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Happy Easter to you and yours from Wycliffe USA! We pray you are blessed by the services and celebrations taking place this weekend, and that you can set aside time to reflect on who Christ is and how he demonstrates his love for us.

He is Risen

“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.’” Matthew 28:1-6

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Will the Job Be Done - Translators (Elyse Patten)

If you’ve been following Wycliffe’s work for a while now, you’re probably familiar with our mission to see a Bible translation program in progress in every language still needing one by 2025. As that date rapidly approaches, some people have asked, “Once you reach that goal, will your work be done?” Definitely not!

You see, our ultimate goal is for everyone on earth to have access to God’s Word in the languages they understand best. That means we’ll have to finish every Bible translation we start. And even after every translation is complete, many will need to be revised. Because of the way languages change over time, Bible translation will continue to be a need until the day Christ returns!

So while starting a Bible translation for every language that needs one by 2025 is a critical goal, it’s definitely not the end goal.

This post is part of our Wycliffe 101 series. Click here to read the previous post, or here to start at the beginning.

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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 Hannah Weiand

Where in the World - Pair (Elyse Patten)

A key thing to note is that Wycliffe USA is just one of many organizations working in partnership around the world to make Bible translation happen. Many of these organization are part of the Wycliffe Global Alliance, which includes more than 45 Wycliffe member organizations and more than 60 partner organizations serving in more than 93 countries. For perspective, there are only 197 countries in the entire world, so together we’re working in nearly half of them! You can see the list of organizations within the Wycliffe Global Alliance here.

One interesting feature of the Alliance’s website is a tool that lists the languages of the world, by country, and whether or not they have any Scripture. Although it doesn’t specifically tell you where personnel are working, it can give you a broader scope of the work that is both being done and still needs to be done. So if you have a specific country in mind, and want to know if Bible translation is being done there, this tool can help.

This post is part of our Wycliffe 101 series. Click here to read the previous post, or here to start at the beginning.

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By Konlan Kpeebi with Richard Gretsky

Konlan works for the Ghana Institute of Literacy, Linguistics and Bible Translation (GILLBT) as translation coordinator and the Konni language translation project manager.

The Conversion of Lamini - Nangruma Church

Laminu comes from Nangruma, one of the Koma villages in Ghana that has neither a formal school nor a church. He learned how to read and write Konni in the Konni literacy class that was started in his village.

When the Konni New Testament was dedicated in 2006, he bought one for himself. As there are no churches in his village, we also gave him numerous Scripture guidebooks to help him and others in his village understand God’s Word. After reading through the books and portions of the Bible, Laminu was convinced that the Konni New Testament was truly the Word of God, and he therefore decided to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

Because there was no church in his village, nearly every week for a year, Laminu rode his bicycle more than seventeen miles one way to Yikpabongo, another Koma community that has a church.

Finally, Laminu was able to start a small fellowship in his own village, and it continues to this day, six years later.

Laminu’s testimony proves that God’s Word translated into minority languages can lead people to Christ.

Please pray for Laminu as he runs the Christian race—dealing with physical ailments and discouragements from many locals who think he is a deviant and is being punished for turning to Christ. And pray that additional vibrant churches will spring up in the Koma area.

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By Konlan Kpeebi with Richard Gretsky

Konlan works for the Ghana Institute of Literacy, Linguistics and Bible Translation (GILLBT) as translation coordinator and the Konni language translation project manager.

The village of Nangruma, in Ghana, has no trained pastors. As a result, I usually visit them to share the Word of God. The members of this fellowship used to meet in a classroom, but the last time I visited them, they were holding their services in a dilapidated thatch shed. They told me they have been ejected from the classroom because some locals in the village accused them of always making noise.

I asked them whether they would like me to plead to the chief and his elders to release the classroom for them to continue to worship there. However, Nbatima, a man who’d accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior two years prior, gave me this Koma proverb: “Lagɩŋ juule yaa nyʋʋsɩ!” (Together, living has smoke!)

My beautiful pictureI asked Nbatima to explain the meaning of the proverb to me. He said that if you live together with another person under the same roof, and the other person does not like you, anytime you set your fire, because the other person does not like you, he or she will always complain that there is too much smoke in the room.

Idiomatically, this means once someone does not like you, he or she will always find fault with whatever you say or do.

Nbatima told me that if I should plead for them to be allowed to use the classroom, they would still find another excuse to complain about them or even eject them again. So, he said, they would continue to worship in the dilapidated shed until they were able to build their own structure.

The Word of God has enabled Nbatima and his fellow believers in Christ to know God in a way that has made them more tolerant of those around them, more content in their situation, and more hopeful for their future.

I am sure there will be many people in Heaven who came to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, because of Koma believers and their dedication to God and His Word.

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