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School is out, and summer has now begun! It’s a season filled with family, fun and new adventures. Kate and Mack want to be a part of all your adventures, from family trips to VBS and outings with friends. And we want to see all of the fun they’ve had with you!

On June 28 we’re launching a Travel Kate photo contest on social media. Sounds like fun, right? Your kids can print, cut and color their Travel Kate and take her along to all the fun places you go. (Wondering who Kate is? Click here to meet her!)

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Just snap some cute or creative pictures of Travel Kate (with or without your kids in the picture) and share on social media using the hashtag #KateandMack. Don’t forget to tag Wycliffe USA in the photo! Each week a winner will receive a free A-Z Map from our shop, and at the end of the seven-week contest there will be one grand prize winner too. (Stay tuned! We’ll announce the grand prize at a later date.)

We hope you join in on the fun this summer by sharing your Travel Kate photos and following along to see all the places Kate goes!

Let’s recap the details:

What: Travel Kate photo contest!
When: June 28-Aug. 15
Where: Everywhere your family spends time together this summer (the more unique the location, the better!)
How: Post your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #KateandMack and tag Wycliffe USA.

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Contest Rules:

  • Posts must be public, include #KateandMack and tag Wycliffe USA in order to participate.
  • Your family doesn’t have to be included in the photo, but Travel Kate does!
  • All photos submitted may be shared publicly by Wycliffe USA’s various social media accounts. By participating, you give Wycliffe USA permission to share your photo entries publicly.
  • There is no cap on the number of photos you can submit or the number of times you can win, so keep posting throughout the contest!

 Click here to print your Travel Kate and get started!

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We’d like to give you a sneak peek of the Wycliffe calendar — check out these beautiful scenes and imagine yourself there. Each month has a different image and verse specifically chosen to help you visualize the beauty and truths of the Bible.

 

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For over 30 years Wycliffe USA has created a calendar for the upcoming year, and for the last six years we’ve created a special theme for the calendar. This year’s calendar gives a glimpse of cultures and communities around the world. The theme is best summarized in the closing paragraph of our intro: “Our God is the God of all cultures and communities, and he is calling each of us to himself. And just as he promises, we will one day join together singing his praises for all eternity.”

This is a great way to be reminded of God’s heart for his people, and you can easily share this reminder with your friends and family. Purchase yours today!

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By Richard Gretsky

The language survey team traveled by cover of night; winding through the countryside on treacherous mountain roads to avoid border checkpoints. They risked expulsion from the country, arrest, or worse. But nothing was as dangerous as their destination.

Risky Surveying — Views 1They were headed for the Mida* people, a Southeast Asian people group that was virtually closed-off to the world, yet had a small amount of Christians (less than one percent of a population that includes tens of thousands). The team knew they had to reach out to these people, to see if their language was different enough from their neighbors to necessitate a translation of the Bible in their own language.

But there was something uniquely formidable about the Mida—something that had invariably made these remote people even more inaccessible. Though they show some distinct kindness at times, the Mida share a common belief that each person must do something evil once every three years, or they will die.

Theft, physical abuse, murder; they’ve each happened under the pretense of that belief.

Neighboring people groups avoid the Mida, and foreigners are warned away from their territory. If a visitor does stumble upon one of their twenty villages or their lone city, a palpable tension hangs in the air at the sight of the outsider.Risky Surveying — Views 2

Despite the danger, the survey team mutually agreed that the harm they might experience was still worth the risk to ensure the Mida people get God’s Word.

With the help of a guide (one of a few Mida who long-ago moved away, became Christians, and regularly venture back to start churches), the survey team located the Mida area and began visiting villages where chiefs approved of their study of the language.

Very slowly, and carefully, the team interacted with people whose trust the guide had earned, and eventually began to analyze the language.

Over the course of twelve days, the team conducted its survey. They then traveled back to their country unharmed by the Mida people—by way of night and the twisting mountain roads. As they studied the survey results, they realized that Mida is its own, distinct language, despite a previous belief that it was mutually intelligible with neighboring languages.

In fact, in an effort to have the Bible in a language they could understand—if only partially—some of the few Mida Christians learned Badi*, a neighboring language with a Bible translation. But although Badi gives them access to the Bible, they struggle to understand it. Still, the Mida continue studying God’s Word in a language they barely know, because it’s all they have.Risky Surveying — Village

However, there is hope for a Bible translation for the Mida. Now that the need has been established, the survey team is looking for Mida people who might have the skills to assist in language learning and mother tongue translation. Until then, they’ll stick to the Bible in Badi. They have no choice.

*The names in this story have been changed to protect identities.

 

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By Elizabeth Wilson, short-term trip coordinator for Wycliffe USA

This week I have the privilege of representing Wycliffe at Liberty University’s semi-annual Global Focus Week. As I walk through DeMoss Hall, I’m drawn to the vivid pictures of people from other countries, pieces of bright ethnic fabric, and statistics of how many people haven’t yet heard the Gospel.

libertyIt reminds me of a similar experience I had as a college freshman several years ago at the Urbana student missions conference.

There, I heard that more than two thousand* people groups did not have access to God’s Word in their language, and I began to ask God how I could be involved in His mission around the world. I wanted to go overseas as soon as possible, but my elementary education degree required four more years of school.

I thought about a quote from Jim Elliot, a missionary who was killed in South America in the mid-50s. “Wherever you are, be all there,” he had said.

God hadn’t told me “go” just yet. He had placed me in college to be “there” in college.elizabeth2

I joined an Indian graduate student association group at my school so that I could be around people who were different from me. To my surprise, I made close Indian friends who taught me their language and culture and helped prepare me to interact with a variety of religious backgrounds once I arrived in India, down the road.

I also volunteered at my church’s ESL (English as a Second Language) program during the school year, and I interned with a missions group in Southall, London, during summer breaks. All the while, God was confirming my desire to work with people in India.

When I heard about someone who was translating Bible stories for oral and nomadic people groups in North India, I eventually got connected to Wycliffe Bible Translators, where I have been serving for the last ten years.

I started out in South Asia, translating stories from Scripture for a people group tucked away in the Himalayan Mountains (see the video below). It was a dream come true to watch God’s Word reach people who had never had it in their language. After three years there, I started speaking at colleges, and then served as a story-translator consultant for different regions.

Today I coordinate short-term trips (called “Discovery trips”) so that others can get a glimpse of God’s Work through Bible translation around the world. I continue to ask for God’s help to be “all there” no matter where I live, or what I do.

Looking back, I believe that my college years were the primer for my life’s engine to take off. The energy and passion I had were not wasted, and those experiences have had significant impact on who I have become and what I am doing now.

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My advice to college students considering a life of following God, whether or not that includes overseas work, is to invest deeply in exploring avenues and adventures around you. From short-term trips, to summer internships, to local church outreach, to praying for Bibleless people groups—get involved. Do it now. And while you’re at it, give it your all.

“You will never regret your choice (to serve God). It is wonderful to be free to pour out all, every drop of one’s life; and that is what you have done and are doing. No, you will never regret it, never.” —Amy Carmichael (missionary to India)

*Today the number has dropped below two thousand! Learn more here.

Telling Stories in South Asia
Spend a day with Elizabeth as she helps South Asian Christians translate Bible stories into their own languages in this video:

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One Intern’s Experience in Guatemala
By Stephanie Willis

I applied to Wycliffe USA’s internship program thinking I would just be spending the summer in Orlando doing studio photography. But when I was given the option of spending two of my ten weeks in Guatemala as a photojournalist with one of Wycliffe’s GET Global trips, I jumped on the opportunity.

When my team first arrived in Guatemala City, we spent a few days getting acclimated, learning about the translation process, and meeting current translators. Then we traveled to two other cities before getting to our three-day stop in the village of Chim Ban.

stephanie1We were split into groups of three or four and charged with learning as much of the language and culture as we could. The first day, my group set out to meet new people and learn new words in Acateco, the Mayan language that was spoken there. I got to practice my favorite phrase from this trip many times, “Cheeskay cheweel hapfoto?” or “Can I take your picture?”

A highlight was getting to meet the Gaspar family. They helped us get connected with the children in the village, allowing us to host an impromptu coloring night with silly games. The morning we left, three sweet boys who we’d gotten to know were waiting at our door to help us fold our blankets in exchange for some crackers and M&M’s.

After we left Chim Ban we went to San Miguel for a few days. On Sunday—market day—I had free time to wander around. So I walked up to all sorts of interesting people and asked if I could take their picture. Responses ranged from fear (there is still a stigma that having your picture taken means your soul will be stolen) to amusement. My favorite response was from several older people who looked somewhat surly, but broke out into these cute smiles when I asked to take their picture. One of my favorite portraits was of an older man with a lollipop who was so excited to have his picture taken that he tried to take off his hat and fix his hair, but I encouraged him to stay just as he was.

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My time in Guatemala had a pretty big impact on the way I view relationships. Going into the trip I was tempted to not try very hard to build relationships with the other girls on my team because I didn’t think it would be worth the effort for such a short period of time. However as I got to know them and the many people I met in Guatemala, I learned that no matter how much or how little time you have with someone, it is worth it to get to know them as much as possible.

When I got back from my trip, I had the chance to re-design any company I wanted for a graphic design class last fall, I chose to do GET Global.* I want the work I do, even if it’s just for school, to have an impact.

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*Click here to view Stephanie’s school project and Guatemala photos.

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By Elyse Patten

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The endless blue horizons and remote villages of the Solomon Islands archipelago are beautiful to see, but can be difficult to traverse, especially if you are trying to get help translating the Bible into your language.

Many local translators, fueled by the hope that access to God’s word will transform their communities, make long and dangerous sea voyages in small boats like the ones in this photograph. A wild journey across the waves on one of these overcrowded canoes is often the only option for people desperate to get to the next island, and beyond. Moses, a translator from Simbo, regularly travels across the surging seas, his total journey taking a least a week or more, to gain essential support and advice from other teams and consultants in the capital, Honiara. And he isn’t the only one. A Bible translation mentor working in the Solomon Islands wrote a story detailing these great ‘Odysseys’ regularly undertaken by dozens of local translators. Read the full story on wycliffe.net

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Maritime Makings
UKARUMPA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
By Tim Scott*

“The most precious cargo you can have is people, and the Kwadima II makes it possible for people to move safely throughout the Milne Bay Province by water.”

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The MV Kwadima II is a forty-foot boat that will accommodate up to thirty-five passengers and room for up to fifteen tons of cargo. It is managed out of Alotau by SIL-PNG. The primary function of the Kwadima II is to move language development and translation teams to and from remote areas. Many of these areas do not have regular maritime travel and are not easily accessible by smaller boats. It is not unusual to have trips of up to twenty-four hours or more.

Courses such as VITAL (Vernacular In Translation and Literacy) and other workshops held at the combined SIL-PNG & BTA Training Center utilize the boat to bring in language workers from many different areas. Safety is a primary concern when selecting water transportation. Since most local travel occurs on smaller boats which are often overloaded or depart without proper water safety equipment, many passengers prefer to Maritime3use the Kwadima II. But safe travel is not the only advantage. Many of the workshop and course attendees arrive on time for the courses because the “normal” travel by boat is dependent on the inconsistent departure times and available boats.

Since boat maintenance and water travel is expensive, charter loads are scheduled to subsidize the cost for the non-profit workers who use the boat for affordable transportation. When the boat is not booked for passenger travel for language development and translation, it is kept busy providing safe and reliable delivery of goods and people to many areas around Milne Bay Province.

The Kwadima II is managed by Tim McIntosh who has twenty years of maritime experience. While Tim loves the sea, being a manager doesn’t mean that he gets to skipper the boat. In fact he only gets to go along infrequently. The waters in and around Milne Bay are treacherous with many reefs and strong currents and requires navigation by those who have experience in these waters. The boat is skippered by a Papua New Guinean captain and first mates who have excellent safety records.

Although the boat is primarily used in the Milne Bay area, it has travelled as far as Tufi, Buka, and Mortlock Atoll.

One language worker states, “Our primary means of getting in and out of the village has been by taking the Kwadima II. We are very thankful for the way the boat is well maintained, for the trustworthy and competent crew, for the hard work of the boat manager—and on those fourteen-hour boat rides, extremely thankful for a boat with an operational toilet!

*Tim Scott is the Chief Communications Officer for the Papua New Guinea branch of SIL, Wycliffe’s primary strategic partner.

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