Still dreaming of Bible adventures

July 24th, 2014 by Hannah

‘I had visions of parachuting into the jungle, reaching legions of lost souls, and distributing Bibles and trust as I dashed from one Jesus-filled adventure to the next,’ said Kyle.


It was a dream Kyle woke up from. Melissa on the Wycliffe USA blog describes how Kyle grew up and became less interested in God, church and mission. It wasn’t until years later that his interest was rekindled, when a couple he knew mentioned that they were involved in mission through IT:

“At that moment, an explosion happened in my mind,” Kyle shared. “For so long I felt that I had missed my calling to missions, but the revelation that IT could be used to reach millions ignited a flame in me. I knew that I had to get involved.

“God spoke to me in that moment and I didn’t know how, when, or where, but I knew that I was being called to serve with Wycliffe.” Read the full story on the Wycliffe USA blog.

Kyle now works at the Wycliffe USA headquarters, supporting mission through IT. But even with people like Kyle on the team, IT remains one of the greatest needs for Bible translation. Without enough IT specialists, the work isn’t as efficient or effective as it could be and, in some places, it’s not able to happen at all.

Do you have the skills for IT and a passion for sharing God’s word? Find out more how you could serve in Bible translation through IT.

They heard singing…

July 21st, 2014 by Ruth

Wycliffe colleagues Tim and Ali are based in Nigeria, a country facing great challenges at the moment, particularly in the north.  But Nigeria has another huge and urgent challenge, one that has not made recent headline news.

It has a total of 520 languages, over 250 of which don’t have a single word of Scripture yet. There is a massive need for Bible translation. In fact, the country has the second biggest need for Bible translation in the world.

Tim writes,

One of our teams host Scripture songwriting workshops to help encourage churches to be using the languages that God gave them, to praise him…

Instruments ready for a song-writing workshop

Instruments ready for a song-writing workshop

Mr Sunday Timawus, coordinator of Ga’anda Bible translation project reports, ‘One of the things that attracts people in our area is songs, more than reading the Scripture actually.

‘I’ve seen the testimony of the people in our village. Most of the people who don’t come to church say, “Now you are doing something!” After the workshop we had a lot of revival in our church. Most of the time we see the elderly men and women staying at home since the services were not in the language,  but since the workshop there’s been kind of a breakthrough in our place and language. Now, most of what’s happening is in the language so they can understand it and they have rededicated their lives to God. Now they are saying, “When can we have another workshop?’’ (Read Tim’s blog here.)

Do you want to know more about the power of Scripture songs in the mother tongue?  Find out about Scripture use on the Wycliffe website.

Prayer is a risky business

July 18th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

I have a suspicion that sometimes prayer is seen as a safe option or the easier way to get involved in missions; safer than going, less costly than giving. I’d like to suggest the opposite is actually true. I think that prayer is a risky business.

A man in a baseball cap praysPerhaps we feel that praying for missions only impacts the missionaries, the situations they are in and possibly other parts of the world. While I would agree that God changes the situations about which we are praying, I believe it prayer changes us as well.

At GOfest 2014 I was privileged to attend a seminar on ‘Powerful Prayer’ run by Pray 24-7. They shared many encouraging stories about how God is changing situations, communities and more, both in the UK and elsewhere. However, the thing that struck me the most about what they shared, is that prayer is often only the beginning of something new. As they said, people ‘pray in the secret place and then step out in the market place.’

When we pray, we engage with God. It is through this process that our hearts are changed, that we become more passionate and that we can be given a vision for the path that God wants our lives to take. Prayer changes us. To me this is really exciting, but challenging and perhaps a little scary too.

So here is my challenge to you: are you willing to pray for what God is doing around the world? Are you prepared to engage with God, be envisioned, be released into passionate living and pursuing God? Are you willing to take the risk that, by praying, God may move you to get involved at a far deeper level?

If you are looking for ways to pray, follow @wycliffeuk_pray on Twitter or subscribe to receiving this blog regularly.

050Jo Johnson has worked with Wycliffe for 16 years and currently serves as the Prayer Coordinator. She is married to Stewart and has 3 children. She believes that prayer must be the foundation of all that we do.

Hot off the press: Words for Life magazine out now

July 18th, 2014 by Hannah

Teachers, singing, planes and eggs. What do all these have in common? Bible translation (obviously!).

In the most recent Words for Life magazine you’ll see how each of these had an important place in Wycliffe’s work around the world. You’ll read about what God is doing in Nigeria, Brazil, Russia, Canada and around the world. We’ve also included some super articles from our prayer coordinator about how you could run your own prayer event easily and why when we pray, God doesn’t always seem to answer.

From the editorial:

Nate is a pilot with Wycliffe in Indonesia. He’s seen firsthand how difficult it is to get the Bible to a small and remote community. Preparing a runway, sourcing the plane and delivering Bibles is expensive and difficult. Add to that many years of challenging work for the translation team, linguists and surveyors. You have to ask, ‘Is it really worth the effort?’

As he ponders, Nate says, ‘I am reminded of the immeasurable cost my God expended in searching out and finding me…’

Words for Life can be read online or downloaded. Don’t forget to explore the online extras for songs, video and a prayer that’s beautiful in more ways than one.

Bible translation needs managers

July 17th, 2014 by Hannah

Let’s break a preconception: Bibles aren’t translated by just one very dedicated man with a quill. They probably never have been (even Luther had a team!) and now, more than ever, Bible translation is tackled as a team.

But it’s better than most team projects: in this project, the result is only the beginning, as God’s word bears fruit in the lives of those who hear and read it. In this project, we have the ultimate team leader, Jesus, the Head of the Body. And in this project, whatever your skills, there’s something you can do.

This video from our partners in Papua New Guinea explains about their need for one of those invaluable, but oft forgotten roles: managers.

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Whether it’s for three months or three decades, in Papua New Guinea or in Paraguay, there’s a way you can play a part. If you are interested in seeing how you could serve overseas in Bible translation, these are your three next steps:

  1. Get a glimpse into some of the different roles on the Wycliffe website.
  2. Plan to join us at the October Next Step event with other people looking to change their lives to serve God.
  3. Chat to someone from the Wycliffe offices about what you could do.

Stronger than the spirits?

July 14th, 2014 by Hannah

When the Årsjö’s first arrived to work with the Ama people, there were no Christians. That fact didn’t change for the first six years they worked there. In the seventh, the first person – one of the men working with them on the translation – chose to believe in Jesus.

The Ninigo Islands, Papua New Guinea

The Ninigo Islands, Papua New Guinea

As the message spread and more people started to follow Jesus, there was one big issue that needed addressing: spirits.

Sören and Britten Årsjö looked in amazement at the young woman lying on their porch, as Albert, one of Ama translators, pleaded with them. “Please, you must do something!”

In traditional Papua New Guinean beliefs, the practice of sorcery and fear of the spirits govern daily life. In Ama, the word, popuwa, meant “evil spirit;” there was no such thing as a “good spirit.” A cursed person was doomed to die within three days—and if he or she told anyone, death would be immediate.

So, when Albert’s cousin courageously told him she’d been cursed, he acted immediately. They all gathered around the girl and began praying fervently, as well as administered antibiotics to help counteract any potential infection caused by the custom of inserting bone fragments into the sorcery victim’s body. They waited and prayed and waited, the whole village watching. Would she die? Or would this God be more powerful than sorcery and spirits?

Find out what happened to the girl and to the Ama community on Catherine’s blog.

We believe God can transform lives and communities, and sharing his word is a fantastic way to introduce people to him. Agree? We’re looking for people to support Bible translation through prayer, giving, advocating in churches and going to serve.

Leaving all that is familiar

July 11th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

At this time of year many cross-cultural workers and their families are on the verge of moving. Whether it’s a trip ‘home’ for the summer or an extended stay, there are adjustments to be made by everyone. Sometimes visits ‘home’ can be a mixed blessing.

Think particularly of the children: often they have grown up in another country and the UK is unfamiliar. Their parents take them to little known places and visit people they don’t remember.

Visiting the UK isn’t all bad; there are loads of fun things to do, and close family members ready to spoil you with presents and treats, but it can be stressful.

For those staying longer or moving back permanently, these challenges are multiplied by having to fit in at school or university. This can be especially difficult for those young people whose parents are returning overseas.

Will you pray for British Wycliffe families who are making a move this summer? Some are moving within the UK to start their training. Others are going overseas either for the first time or after a period in the UK. Still others are returning to the UK.

Please pray:

  • For safe travel and joyful reunions.
  • For the children who are saying goodbye to the countries that they have grown up in and their friends there. May God comfort them and give them a sense of excitement for what they are moving on to.
  • For God’s grace and strength for all the children adjusting to new environments and schools.
  • For all those who are starting university when their parents are remaining overseas, that they would have all the help they need to adjust to life in the UK. Ask God to place them in ‘second families’ and give them a home away from home. This is especially important when the finances are not available to pay for frequent visits to their real families.

To understand better how it feels to move cultures, watch this TCK re-entry video.

An audio milestone

July 10th, 2014 by Hannah

Our partners Faith Comes By Hearing have just announced a fantastic milestone: 1 million audio players produced.

All the players are either Bible Sticks or Proclaimers. A Bible Stick is a personal audio player, designed specifically for listening to audio Bibles. Faith Comes By Hearing say that the biggest single use of Bible Sticks is for people in the military, especially young people.

Children in Rwanda listening to a Proclaimer. Photo courtesy of FCBH,

Children in Rwanda listening to a Proclaimer. Photo courtesy of FCBH.

A Proclaimer is a radio-like box, a speaker on the front, a hand crank on the side and a solar panel on the top. The audio it plays can be heard by up to 300 people at a time – and what audio! It’s often used by listening groups, Bible studies based around listening to the Bible.

Mike Jayne, the engineer who designed the Proclaimer and Bible Stick, says:

“I’m truly grateful to be able to use the skills I’ve been blessed with to help bring God’s Word to those who otherwise may never have a chance to hear… We are reaching some of the poorest people on the planet. We never want them to have to choose between food for their family or putting batteries in the Proclaimer. That’s why we’ve made it self-sufficient and cost free for them.”

Read more about Faith Comes By Hearing’s big announcement. Why do people need audio Bibles? Read more about that question.

Issues facing Scripture films

July 7th, 2014 by Hannah

Taste and see that the Lord is good! Watching a Bible-based film in your own language is a wonderful way to see how good the Lord is.

Watching the JESUS Film

Watching the JESUS Film

Among the most used Bible-based films are the JESUS Film and the Luke Film, which are both based on the Gospel of Luke. If a team’s already done the translation work on Luke, what could be more obvious than recording the translation and dubbing it onto a film? Of course, it’s much easier said than done!

This prayer request, from Guyana in South America, highlights a handful of the problems you might face…

When preparing for the dubbing of the Luke video or other Scripture, many challenges arise. How do you choose the right person to read the words of Jesus, Mary, or Paul? How do you get verses that take 45 seconds to read in the local language down to the 30 seconds used in the English version of the film? How many practice times are necessary for the readers to learn to read with expression and clarity?

The team are in the process of preparing the script and casting people to read the parts for the film. Stand with them in prayer.

One thing that would make the process much easier is if enthusiastic people joined the team – people who are passionate about film and about sharing God’s word: wherever you long to serve God, there is a need for people with these passions and skills so that more people can hear Jesus speak their language. Find out about ways to explore roles with Wycliffe.

Central African Republic: God at work in impossible situations

July 4th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

Several times in the last 12 months we’ve asked you to pray for the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR). There is no real breakthrough towards a peaceful resolution in sight. Here is an update to help you keep praying.

In places there is an uneasy tension between the two conflicting sides that is fragile, and very small things can tip the balance into violence. Praise God that things in the capital city Bangui have improved. Due to insecurity in other areas of the country, seven translation teams have been temporarily relocated to Bangui in order to continue the work at the ACATBA* centre.

Please continue to pray for complete peace and reconciliation for CAR. Pray that the seven teams will be able to return to their home areas soon.

Sylvain Ndjendole CAR13DJ-1Despite all the difficulties, God has been at work. It seems incredible that with a backdrop of such violence and insecurity translation work has continued, but there are now more than 40 books of the Bible ready for consultant checking in several languages.

About a year ago the revised Sango Bible was launched. Just before the launch, violence erupted and many of the Bibles were looted and some destroyed although others were found on sale in the local market. The Bibles have been reprinted and 9,100 new copies are on their way. However, even once they arrive in Douala (Cameroon), they have to be transported to CAR. Just last week the haulage union members who drive the freight lorries between Cameroon and CAR went on strike because of the number of deaths on that road and the huge risks they face if they drive it.

Praise God for how he is at work. Please pray:

  • that God will provide creative solutions to the clear the backlog of drafted Scripture that is waiting for consultant checking.
  • that God will strengthen the faith of each ACATBA member of staff in the face of serious hardship.
  • that God will provide a safe way for the Sango Bibles to reach CAR and be distributed.
  • for the food situation, since this is now the end of the planting season and final efforts are being made to get seed and tools out to people.

Read Central African Republic: an update, our earlier blog on the conflict in CAR.

*ACATBA: Association Centralfricaine pour la Traduction de la Bible et l’Alphabétisation, the Wycliffe organisation in CAR.