Archive for July, 2012

The Next Step: 3 – 6 September

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Do you get excited when you hear about people’s lives being changed when they read the Bible in their own language?

Do you ever wonder if you could be part of it?

Are you still trying to work out where you might fit in?

The Next Step, Wycliffe’s newest event for enquirers, could be just the thing for you. The debut event is coming up in just over a month.

Building on the excellent and in-depth exploring of the Window on Wycliffe course, The Next Step is custom-built for your enquiry. It runs over four days at The Wycliffe Centre, near High Wycombe.

The event will cover:

  • worship and Bible times to dig deeper into God’s plans and work;
  • exploring what it takes to make a Bible translation happen;
  • exploring roles within the Bible translation movement that get Scriptures off shelves and into the hearts of people from minority language communities;
  • working out how your gifts and mission can fit into and serve your church;
  • working out which role would suit your skills and expertise;
  • cafe-style question times to release your inner control freak and ask all those niggling questions on a one-on-one basis;
  • great food, great company;
  • and much, much more!

The debut session will run between 3rd and 6th September. For more information, go to wycliffe.org.uk/thenextstep (you can find out about how to register there too).

Four days seem a bit much? Find your nearest one-day First Steps event.

Real freedom

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

“That’s good. I’m a ‘free citizen’. Now I can go to any pub and drink,” Jerry thought to himself when the government changed its policy towards Indigenous Australians in 1965.

God’s word clearly tells us that, without freedom from Christ, we will always be slaves to sin, no matter how free our external appearance is. Jerry found this out, but fortunately God found him. Now he wants to share God’s word with his community:

“I was in real trouble,” Jerry confesses. After six years of alcoholism Jerry became very ill. He couldn’t walk and was constantly forced to ask his close family members to help him. He would beg his mother, “Rub some fat all over my body, and make me better.” But nothing helped.

“One night I was lying down, worried and frightened and I started to dream….” Jesus appeared to him in a dream like a bright shining star and took him to a big gold gate. At the end of the dream, Jerry was healed. “You mightn’t believe me,” he exclaims, “But that was my dream, and that was my call from Jesus.”

Jerry usually avoided the Christian family living in his community but the next morning he got up quickly and went straight to their house. “What does this mean for me?” Jerry asked the man who lived there. “He believed me and prayed for me.”

“So then I decided to give up the drink… I was a new man.”

Jerry quickly became involved in the church and eventually became a church leader. He assisted with the translation of Genesis and the New Testament into his language, Warlpiri. Jerry is praying for someone with training to come and assist his community to translate the rest of the Old Testament into Warlpiri. Having the Bible in Warlpiri is, “…really important for teaching in church. I’d like to teach my people more and more. The word from God – that light – is important for all people.”

The Walpiri Christian community is growing. During Easter in 2011, 14 new Christians were baptised into the small church at Lajamanu. “Yeah, we got a big mob here now. Praise God. We are really happy.” This story was first posted on wycliffe.net, the website of Wycliffe Global Alliance. The account and photo are by Elyse Patten. Read the original here.

Our website, and that of Wycliffe Global Alliance, is packed with stories and information you can use to encourage friends, family and church family. Find more resources on our website.

How computer text becomes a Bible

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Several Bible translation projects supported directly by Wycliffe South Africa are nearing completion. In their latest newsletter, they take us through some of the final stages of getting a Bible translation into the hands of the people waiting for it.

‘Have you ever wondered what happens when a Bible translator has finished? After years of painstaking translation, with all the struggles, setbacks, breakthroughs, laughter and tears, the job is finally done – having been checked and re-checked by the team, the expert consultants, and the leadership and declared ‘finished’.

‘What now? How do those computer files become a book that people can read and carry with them?

‘That’s where Scripture typesetting comes in. Over the long course of a translation project, inconsistencies can result. Translation checking deals with the major inconsistencies; Scripture typesetting deals with minor ones like spelling, punctuation, capital letters, hyphens, and so on.

‘But why bother about these little details? Because this is the word of God. We don’t want anything to stand between the reader and the message of God’s love. No effort is too great to produce a Bible or New Testament that is well and clearly laid out, making it easy to read and understand.’

Read more about the process of the last steps in the latest newsletter of Wycliffe South Africa.

Do you see yourself in this process? Find out more about how you can be involved with getting the Bible out of the computer and into people’s hands and hearts.

Light in the dark, deep places

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Having a brand new shiny copy of the New Testament in the language you know the best is of no use if you can’t read. The New Testament will just sit on a shelf. Fortunately, organisations like Faith Comes By Hearing, who partner with us, are committed to getting the Scriptures out in audio format.

A group of people in Bolivia listen to a Proclaimer

This story comes from their blog, and shows how God’s word is bringing light to the darkest places:

Andrés and his wife Adriana came to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour just a couple of months ago. When some people from the U.S. visited last month and gave them a Proclaimer*, Andrés told them, ‘This is GREAT!’ He and Adriana had been wanting to learn more about God’s word, and now could listen to the Audio New Testament in their language.

Andrés works in the mines 14 days on, 7 days off. He decided to take the Proclaimer to work with him, and he and his team started listening every day through their entire 12 hour shifts.

Everything was great until the other shift heard about it – they wanted to listen too, and didn’t have a Proclaimer!

So Andrés made a deal with a believer on the other shift. As one team leaves the mines, they hand it off to the other team who then listens through their entire shift. […]

And while Andrés is away, Adriana holds listening groups at home with another Proclaimer, where people from the community gather, listen to God’s word, and discuss what they have heard.

The people who gave Andrés the Proclaimer wrote to Faith Comes By Hearing, ‘Andrés told our team yesterday that he was so thankful that we had come to his community and brought the Proclaimer machine; and that because of our work and the Audio Bible, he and his family are now believers. He is working to spread the news and share the Proclaimers with as many people as possible!’

*A Proclaimer is a digital audio mp3 player that can play up to 15 hours of a New Testament recording at once. Take a closer look at a Proclaimer.

Wycliffe and our partners like Faith Comes By Hearing long for people to be able to access the word of God in the way that is most natural and clear to them. Find out about ways you could be involved.

Getting the word out

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

On the Christian news website, Christianity Today, the President of Door of Hope International shared an amazing story about the struggles of getting the Bible to certain parts of the world:

‘I met Musaf (not his real identity) while ministering to underground believers in the sweltering desert temperatures of Africa. Musaf’s vision to deliver Bibles into Mauritania was definitely unusual.

“Can you help me purchase a camel?” he asked […]

“I need 200 Bibles in Arabic, 100 Bibles in French, MP3 players, teaching materials and a camel,” he told me.

I asked, “Why a camel?”

“To carry the Bibles across miles of desert,” he stated.

Of course, it made perfect sense! […]

Nomadic communities are difficult to reach. Forever moving like the shifting sand dunes to keep their herds fed and watered, they have no walls. Moving is necessary for them, but this often isolates them from others.

How will they hear the gospel? It must be brought to them on the hump of a camel.’ Read the rest of the article.

What wonderful work this organisation does, helping get the Bible to those who are still without access to it! Find out more about them here.

It’s a work we can all be involved in, in different ways. Here at Wycliffe Bible Translators, we are focused on making sure that, when the Bible reaches people, it’s in a language they can really understand.

Find out more about how you could be involved with the work of Bible translation. We also have some information about getting the Bible to people in a language they can understand here in the UK.

First taste

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Translating God’s word is not only an academic or linguistic exercise. As national translators are the first people to have God’s word in their mother tongue, they have the first glimpse of the impact the Scriptures will have among speakers of their language.

In this video from Wycliffe USA, Samuel shares how translating the Scriptures has transformed the way that he understands them. Samuel works with the Uganda-Tanzania branch of Wycliffe’s key partner, SIL.

For more stories from the work in Uganda and Tanzania, visit the branch website, thetask.net. Find out more about the need for the Bible to be translated into the mother-tongue languages of people everywhere.

Transforming translation: Central African Republic

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

‘If we are to understand the word of God, God needs to translate himself into our language, so that his words can speak deeply to each person,’ reflected Elvis. ‘It’s the translation of the word of God into my language that is at the base of my own faith.’

Elvis Guenekean was once an atheist, an eager student of humanistic philosophy, and firmly set against Christian faith.  It was the process of translating Scriptures into his own language and the persistent prayers of his wife that God used to bring Elvis into a relationship with Jesus.

Photo by Zeke Du Plessis

‘When my wife would return home from prayer meetings, I would mock her, asking her a series of philosophical questions,’ he remembers. ‘I aimed to persuade her that God didn’t exist and that her faith was useless.’ He remembered that his remarks often made her cry, but also that he never dissuaded her from praying for him. [...]

Elvis saw translation as just a challenging intellectual exercise. But as he sought the meaning of each passage of Scripture and grappled with the best way to express it in Gbeya, he began to discover the God of the Bible.

‘As I became immersed in the word of God I began to understand the incredible love and grace which he freely gives each one of us,’ he recalls. ‘I couldn’t even imagine why God would want a relationship with me. My deep intimacy with God is one of the most amazing things I take from this ministry.’

Account as told to Beth Wicks. Read the rest of the article on wycliffe.net.

God desires a deeply intimate relationship with every person in the world. As he speaks in their heart language through his word, individuals and communities are transformed. But millions today still have no idea that God wants such a relationship with them, having no access to the Story of his love in a language they understand. Find out how you can be involved in the transforming work of Bible translation.

The power of the Magnificent Story for children of all ages

Monday, July 9th, 2012

I was reminded of the power of God’s Story when reading a recent blog post from children’s author Sally Lloyd-Jones. She shared a striking illustration of how one child responded to the Story of the Bible as she read it to her one day.

‘One Sunday, not long ago, I was reading the story of Daniel and the Scary Sleepover from The Jesus Storybook Bible to some 6 year olds during a Sunday school lesson. One little girl in particular was sitting so close to me she was almost in my lap. Her face was bright and eager as she listened to the story, utterly captivated. She could hardly keep on the ground and kept kneeling up to get closer to the story…

‘When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn’t mainly about us, and what we are supposed to be doing — it’s about God, and what he has done! the power of the story isn’t in the lesson. The power of the story is the story.

‘And that’s why I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible. So children could know what I didn’t:

  • That the Bible isn’t mainly about me, and what I should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
  • That the Bible is most of all a story — the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
  • That – in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him – God won’t ever stop loving his children… with a wonderful, never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.
  • That the Bible, in short, is a Story – not a Rule Book – and there is only one Hero in the Story.

‘I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible so children could meet the Hero in its pages. And become part of his Magnificent Story.

‘Because rules don’t change you.

‘But a Story – God’s Story – can.’ Read full post on desiringgod.org

Sally has a passion for God’s Story to be accessible to children, communicated in a way they understand. As I read her post I couldn’t help but think of young and old worldwide who still don’t have access to God’s Story in a language they understand. As God’s Magnificent Story is translated, time and again Wycliffe Bible Translators have also seen lives changed as they meet in its pages the Hero who speaks their very own language. The Bible is a Story that everybody needs. You can help give the Story.

You may be interested to read Eddie Arthur’s articles in our magazine on this theme: ‘Why translate the Bible?‘ and ‘Ordinary made Extraordinary‘.

Daily devotionals for all

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

English speakers have a plethora of Bible reading materials around us. Not only do we have hundreds of translations of the Bible in English, we have hundreds of thousands of English resources to help us read and understand the Bible. It’s easy not to think about the fact that many people don’t have these resources, or even the Bible in their language.

Devotion from Hebrews 5:11-14 - bsldailydevotions.co.uk

Perhaps your mind immediately turns to languages spoken in the most remote parts of the world. But what about the languages other than English that are spoken and understood here in the UK? Come to think about it, what about those that aren’t spoken at all?

Only one sign language in the world has a complete New Testament: American Sign Language. Even British Sign Language (BSL), used by more than 70,000 people in the UK, doesn’t have a complete New Testament. But the BSL Bible Translation Project are working to translate the Bible, and it’s just one of the many things being done to give God’s story…

Ramon Woolfe, an attendee at a regular Deaf service at St Barnabas Church in Swindon, has developed a new website, updated every day with a Bible reflection in both BSL and English. He says,

‘After months of watching Daily Devotions on the Deaf Missions Website in American Sign Language and sharing its messages with other Christians, I felt the need for this to be shared among our BSL signers in this country. After time, my faith became stronger and I was baptised. I felt even more strongly that it was my duty to share the Daily Devotions.’

Find out more about the new BSL Daily Devotions on their website (it’s in English too, so it’s encouraging even if you don’t know BSL!).

Find out more about the need for sign language translations.

Henry Martyn (1781-1812)

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

‘The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.’ Henry Martyn

When Henry was a young man, he’d travelled up from his home town of Truro in Cornwall to study at Cambridge, intending to join the bar. By accident, he heard a preacher one day speaking about the great work that one man out in India had been doing, and the great needs still to be met there.

Prompted to think about these mission needs, Henry picked up a book about another mission worker, a man who was only a couple of years Henry’s elder when he had committed to serve Bible-less people in North America. Henry was convinced. On this day in 1805, he set off for India.

Henry Martyn was prompted by this chain of God’s workers: Charles Simeon (the preacher), William Carey (the mission worker in India) and David Brainerd (the mission worker in North America). He became part of the chain, committing his life to God’s service in India.

He spent a lot of his time in linguistic and translation work, translating the New Testament into Hindi, Urdu and Persian (twice!). Despite opposition, he used some of his spare time speaking to the local poor people about the good news. When he was told by doctors that his health required a sea journey, rather than take the opportunity for a holiday, Martyn decided to travel to Persia, to test and improve his Persian translation. He wanted to travel on from there to Arabia, to work on an Arabic translation. He was never able to travel that far, as he was caught in the plague in a city as he travelled, and died aged 31.

When Martyn had first arrived in India, he had said that, ‘Even if I should never see a native converted, God may design by my patience and continuance in the work to encourage future missionaries.’ He certainly was used in that way. One listener to Martyn’s sermons went on to spent time studying his Urdu New Testament translation, came to believe, and became one of CMS’s first Indian mission workers.

Martyn’s translations were widely used, and even Persian rulers praised his Persian translation. By translating God’s word he also left another witness: ‘The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It never needs a furlough and is never considered a foreigner.’ William Cameron Townsend

You can help translate the Bible.