God is good

December 19th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

As we approach Christmas and celebrate what God has done for us in sending his son to live on earth and die for us, let’s also take time to pause and consider how God has acted for us this year. Of course, we have many things to praise God for, but here are just some of the things that he has done. Rejoice with us!

IMG_0786.jpg Bassar Bible is hereIn both February and September we focused on the challenges faced by the team working on preparing the Bassar Bible for printing (also called Ntcham). Here is a picture of translator Samuel Kpagheri holding the newly printed Bassar Bible, he says:

‘I have seen the first bound copies of the Bassar Bible! Tears of joy flowed on my cheeks.’

In February, June and September we asked you to pray for the Logo team of the Democratic Republic of Congo as they made final correction to the New Testament. The New Testament is in the final stages of typesetting before being sent to print.

In December 2013 the Executive Director Eddie Arthur announced his resignation and the process of finding his replacement began. In both January and again in April we asked you to pray for the search for a new director. In June we were excited to announce James Poole‘s appointment. James began work in September and is settling in well.

Dogara and RussellThe Theological College of Northern Nigeria’s linguistics and translation department was our focus in April as we shared the news of a significant shortage of teaching staff. Here are Dogora and Russell the new teaching staff who were in place and ready to start at the beginning of the new academic year in August.

In April we shared the initial successes of a Bible storying project in several languages of South Asia. Throughout the year we’ve heard of how the storytellers have been given many opportunities to share stories that have been translated and as a result people have given their lives to Christ.

We held Frontline Prayer Live on 8th and 22nd November in 3 venues. One participant said ‘This was the best prayer event I’ve ever been to.’ Another thanked us saying ‘I just wanted to thank you for such an inspiring and informative event …and what a privilege it was to pray with you and for Wycliffe and their partners.’

Thank God with us for these answers to prayer. If you don’t already follow ‘Standing in the gap‘ and receive a weekly email, why not subscribe and join the army of people praying for Bible translation worldwide? We’ll be sharing other ways God has answered our prayers this year in the following post – watch this space!

Special Delivery, Happy Christmas MAF

December 16th, 2014 by Nick Brier

We are so happy to hear that Christmas came early for MAF, one of our partner organisations, this year. Two weeks before Christmas eve, a D4 Caterpillar and Bobcat were delivered, which will enable work to start on new airstrips in Angolia.

It’s an amazing job that they are doing, airstrips open the way for Bibles, translators, health materials and medical help to reach more people in hard to access areas.

Visit MAF’s website to find out more about their work.

The Sound of Carols in Senegal

December 15th, 2014 by Nick Brier

As we’re getting ready for Christmas, what are you doing? We may be thinking about things such as decorating the house, buying presents, nativity plays, log fires, turkey? But what about writing Christmas carols?

We love to get together to sing and bring worship to the Lord, and this time of year, it’s a way of jointly expressing as a community our joy and gratitude for God arriving among us. Carols are also a great opportunity to bring our friends and family who wouldn’t normally go to church to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

But what if you have no songs to sing? No Christmas carols in your own language? The answer for the Karoninka people in Senegal – write your own!

The translation team working with the Karoninka people were joined by 4 composers/singers from the people group. They composed songs based on the checked texts of Luke 1 & 2 and the songs and text were recorded and duplicated onto digital memory cards.

This year the Karoninka will be able to read and listen to the Christmas story in their own language!

Songs are a brilliant way of celebrating the Gospel but are also fantastic in providing the opportunity for people to learn and understand the Bible. Find out more about how music is involved in Scripture use on our website.

Healing in the midst of trauma

December 12th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

Can there be hope for the war-torn nations of the world? Can there be healing from the pain and trauma experienced by millions living in insecurity? We believe that Christ is that hope and that the Bible in every language will be a means of bringing that hope to the world.

IMG_4552The Central African Republic (CAR) is a nation that has experienced intermittent instability and bloodshed ever since Independence in the 1960s and a vicious civil war for the last two years. We’ve asked you to pray several times in the last year for peace and for its people whose wounds are not just physical but emotional too.

Trauma Healing workshops were recently held in Bangui, the capital city of CAR. In these workshops Scripture Engagement Consultants work through a process with delegates to help them find peace from traumatic events they have experienced. Some of these delegates are then equipped to take what they have learnt back to their communities to share with others.

Here is the story of one of the participants in the recent workshop. It highlights the importance of this work as the instability and the effects of fighting continue to impact many:

‘We had only just finished the trauma healing workshop when on 3rd December, at 2.50pm, as I returned to work, I was the victim of an armed hold-up.

Three unidentified, armed men drove their motorbikes towards mine. One of them told me to stop or they would open fire on me. Their leader demanded that I give him my motorbike. I did so without any resistance. Straight away they disappeared into thin air. Thanks to that my life was saved because I put into practice that which I’d learned during the Trauma Healing workshop.

As a result of the political crisis in the Central African Republic my family has lived through some very challenging times; domestic looting, the kidnapping of one of our children… and now this hold-up. It has brought to the surface once more all the pain and hurt in our hearts and we feel like we are back to square one.

Please pray for the healing of this trauma for our family.’

Please praise God for the recent workshop and how it helped this participant in this situation.

Please pray:

  • For emotional healing for this family
  • That the participants who took part in this workshop will know best how to bring the message of hope and healing to many of those around them who have suffered in CAR.
  • For peace and reconciliation in CAR and an end now to the almost two years of war there.

Find out more about the impact of trauma on those who suffer in CAR from the Red Cross.

For unto you a multilingual son is born

December 8th, 2014 by Nick Brier

It’s the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, however, unless you have an insatiable passion for linguistics, we probably don’t think about the different languages and dialects that were in use around Bethlehem when Jesus was born. As it turns out, there are more similarities to the multicultural environments we find ourselves in today than we may have considered.

In an interesting article for the Ethnologue, M. Paul Lewis sheds some light on the multilingual society Jesus was born in to.

The world into which Jesus was born was (and is still) a multilingual one. Jesus, no doubt, grew up navigating a language ecology that included at least four languages:  Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The Bible tells us that he read from the Hebrew scriptures and it is probable that his conversation with Pontius Pilate at his trial was at least partially conducted in Latin.

Christians believe that in Jesus, God took on human form. That He became a multilingual man is only one of the ways, but an important way, in which that identification with humanity is fully demonstrated.

Have a read of the full article: For unto you a multilingual son is born.

Our God is a multilingual God, but there are still people who do not know this as a reality. That is why it is our vision that, together with partners worldwide, we aim to see a Bible translation programme begun in all the remaining languages that need one. (Find out more about Wycliffe).

God speaks in your language. In what way is God communicating to you as we enter into this Christmas period?

If you feel a prompting to mission, why not check out one of our First Steps events taking place in the new year? (and you don’t have to be a linguist). There are also plenty of other ways you can get involved, have a look.


Thinking outside the box

December 5th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

Sometimes we consider the needs around the world and feel overwhelmed. Maybe we even consider how we can go and make a difference and then doubt that the skills we have would be useful.

Here are the stories of two British teachers who instead of going overseas to be teachers, used their teaching skills to make a difference as literacy specialists.

Barbara tells us:

img87‘I spent over twenty years as a teacher in London. Later I became an advisory teacher leading in-service courses for teachers. Helping children, young people and adults to develop and enjoy using their literacy skills was one of the best aspects of my different roles.

When, in 2002, I stood in front of 25 educators as a literacy specialist, I had had the year-long Wycliffe training in which Literacy was one of the components. However, in order to facilitate the development of a mother tongue education programme I leaned heavily on the experiences I gained from teaching. I used the skills I developed through teaching to help participants to develop their writing ability in the mother tongue and to write stories that would appeal to new and developing readers. Some of those stories became books now being used in schools.’

In contrast, Liz’s story goes like this:

‘I was a teaching assistant (TA) with primary school children for two years before my husband and I went to work in a project in South West Tanzania as literacy workers. There were many differences between my TA work in Sheffield and literacy work in Tanzania, as you can imagine!

In Tanzania I was primarily focused on a Basic Literacy programme with preschool children. I was mainly involved in preparing resources and training teachers to deliver them, rather than interacting with the children themselves as I had done previously. However, I used many of the same skills; preparing lessons and working out how to use the resources available to engage children with literacy. Most importantly, my aims were ultimately the same and I was excited about enabling children to reach their full potential and all the opportunities being literate would open up for them, not least to be able to read the Word of God.’

Please join us as we pray:

  • For God to call many to literacy work, especially those who already have transferable skills.
  • For those who are actively considering if God is calling them to work overseas with Wycliffe. Some of those will be attending First Steps events early next year. Pray they will clearly know what God is calling them to.

See where in the world you could go to make a difference as a literacy specialist.

The Bible reaches the other side of the world (200 years ago)

December 2nd, 2014 by Hannah

This month marks two hundred years since the Bible first came to New Zealand. It may be the other side of the world, but there’s never a bad excuse to celebrate God’s word reaching new islands and peoples!

United Bible Societies tell this account of the first recorded instance of the Bible being read and preached from on Ney Zealand soil:

On Christmas Day 1814, at the invitation of Ruatara, a chief of the Ngāpuhi tribe, British missionary Samuel Marsden stood before a gathering of hundreds of Maori people and shared the Bible for the very first time on New Zealand soil.

“It being Christmas Day,” he wrote in his journal, “I preached from the second chapter of St Luke’s Gospel, and tenth verse, ‘Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy.’”

And so began the story of the Bible in New Zealand. Translation of the Bible into Maori began in the mid 1820s and the New Testament was published in 1837. It was so popular that missionaries could not keep up with the demand. The New Testament was considered a ‘taonga’ – a treasure – prized above all else. People walked for days to get a copy and one missionary commented that he was being kept awake by Maoris reading and discussing the New Testament all night!

The Bible Society of New Zealand have produced this video that will take you through those first years of the spread of the Bible in New Zealand (it also includes some beautiful scenery).

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If you think, like we do, that this is a great excuse to celebrate the Bible, Bible Society of New Zealand have produced a selection of resources you can use in church, including this fun-looking children’s activity page.

We believe that the Bible is good news and we want everyone to be able to hear it in a way they understand. This December, consider partnering with a Bible translation organisation (it could be us, it could be a Bible Society) to help get God’s word further.

First Steps at Headington Baptist Church

December 1st, 2014 by Nick Brier

On Saturday, while many others were Christmas shopping or gardening under rare blue skies and sunshine, around a dozen people gathered at Headington Baptist Church in Oxford for First Steps to discover more about the world of Bible translation.

They were from a variety of backgrounds: a man studying languages, another training in his area of expertise: film-making. Along with them, a couple currently studying at Bible college later in life since their children left home, and others with a general interest in Wycliffe as an organisation.

The First Steps experience is unique.  There’s nothing like spending time with such people, getting a taste of what God is doing worldwide and being inspired by stories of the lives he’s changing through Bible translation.  Some of the most significant moments happen even in the coffee breaks, through informal conversation with others who have followed God’s leading into things they’d never have dreamed of.

What was the final outcome of the day?  It’s too early to say.  Some may find they’re taking their first step into  cross-cultural ministry abroad.  Some may stay in the UK but carry on praying for what’s happening worldwide.  Invariably participants leave inspired and encouraged by all they’ve heard.  Please pray for them as they consider all they have heard and return to their busy lives this week.  May God continue to speak to them and encourage them, showing them ways to respond to what they’ve discovered over the weekend.

There are more First Steps events coming up in the New Year.  Would you like to join us for a day to find out more about what God is doing through Bible translation worldwide? Further information about First Steps is available on the Wycliffe website.

Register online for First Steps.


The best thing I can do… is to train

November 28th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

Imagine you’ve decided you want to help people have the Bible in their language, or to help them read, or apply it to their lives. You need training to do what God has called you to. Where would you go?

You would probably go to the Centre for Linguistics Translation and Literacy (CLTL) at Redcliffe College, Gloucester. The foundation courses are taught from August to December and from there usually you would spend 2 years helping in a team overseas. Then you can come back for more training, and possibly finish your MA.

One of the part-time members of staff, Sharon, shares some of her experience of life at CLTL:

2013 literacy‘The staff are teaching others to do what they themselves have already been involved in, in many places around the world. They are committed to helping students learn how to be effective in whichever field they’ve decided to work in.

Some staff live more or less locally, while others come from wherever they work in the world, Asia, Africa, Eurasia specifically to teach on certain courses because, like me, they know that the best thing they can do to get the Bible into the hands and hearts of those who don’t have it is to train people!

For those who don’t live locally, like me, there are challenges. We come and stay at Redcliffe for the duration of the courses we teach on, or for parts of it. This may mean leaving family at home, or leaving other work elsewhere.

In my case, I am normally away from home from Monday morning through to Thursday afternoons. I love my times at Redcliffe, but for my husband, left at home with 2 teenagers, my times away are sometimes challenging! ‘

Please pray:

  • For the current students to finish the foundation training well and as they prepare to go overseas.
  • That God will give grace and good life-work balance for all the students, especially those with families and for the staff, especially those who don’t live locally.
  • That God will continue to provide good numbers of students.

Find out more about training at CLTL

Sharon Morgan head shotSharon Morgan is married to David and has two teenage children. She has worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is now based in the UK.  She teaches at CLTL for 5 weeks in January and February and 11 weeks between September and December each year. She loves gardening and cats.

Extra, extra: bonuses from our latest magazine

November 27th, 2014 by Hannah

Any frequent flyer will know the experience: you’ve got an extra few kilos of luggage allowance and you’re determined to use it, even if it means you have to sit on the suitcase to get it shut. We sometimes have the same experience with our magazine – there’s so much to get in that it doesn’t seem like there’s enough space on the page.

Go to wycliffe.org.uk/wflextra for the full image.

But we don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to share more of the brilliant happenings from the world of Bible translation, literacy and work with minority languages. Enter Words for Life Extra, a page on our website especially for those brilliant bits that we couldn’t quite squeeze in.

Visit wycliffe.org.uk/wflextra for…

  • The adventure-filled history of Bible translation in Chinese
  • The chance to download the brilliant centre graphic about the difference literacy can make (right)
  • Super photos of literacy in Papua New Guinea

…and even more! Have a look.

If you still haven’t had a chance to flick through Words for Life, you can find it here.