Trials and testing

April 24th, 2015 by Jo Johnson

Many translators work in very difficult situations. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been through years of civil war and rebel activity. Such insecurity has a ripple effect into everyday life impacting the availability of food, good medical provision and schooling, to name just a few things.

Omi team and Kabucungu

Kabucungu (back) with the Omi team

Just recently Congolese translation consultant Kabucungu and his colleague Sarah visited the Omi project, in the DRC, to check some of portions of the New Testament that the team have drafted. Sarah describes just a few of the issues they face:

‘The Omi translators work in an isolated situation and have faced big challenges in recent years, including insecurity caused by rebel activity, and the departure of a series of leaders from the project. Last year the two most experienced translators in the team suffered big health setbacks. Pario was off work for several months because of an operation for cancer, and Alimadri has just come to the end of a six month absence caused by a heart condition. Their computers were paralysed by viruses for several months – a very poor internet connection meant that they were not able to update anti-virus protection. A lack of available translation consultants means that Omi drafts of various New Testament books are stacking up waiting for the necessary checks. Translating the New Testament can sometimes seem like a test of endurance in the desert.’

Despite all this the team continues work and progress is being made. Back to Sarah:

‘Our time together was intensive and uplifting. Kabucungu and I took turns to lead the checking sessions with the team, and we managed to complete the books of 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy. It was a great bonus to have Kabucungu with us. His own experience as a translator in tough conditions, his pastoral heart and his infectious sense of humour were a huge help in encouraging the translators to keep persevering in challenging conditions.’

Please praise God for the checking that Kabucungu and Sarah were able to do with the Omi team.

Please pray:

  • for perseverance, protection and continuing progress for the Omi translators.
  • for more translation consultants to work with the Omi and other teams in DRC, so that translation drafts can be finalised.
  • for opportunities for more Omi people to hear God’s Word in Omiti, and that it will bring new life and faith.

Find more ways to pray for the DRC using our Frontline Prayer module.

IMG_4788Sarah Casson is a translation consultant and spends most of her time training translators at Shalom University, Bunia. To better equip her for this work, she is currently based in London and doing doctoral studies. She loves cricket and beautiful gardens.


Transition for the Northern Ireland team

April 20th, 2015 by Nick Brier

The process of Bible translation takes place in many different locations and some of it happens a lot closer to home than you may think! From finance to communications and Excel to Word, here in the UK offices, we work hard to enable this important task and help members who are directly involved. We are also raising awareness of Bible translation amongst the UK church. And like all things, our offices go through times of transition.

wycliffe-logo-colourThis coming Tuesday we will be interviewing for a team leader in the Northern Ireland office. This interview will result in a new team leader being appointed for the next two years at least.

We would greatly appreciate your partnership with us through your prayers for the candidates and for the interview panel in their preparations too.

  • Please pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in choosing the right candidate for the job
  • Pray as well for a successful transition of the new Northern Ireland team leader into the role. The move to the new office will be their first challenge. Their job will be an important one as they seek to help the rest of the team to continue connecting local churches to translation projects globally.

Please also join us in celebration and prayer for the Northern Ireland team, as after 10 years in their current place, the team will  be relocating offices later this year. Thank you for your prayers so far in this.

Join in and be a part of what God is doing both in the UK and globally – pray, go or tell others. Be involved.

World changers event – Church under pressure – 18th April

April 17th, 2015 by Jo Johnson

Increasingly we are being bombarded, even in the mainstream press, with news of many situations where Christians are being persecuted and even martyred. Many of us have been deeply horrified and yet feel powerless to make a difference. Maybe we’ve tried to pray but feel that we don’t know enough to pray effectively.

IMG_0515We would like to invite you to equip yourself to make a difference, by attending a World Changers event in Reading tomorrow, called Church Under Pressure. During the day Canon Andrew White (Vicar of Baghdad) and Steve Bell will be speaking, many organisations who work in difficult situations will be exhibiting and there will be seminars including one entitled ‘How to pray effectively for the Persecuted Church’. It is the ideal opportunity to equip yourself with enough understanding to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters.

The day is free and you will need to bring your own lunch. There is also a programme for children during the morning.

Don’t miss this great opportunity.

As this is such an important issue a frontline prayer module is available online called Praying for the persecuted church. This will help you and your church stand in the gap for Christians and Bible translation in areas of the world where there is persecution.

Translation Prayer

April 17th, 2015 by Jo Johnson

It’s different for all of us. That is, what wakes us up each morning. I love to wake up to the sound of coffee beans grinding, knowing that the aroma will waft down to our bedroom in another minute or so. I’d love to say waves crashing on the beach outside my bedroom is my standard alarm clock, but that is rather unlikely here in Calgary.

331B6409But beyond alarm clocks, beyond coffee grinders, even beyond crashing waves, there must be something deeper and bigger that gets us up each morning. For us, it is the fact that over one billion people lack access to complete Bibles in their heart language, and every day we make our little contribution to solve this problem. I, as vice president of programs and strategy, lead a team that develops and facilitates Wycliffe Canada’s work and partnerships around the globe, as well as general strategy for the organization. Tammy is part-time receptionist and also provides administrative support to me and the leadership team.

It’s sometimes hard to fathom why God has chosen to complete so much of His mission through people like us, His body, the Church. I know that in the same way that God simply spoke, and the world came to be, that God could simply speak and all languages of the earth would have His Word, and all peoples of the world could know Him.

Yet He has chosen you and me. Yes you, not just me. “But how can I contribute?” you ask. First and foremost, you can pray.

Through prayer, we declare our dependency on God. Through prayer, we declare we cannot do this alone. Through prayer, mountains are moved, sick are healed, Bibles are translated and people turn to their Creator for forgiveness and are ultimately reconciled to Him. The following prayer has been in front of me on my desk for several months. I have personally prayed it many times. We invite you to pray it with us.

Thank you for praying.

Translation Prayer
God, Your Word is more precious than all that I possess
Psalm 19:10
Your Scripture gives light to my path and directs my steps
Psalm 119:105
Through Your will alone lives are transformed and minds made new
Romans 12:2
So I now pray for all people that do not yet know You
1 Timothy 2:1-6
For You’ve promised that Your voice by every tribe and nation will be heard
Revelations 7:9
So equip us by Your breath to provide every heart language with Your Word
2 Timothy 3:15-17

Check out lots of other ways to pray for Bible translation in our prayer pack: Focused prayer, kingdom results.

Justin and Tammy Hettinga worked with the Quecha people of Peru for a number of years as adult literacy specialists. They now live and work with Wycliffe Canada in Calgary. They have two teenage sons.

This post was first published on Justin and Tammy’s blog page on the Wycliffe Canada website.

Traversing Translators

April 13th, 2015 by Nick Brier

Wycliffe’s goal is to bring Scripture to those without, with a focus on minority language groups. Often this leads to work taking place in remote regions throughout the world. As a result, journeys are not always that straightforward.

In this fascinating story, Geneviève recounts a recent trip she took to visit reindeer herders in north eastern Siberia as part of an anthropological study of the region. What should have been a journey to the herders camp that lasted around three hours, changed drastically when the teams snowmobile broke down over a frozen lake.

Geneviève writes:

‘But we were stuck. In the middle of nowhere. You can’t simply fix a frozen engine while on a frozen arctic lake. There was an all-pervasive frozen mist and we could see nothing in any direction. And the local Chukchi couple told us to walk. I thought they knew we were going to die, and they didn’t want to witness it. And so Zhanna and I started walking, while the local couple stayed with the frozen snowmobile. I wasn’t afraid. I don’t think I was afraid to die. I thought, if this is it, then it’s an interesting choice on God’s part…’

Read Geneviève’s full story

Translators face many challenges and adventures, some of which, can be found on the route to the destination. But the goal is more than worth it and God is faithful to provide.

Being involved in Bible translation can take you to all sorts of places in this diverse world. You can help and support this amazing work of bringing God’s word to people in a language they can understand. Find out how you can be involved.


Pray for the persecuted church

April 10th, 2015 by Jo Johnson

More and more frequently on the mainstream news, we hear about the persecution of Christians; beheadings in Iraq, kidnappings and killings in Nigeria and much more.

Praying handsIt’s easy to be overwhelmed by the horror of these events and feel unable to make a difference. Yet we serve a God for whom nothing is impossible. As I’ve found out more about Christians under pressure, the overwhelming message that I’ve seen is this: the number one, most significant thing we can do for persecuted Christians, is to pray for them.

Yet it’s hard to know how to pray. For that reason we’ve compiled a Frontline prayer module which is available online free to download, called ‘Pray for the Persecuted Church‘.

This module will give enough material to inform you and help you to pray for about an hour. You’ll take a whistle-stop tour to many areas of the world where despite persecution the Christians are standing strong and Bible translation is happening. We give you facts and figures, videos to watch which help you understand the situation and motivate you to pray, as well as lots and lots of prayer needs. The module will help you grasp the issues and challenges facing Christians who are persecuted and resource you to pray intelligently. It’s ideal for use with groups of any size.

Hebrews 13:3 tells us ‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Will you pray for those members of our Christian family that are suffering today?

Check out the downloadable resource, ‘Pray for the persecuted church‘.

If you are interested in the persecuted church there is a great opportunity to find out more by attending the World Changers event ‘Church under pressure‘, in Reading on 18th April. The day is free but places are limited so please book.

Big impacts from small beginnings

April 3rd, 2015 by Jo Johnson

Christmas and Easter are wonderful opportunities to share small portions of translated Scripture. When people first hear God’s word in their own language the impact is often huge resulting in amazing revelation and transformation.

Karon Christmas story SD cardsTranslation in the Karon language of Senegal has recently started. In preparation for Christmas a dramatised reading of Luke 1 and 2 was recorded along with 8 Christmas songs composed using these chapters of the Bible. 250 SD memory cards were duplicated, along with a booklet of the printed chapters, a small glossary and lyrics of the 8 songs. An elderly man was dying and listened to the recording over and over all day long. Before he died he gave his life to Jesus.

The Aghem project started in 2005 and one of the first things they produced was the Easter story so that the Aghem people could celebrate Easter fully understanding the power of the resurrection of Christ.

Aghem Easter Story Flyer

10 years later and the whole of the New Testament is drafted. More and more churches are using the portions that have been published. A song book has now been printed and an Aghem dictionary is near to completion. However, it is often in the final stages of translating the New Testament and preparing it for print that teams face the greatest opposition. Please stand with the Aghem team so they can meet their goal to launch the New Testament in 2016.

Please pray:

  • for all the language communities around the world that will hear God’s word in their heart language for the first time this Easter.
  • that God will prepare the hearts of the whole Aghem community to receive his word.
  • that God would intervene and bring stability to the nations impacted by the actions of Boko Haram.
  • for safety when travelling, good health and protection for all the Aghem team and their families.
  • for functional literacy classes; that many in the Aghem community will learn to read and write in preparation for the publication of the New Testament.

The Aghem project is overseen by our partner CABTAL. Go to the CABTAL website for more information about the project.

Belt and Braces

March 30th, 2015 by Nick Brier

Did you know that Scripture is not only translated once, but twice when bringing Scripture to a people’s heart language? It would be completely rational for you to assume that once Scripture has been translated there is no further need to translate the material. But did you know that Scripture is then translated back into English?

Back Translation, as it is called, is a word for word process. These words are then re-arranged to make sense in English. This is due to differences in sentence structure found between languages.

A class in Papua New Guinea being taught Back translation Principles. It’s hard work and requires a strong grasp of both languages involved.


Why do we do this? To help ensure that the translated text is faithful and accurate to the original and that none of the meaning is lost in translation, an essential belt and braces process. People are learning these principles in classes through out the world, including in Papua New Guinea.

“Pray for wisdom as this training is very important to the accuracy of the translation.” – PNG Experience

Read about this and more of what’s happening in Papua New Guinea on the PNG Experience website.

Being a translator is just one of the roles needed to bring Scripture to people who need it the most. Find out how you can be involved in this amazing work or you can read another back translation example in our latest edition of Words for Life.

New Words for Life out now

March 28th, 2015 by Hannah

The latest edition of Words for Life, Wycliffe’s news and prayer magazine is available now. In this edition:

  • Cover of Wycliffe's magazineThe vital steps between completing a translation and launching a New Testament.
  • An on-the-ground update from turbulent South Sudan.
  • A fresh look at the Parable of the Sower.
  • And answering the question, ‘Do we still need missionaries?’

… along with much more. There’s enough prayer information to keep you praying for four months, plenty to celebrate as we report on some of the latest Bible launches, and a challenge to get involved for you and your church.

Words for Life is available to download now. Not enough? Visit our Words for Life Extra page for videos, posters and more information on things mentioned in the magazine.

The Bible for the unreached

March 27th, 2015 by Jo Johnson

Did you know that there are about 400 sign languages in the world and none of them yet have the whole of the Bible? Deaf Opportunity Outreach (DOOR) International, which has a centre in Kenya, is working to change this.

One of their translation consultants, Josh, explains his work:

Celebrating portions of the Bible in Kerala Sign language

Celebrating portions of the Bible in Kerala Sign language

‘Today I have been working on a commentary piece on the fruit of the Spirit, specifically joy. After I have done the study I will sit with one of our Deaf translators and work to explain what the Bible teaches about joy so that he can sign it in a way that is clear and easily understood by the Deaf in their own language. It is exciting and fun. I love my job.

But you know what is so frustrating? Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” But that hasn’t been translated yet. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” Wow! But that isn’t translated either.

Praise God for the work that has been accomplished! It is impacting lives. Deaf people in Kenya are turning to Jesus and growing in their faith.’

Please pray:

  • Pray for the translation teams working at the DOOR centre in Kenya.
  • Pray for the translators as they do the difficult work of taking meaning from one language and communicating it clearly in another.
  • Pray for those working with the teams to help them understand what the texts mean so they are able to do that work.
  • Pray for those who will be checking the translations for accuracy.’

Watch the need for sign language Bible translation, an inspiring video that explains how deaf communities are being impacted with God’s word.