helpful tool for connecting.  Having a real, personal connection is a helpful way to engage effectively in prayer.

Build relationships that deepen your engagement with a place, so that you wind up like we were after we went to Nigeria — making informed prayers, knowing what the full story is, reading the news and knowing that there are things going on there that you can be praying for.

Wycliffe: Any final thoughts for us on prayer?

Chris: God may not have called you to pray for every place in the world and everything in the world, but take what he has called you to pray for and dig deep.

Wycliffe: Thanks, Chris!

Click here for more prayer tips and resources.

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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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