Posts Tagged ‘serve’

“Bible translation is not for people who are perfect. It is not for people who have it all. [It is for] people who know [God] and want to work in faith with him. And then their lives will be unfolding into beauty –– into something very beautiful.”

Lydia Teera was only a teenager in Kampala, Uganda, when she lost her father to HIV. His death left her orphaned, but it also left her confused, frustrated and betrayed. Lydia had not known that her father was battling the disease. He had kept it a secret from her and the church community in which he served for his entire life.

In the wake of Mr. Teera’s passing, Pastor Tim Kibirige and his wife provided Lydia with a home. Though they did not have much to offer her in the way of financial support, what they did offer is something that changed her life forever –– the healing power of God’s Word. While living with the pastor and his wife, Lydia began to study the Bible. She came face-to-face with God, the giver of all hope. As a result, Lydia began to slowly heal from the scars of her past. But through reading Scripture, she was also able to look toward the future with purpose. In the comforting arms of her Heavenly Father, Lydia found the home she had lost.

As she studied the Bible, Lydia grew more and more passionate about serving God in any way she could. God led her to Wycliffe Bible Translators, where Lydia became the first Wycliffe missionary sent out from Uganda. Initially she grappled with the decision to become a missionary. But as Lydia prayed, she recognized an important truth. “I’m part of a church,” she reminded herself. “And we’ve been called to go and serve. Then why not go?”


Lydia, like many others, grasped the mission of Bible translation. She realized how much God had changed her own heart and life through Scripture. Today she is still committed to share that vision, purpose and hope with the people around her.

Each December 1 is recognized as World AIDS Day –– an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. And though it may only have been a piece of Lydia’s story, through encountering and grieving this disease, God drew Lydia into a relationship with himself and ultimately allowed her to share her story with many others. He took Lydia’s broken circumstances and unfolded them into beauty, as only he can.

On the surface, it might seem like Bible translation has little to do with World AIDS Day. After all, the Bible is not a medical manual, written to save the body. But for those suffering from the pain of HIV/AIDS, God’s Word offers something that no doctor can provide — hope and healing for eternity.

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By Melissa Paredes

The Advocating ChiefJohn Sethy is a husband, a father, and the chief of his small village of Nivenue on the island of Epi in Vanuatu. Those responsibilities all keep him busy, but recently he took on a whole new responsibility—becoming the advocate for the Bible translation in his own heart language of Lewo.

It took several years for John to reach this point of helping his people receive God’s Word in the language they understand best. In 2010, members of the Vanuatu Building for Tomorrow group (VBT) and the SIL* team came to John’s home village to hold a literacy workshop and record some of the Lewo New Testament. They came in response to a request from Kapiapo, one of the village’s church elders and long-time lead translator for the Lewo project. Kapiapo wanted his people to become more aware of the translation work in their language—work that had been ongoing for the last twenty years.

While in the area, the team members attended a Sunday church service. During the service, John stood up and read fluently from 1 John in the Lewo language. Everyone was impressed with John’s abilities, his humble attitude, his cleverness, and his passion for God’s Word.

Three years passed. VBT and SIL planned to host a workshop that would help equip people across Vanuatu to read, understand, and teach the Scripture. As they thought of potential participants, John was one of the first people who came to mind.

John would be difficult to get in touch with, because his village is in a hollow, and contacting him by mobile phone would be a challenge. But the team decided to try, so they called another man from John’s village to see if he could help them get in touch with John.

Amazingly, John was standing right next to the man when the team called. He accepted their offer with excitement.The Advocating Chief 3

With great enthusiasm, John attended the workshop and absorbed as much as he could during his time there. He was particularly enthralled by the study of God’s Word through learning more about the historical and cultural context of the Scriptures, and ways to deepen his understanding of it. With this approach, he’d be able to help learn about the true meaning of the Scriptures and could then help teach his people about what the Bible was saying.

John returned to his village, excited to test out his new skills with members of his community. People really enjoyed the new insight he could provide. John shared, “I started [using my knowledge] with my family and that was good. But I am a chief, and I see that these skills in working through problems directly apply to my work. … I can help people to analyze the problems now as I ask them questions. It makes my job much easier!”

Since the first workshop, John has attended several more. He’s also taken over the Lewo translation project with another man. Elder Kapiapo chose John as his replacement on the project team when he learned that he had liver cancer. He passed away in 2013—the same year the team first asked John to attend their workshops. But John has faithfully taken up the torch in Kapiapo’s place, helping to bring the Scriptures to the Lewo people.

John is continuing to learn more about God’s Word and how it can impact both his life and the lives of people in his village. “I see that people are mixing belief and traditional thinking, but I have seen through this course that everything depends on belief in Christ,” John said.

???????????????????????????????It’s that belief that is helping him deepen his knowledge of God’s Word. The Lewo New Testament is still waiting to be published, so pray that it would be printed quickly and distributed among the people. John isn’t just the chief of his village; he’s also working to teach and explain the truths found in Scripture, and to help his people learn how to really use it for themselves.

*One of Wycliffe’s primary partners

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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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Thank you so much for following along with our summer highlight series! We covered translation projects and people groups from all over the Pacific, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa.

You have journeyed with us as we’ve learned more about people from cultures unlike our own and how they—like everyone else—truly deserve to have the Bible in their own language.

We encourage you to pray for those people, and for both the translation projects that have begun and those that are yet to be started. We challenge you to give of your financial resources to support them. And we will continue to offer you the unique opportunity to serve in Bible translation by using the gifts and talents that God has given you. Most of all, we want to thank you for following us and supporting Bible translation. We know that with your help, we can continue to help bring people all over the world the hope that comes from having God’s Word in their own language.

We’ll keep giving you project updates, fun posts and the wonderful stories of hope through our social media—so stay in touch via Facebook and Twitter!



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Earlier this year, Ivan and Jesse Dishman attended Wycliffe’s new missionary training and told the story of how they decided to serve God in Papua New Guinea. We enjoyed hearing it so much that we wanted to share it:

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By Melissa Chesnut

This summer marks the fifth year of Wycliffe’s Orlando Summer Internship. We’re honored that these students gave up their summers to serve Bible translation from our home offices.

The summer interns are finally here! Samantha Benson and Catherine Caple started working at the Orlando office on June 10, arriving after a week-long training in Waxhaw, North Carolina.

The week included learning about Wycliffe’s background, an overview of linguistics, options for graduate schools, and a daily testimony from a missionary. These stories were some of Samantha and Catherine’s favorite portions of the training as they were able to hear first-hand of amazing adventures and experiences had by Wycliffe missionaries.

For the next eight weeks, Samantha will be working for the staff relations department in human resources, where she hopes to be able to use and develop project management skills; Catherine will be working for the Staff Resource Center, where she is excited for her first office experience.

Both young women are hoping to gain a better understanding of Wycliffe and the work of Bible translation for personal reasons—Samantha is in the application process for membership with Wycliffe, and Catherine is looking at the possibility of changing her minor in linguistics to a major, with the potential of one day serving with Wycliffe.

The Orlando office is excited to host Samantha and Catherine during their internship, and would like to welcome them to the Wycliffe family. We’re glad you are here!

Orlando isn’t the only place Wycliffe has interns! This year we have two interns at the SIL office in Dallas, one at the JAARS center, and one working with the Choctaw translation team in Mississippi. Visit http://www.wycliffe.org/shortterm to learn more about participating in our US-based internships or our overseas Discovery Trips.

Meet the Interns

Left: Catherine Caple, Staff Resource Center intern, from Florida State University majoring in Spanish and Linguistics; Right: Samantha Benson, Staff Relations intern, from University of Texas and majored in Business Management

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