Posts Tagged ‘SIL’

One thing that has really surprised me about my internship is how many people are willing to give up their time for the sake of the kingdom of God. I’ve met many students who are paying to go to school at Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in order to become missionaries. I have also met many volunteers and interns who are choosing to go unpaid for the summer so they can invest their time as kingdom resources. Not only are there students and volunteers here, but many highly educated people who could have any job they want. These people are choosing to serve on staff or around the world as Bible translators, teachers and in many other roles.

They are not only willing to serve, but do it joyfully and heartily as for the Lord. The people here work harder and are much happier than the people in any other work environment that I’ve experienced. Many of them are stepping out in faith and trusting God to provide for not only themselves, but also their families as they serve the kingdom. What humility and sacrifice has been shown through these servants!

So often, I have taken the privilege of stability in working a nine to five job for granted. I’ve been humbled to see how God has provided for me during this internship and, because of his provisions, it has been easier to work without pay than I ever thought it would be. How rewarding and joyful it is to work for the Lord! I hope to join Wycliffe with my soon-to-be wife, Amy and pray that we might display the same faith in the Lord’s provisions as I saw in others throughout this internship.


Ryan McCoppin

M.S. Computer Science

SIL Language Software Development

Wycliffe Intern

If you’re interested in pursuing an internship with Wycliffe click here to learn more.

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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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By Bob Creson, Wycliffe USA President/CEO

The hot desert day was over and a small group of Borana people—nomadic cattle herders in Kenya—sat down under the stars to share news and stories. As SIL workers Jim and Dorothea Lander joined them, an elder began to speak.

“Long, long ago,” he said, “the Borana people had a Book of God. We called it our Boogi Waqa and everyone had a copy. We read it often to learn how to please God. But as the years passed, our books began to wear out until eventually only one remained—the prized possession of an old, old grandfather.

“Those were years of drought, and our people relentlessly battled for survival. Day after day the old man and his family took their cattle out on long searches for grass and water. One day they left behind a cow too weak to keep up with them. Nosing around for food while no one watched, she came upon the last Boogi Waqa…and devoured it! When the old man came home that night, he found only a few pieces of leather binding scattered on the ground. Great sadness filled the camp.

Guyo - Borana elder

“That night the old man slept fitfully and dreamt that an angel appeared to him. The angel promised that after many years God would send their book back to them. ‘Watch for a strange man from a faraway country,’ said the angel. ‘When he comes, treat him well, for he will bring back your Boogi Waqa.’

“Many years later, the first missionaries came into Borana land. Some of you remember them. They tried to learn our language, and one of them actually wrote a book he said came from God, but we could not read it.” The elder paused, and then with a long sigh, he concluded: “Now, my children, we still wait for the Boogi Waqa.”

Jim and Dorothea were still learning the Borana language, but they understood enough to marvel at the story. A few weeks later, they entertained some Borana men in their home. After dinner and several cups of sweet, creamy tea, a man named Galgalo picked up the Lander children’s English Picture Bible. Galgalo could read it because he’d served in the Kenyan Air Force. He read the story of the Tower of Babel in English, and then told the Borana men what it said in their own language.

Together they looked at the pictures in the Bible and exclaimed, “Look, these men dress just like we do, with flowing clothes and turbans! They pack their camels like we do! And this desert looks just like ours!”

Galgalo turned to Jim and asked, “Is this a Borana book? Is it…could it be…the Boogi Waqa?”

“Yes,” said Jim. “This is the Boogi Waqa.”

Silently the men stared at Jim and Dorothea. Slowly they turned their gaze back to the book. Long into the night they explored the book, examining the pictures and listening to Galgalo read. Eventually they came to a picture of the Israelites sacrificing a lamb, as God had instructed them to do in the Old Testament.

The men told Jim, “Our fathers taught us that the Boogi Waqa told how to sacrifice a lamb, so that God would forgive our sins. And sure enough here it is in this Boogi Waqa! We still do our animal sacrifices, but some of the missionaries say we should stop. Why is that?”

His heart pounding, Jim took the Bible and turned to the tenth chapter of Hebrews. With Galgalo’s help, he explained that God sent his Son, Jesus, to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. They no longer needed to sacrifice lambs each year because now they could find forgiveness of sin and eternal life by putting their trust in Jesus, who died for their sins once for all!

Health concerns later sent the Landers back home, but a Borana man, David Diida, drew on their linguistic research to spearhead a revision of the Bible and a very successful literacy program. Many groups of believers can now read their own Book of God all across Northern Kenya.

Dorothea says, “I believe God placed the Boogi Waqa story in Borana history and preserved it in their oral culture so that many years after the original book disappeared, men would seek after God and find in Him eternal life by reading their new Boogi Waqa.”

God left His footprint in the desert sands of Northern Kenya, and He’s left it in many other cultures around the world. Missionaries often think they are “taking God to the people” they are called to serve. But the truth is, He has already been there, preparing the way.

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By Chris Darby with Katie Kuykendall

Chris and his wife, Marina, are literacy specialists working in Dakar, Senegal, with SIL International, one of Wycliffe’s primary partners.

The translation of the Bible, or parts of it, into local languages is a major activity of our organization. This is a task that takes years, even after completing the necessary linguistic research and work with local people to establish an acceptable written form of their language. So when boxes full of brand new copies of translated New Testaments arrive at our workplace, it’s a cause for celebration and a renewed awareness that the team has many players. All of us—including those helping in finance, guesthouse cleaning, IT support, personnel, or literacy—have contributed to this important achievement and feel encouraged.???????????????????????????????

We had the opportunity to experience this recently when our office was enjoying a visit from the Catholic abbot of a Benedictine monastery some thirty-five miles from Dakar. The abbot is from the Mankanya language group, a predominantly Catholic people mainly located in southwestern Senegal and the neighboring countries of Gambia and Guinea Bissau. In 1995 he began translating the New Testament into Mankanya out of a belief that his people had never really understood the Gospel due to the lack of the Scriptures in their own language. He worked on the translation for five years with other Mankanya speakers, until he was appointed abbot of his monastery.

He then handed over the responsibility for the translation to the recently formed Mankanya Catholic Translation Association. The association asked for help from SIL, and so an SIL missionary couple joined the work on the Mankanya New Testament!

On the day of the abbot’s visit in March 2014 we enjoyed a meeting in which he stressed the need to “eat” God’s Word on a daily basis, and made an appeal for Catholics and Protestants to work together in making this “food” available. At the moment we finished, and in God’s wonderful timing, there was a knock on the door and we were invited downstairs.

???????????????????????????????There we witnessed the arrival and unloading of five thousand New Testaments in Mankanya, marking the completion of a work the abbot himself had started. Our director opened a box, took out a New Testament, and wrote a dedication in it before presenting it to the abbot, who promptly knelt in the gravel to receive it.

The official ceremony for the Mankanya New Testaments took place in May 2014. Mankanya songs based on biblical passages have been written and recorded, and an audio recording of the New Testament and Genesis has recently been completed. The next challenge is for the Mankanya to put these precious resources to good use. As the abbot said, the food has to be eaten and digested if it is to do its transforming work.

Please pray with us for the Mankanya people group—that they will engage with God’s Word in their language and let it transform their lives.

This post was last updated in September, 2015.

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More than two decades ago, leaders from the Dibiyaso language group of Papua New Guinea (PNG) asked SIL* to send someone to start a Bible translation in their language. But with hundreds of similar needs all around PNG, no one was available to help!

Finally, this January a decision was made to begin a cluster project in the Bamu River region of PNG that will help the Dibiyaso and four neighboring languages get God’s Word.

Cluster projects like this one are becoming increasingly popular because of the way they share resources across multiple languages, helping communities take ownership of their own projects and complete translations sooner.

To learn more about this exciting approach to Bible translation, check out this video about a project that’s already well underway.

Please join us in praying for the hundreds of remaining translation needs in PNG—that God would continue to open new doors of opportunity like cluster projects so everyone can experience the blessing of God’s Word!

*Wycliffe’s primary strategic partner

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RoyPetersonDr. Roy Peterson, former president and CEO of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, and current president and CEO of The Seed Company (TSC), a Wycliffe affiliate, will serve as the next president of the American Bible Society (ABS).

“I, along with all my colleagues in Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, want to congratulate Roy and his wife, Rita, on this strategic appointment. Wycliffe enjoys a close working relationship with the American Bible Society, and this appointment strengthens that partnership,” said Bob Creson, president and CEO of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA.

“I am pleased that the American Bible Society board of directors selected Roy to serve as its next president. Roy’s leadership experience with TSC, Wycliffe USA, and SIL International, as well as his previous business management background and his love of God’s Word, position him well to lead ABS into the future.”

For more about the American Bible Society, visit www.americanbible.org.

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For the first time, Moise Yonta joyfully read aloud the Ngiemboon Scriptures on his smartphone. (Watch here.) Then he jumped up and delightedly shook hands with a colleague. “Wonderful! Wonderful!” he exclaimed.

It was indeed wonderful! Moise, who works with the Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (CABTAL), was the coordinator for the Ngiemboon translation project. Since the New Testament was dedicated in 2007, he’s used both the printed and audio versions, but gaining access to the digital version took his experience to a whole new level!

“I was so happy that I couldn’t hide it!” he said. “Immediately I applied the lesson we learned by selecting a verse and sending it to my dear wife, and she was happy to receive it.”

MoiseNow when Moise travels, he carries Scripture with him on his phone. He loves helping others access God’s Word the same way, both digitally from YouVersion and audibly from Faith Comes By Hearing. At the request of his pastor and church elders, he is preparing a training course on how to use cell phones for evangelization.

When I’ve traveled in Africa, I’ve often found better service there than I get in my own home in Orlando, Florida. In fact, Moise is one of more than 650 million cell phone subscribers in Africa, where cell phone service is far more available than landlines. I have no doubt that God is behind the development of digital technology, and while cell phones are used worldwide for communications, financial transactions, healthcare, and much more, I believe that God also intended this technology to support the distribution of His Word.

The Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN) alliance has helped facilitate increased access to digital Scripture. Mart Green (founder of Mardel Christian and Education Supply and Every Tribe Entertainment) started ETEN by bringing together a group of philanthropic investors/donors and three Bible agencies—the American Bible Society (representing the United Bible Societies), Biblica, and Wycliffe Bible Translators USA (representing SIL International and The Seed Company). ETEN’s primary focus is the development of the Digital Bible Library (DBL) which currently holds 535 texts—including the Ngiemboon Bible that Moise reads.

YouVersion is one of the first organizations to utilize the DBL and make the texts available to smartphone users. Other organizations share them on websites or use them for purposes like e-books and print-on-demand.

If you haven’t already downloaded the YouVersion application to your phone, I’d encourage you to try it!

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