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 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 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.

Dreaming Dreams

November 24th, 2014 by Nick Brier

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young will see visions.” Joel 2:28 NIV

As a young boy, throughout his childhood, Anton was often woken in the night by a bright light which would then be followed by a recurring dream. These dreams eventually led him to God. Anton now plays a key role as a narrator in the Bible translation storytelling project. This is an amazing story of how God works in unexpected ways in bringing people to know him and how he is working within the community of the San*.

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We all have a part to play in our lives, find out how you can get involved with the work of Wycliffe.

*the San – made up of 9 people groups who live in Namibia and Botswana in the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa.

Video produced by The Seed Company

What’s in a name?

November 22nd, 2014 by Ruth

Living and working cross-culturally involves a huge amount of adjustment, giving up your own norms and familiarity for what is normal and familiar to those in your host country.  Rachel writes in her blog about how even her name got lost in translation.

A bracelet with lettered beads“Why is your name Rashid? You aren’t a man. Are you a man?”

Eventually I got tired of explaining that I was, indeed, a woman, despite all nomenclature to the contrary. Someone suggested I needed a Somali name and I took the first one they offered, Lula. It means diamond, or light.

In all other cases in Djibouti, my name is Rachel. It isn’t always easy for people to say and they forget it easily. I don’t mind, I forget theirs, too. Sometimes it does sound like Rashid. Sometimes it sounds like the French name Rachelle. That’s fine, too. Its my name, however it sounds on someone else’s lips and I appreciate their effort in trying it, appreciate my freedom to hold on to at least my name when I seem to have let so much else go in this expatriate life.

I feel like telling someone your name is giving them a gift. I’m saying I don’t care how you pronounce it but this is me. My name along with all the other foreign and strange things about me are what you get when we develop a relationship. I’m saying, let’s explore those differences and learn from each other, even as we learn how to say each other’s names.

She goes on to share an alternative perspective from an American woman,

[who] used to engage with Chinese students in the United States and struggled to pronounce their names, to remember their names, to remember who went with which name. They would go back and forth, battling through tones and consonant combinations, and she would still slaughter their name.

She said that when one of them would say, “Please call me David,” she felt an immense relief, sorry that she couldn’t master their original name, but thankful that they could now move beyond her embarrassing attempts and into a relationship. She knew full well what they were giving up and wished they didn’t have to. But, honestly, felt thankful. (Read full post.)

These experiences put a very human perspective on what it can feel like for the millions of people without God’s word in their language as they try to get to know God for themselves.  Without God’s word – or even name – in their language, so many think they need to talk to him in another language, or struggle to pronounce unfamiliar sounds to call on his name.  Imagine their relief when they discover God is happy for them to use his local name and for them to converse in the local language.

He is known by the names Isa, Jisas, Jesu, Jezu, Jisasɨ, Yesus, Sisa and Azezi to mention just a few.  As one who ‘became flesh and took up residence among us’, (John 1.14) he still wants to break down the communication barriers and come into relationship with people of all nations, languages and cultures.

More than just educators

November 21st, 2014 by Jo Johnson

Becoming a support worker in the world of mission may not seem very glamorous but often it is the support workers that are the critical cogs in the mission ‘machine’. Take teachers, for example: without good educational support many missionary families would not be able to be overseas.

The role of a teacher in a mission school setting can be so much more than just imparting knowledge. Watch this video about Ukarumpa International School and discover the critical importance of teachers to Bible translation and language development.

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‘As translators living in a remote part of Papua New Guinea (PNG) there’s a lot of challenges that come with that and UIS has met that challenge for us.’

Please pray:

  • that UIS will be able to recruit all the teachers and other staff they need, so that they can continue supporting families who are involved in Bible translation in Papua New Guinea.
  • that God will equip the teachers at UIS and elsewhere in the world to work in these unique environments and meet the needs of the children and families they are serving.

Find out how for one family in UIS teachers help in their unique way of doing school and by influencing for good.

Find out more about teaching needs around the world.

Retirees, Russia and the right medicine: all in the latest magazine

November 20th, 2014 by Hannah

The latest edition of Words for Life, Wycliffe’s prayer and news magazine, is out now. It’s full of exciting stories, including how a young Finnish woman ended up working on the Arctic Circle…

wfl201403-cover“A calling to cross-cultural ministry came early to Suvi – starting around the age of seven. Even then, she began the process of thinking about where she might like (and not like) to serve. South America was high on her list; Russia was at the bottom of it. ‘I thought at one point, Okay, God, basically anywhere, but never to Russia,’ she shares.” Read the rest of the story on page 8.

Also in this edition…

  • Two couples – retiring after 50 and 45 years of service with Wycliffe – share their stories.
  • What can help people feel safe on the bus, get the right medication and help their children with their school work? Revealed, with many other impacts too!
  • What happened after one village’s first ever Christmas celebrations.

All this and more in the next edition of Wycliffe’s magazine Words for Life. View it at

Enjoyed Words for Life? Tell others by liking it on our Facebook page.

Drums, Dancing and Scripture

November 17th, 2014 by Nick Brier

Picture not being able read or understand Scripture, constantly struggling to grasp what is written. Now imagine the elation and joy of finally reading it in your own language, finally having it presented in a way that makes sense!  This is a glimpse of the excitement felt by people all over the world who have God’s word presented to them in their own language for the first time. Scripture dedications are an exhilarating and joyous time.

The article: God Speaks in African Sign Languages shares the moment when the Deaf translation teams from several African countries, teams made up of colleagues who have lived and worked together for years, come together for their Scripture dedication celebrations.

‘Guests from around the world gathered as the celebrations began. The teams were introduced and came to the front of the room to the beat of the drums.’
Praise God that his word is being made available and that people are able to worship him in their heart language. However, there is still plenty more work to do. The latest statistics show that as of October 1st 2014, around 180 million people speaking at least 1,860 languages still need the Bible.
Find out how you can help.

The Rosetta Project, a Comet and Scripture

November 15th, 2014 by Nick Brier

Here’s an interesting post by Peter Brassington ‘Scripture in Space: Bible portions delivered safely to comet’, on the recent landing of the Rosetta’s probe, and what it took with it!

Scripture distribution reached new heights when the Rosetta Probe landed safely on a comet.

Attached to the probe is a small disc into which over 13,000 pages of information on over 1,500 human languages are etched in microscopic print. Fortunately you can browse an interactive copy at  A number (I don’t know how many but feel free to count) of the pages on the back of the disc are pages of scripture. (Read full post here.)

On the Wycliffe website, we’ve catalogued a number of examples of Scripture in different languages.  Have a browse!

Why pray?

November 14th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

We held Frontline Prayer Live last Saturday (8th November). The timing was deliberate as Wycliffe worldwide takes one day a year, 11th November, to come together in prayer. We wanted to offer the church in the UK the opportunity to be part of this and be impacted by the power of praying together with others all around the globe.

Why take a big chunk of our weekend to pray for Bible translation?

IMG_4719-crop‘Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.’ Psalm 127:1 NIV

We recognise that this is God’s work and not ours. It must be done in his power and in his way. The ministry of Wycliffe Bible Translators was founded on prayer and must always be grounded in prayer.

So we started the morning with worship and praised God for who he is and what he has done. Then came a full morning of prayer interspersed with short media presentations to help us pray intelligently. We prayed that God’s name would be glorified, that his Kingdom would come and that many many lives would be transformed as a result. The focus was, of course, Bible translation: we prayed for workers, projects, resources and training but the purpose must always be that God’s name is glorified in the whole earth.

How often in our own prayer lives do we have an agenda other than glorifying God?

If you missed last Saturday’s event you have another opportunity to join in: on 22nd November there will be another Frontline Prayer Live event in Iver, Bucks. Don’t miss out, one participant said that Frontline Prayer Live was the best prayer event she had ever attended.

Alternatively you can be part of this worldwide prayer event by downloading the materials and using them whenever you, your CU, church or small group prays together.  One small group member with little knowledge of Bible translation work today used the prayer material recently.  She exclaimed, “It’s making me realise how much I take my own Bible for granted.  These translators are so dedicated to their work!”

Christmas Appeal – God’s Quiet Revelation

November 13th, 2014 by Nick Brier

Our Christmas appeal has launched! In it we tell the story of Fatima*, a young Muslim woman, living with her family in Mindanao in the Philippines.

By her own admission, she used to be an angry person and would often act disrespectfully towards her parents. In 2001 she came across portions of the New Testament translations in her own language and for more than nine years continued to read portions of Mark and Luke’s Gospels alongside a major language translation.

“I would read in secret because my parents would get very angry with me if they caught me reading the Bible. One time my mother saw me and forbade me to continue reading.”

Anonymous Muslim worshippers After many years of secretly reading God’s word and seeking the truth of who he really is, he quietly revealed himself to her as she read the words of Jesus, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). For the first time she understood that Jesus is not just a Prophet, he is Christ the Lord—and she came to know him as her Saviour.

For Fatima, the transforming power of God’s word in her own language is both personal and dynamic.

“I just live in the way that his word teaches me to live, that’s what attracts my Muslim friends to think differently, even as I have. The change in me is the greatest testimony to the power of God and the truth of his word”.

The dedication and perseverance of the translation team working in her language has been amazing, continuing in their ministry in an Islamic context for so long before they saw the first fruit of their labour. 29 years after the project began, Fatima became the first to believe in her language community. Today her mother and sister are among the growing group of believers who are quietly beginning to form a small church.

The vision of Wycliffe remains steadfast. We want everyone in the world to have access to the Bible in the language they understand best, and are working with partners worldwide to see a Bible translation programme begun in every remaining language that needs one.

Will you make a special financial gift to Wycliffe this Christmas? A gift of just £10 could translate a single verse and change someone’s life forever. Give now.


*name changed for security reasons