Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

They heard singing…

Monday, July 21st, 2014

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.

Central African Republic: God at work in impossible situations

Friday, July 4th, 2014

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.


Not by bread alone

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The region of South Sudan where the Murle people live is one where many people have been displaced by the internal violence. Murle cattle herders, though, have continued to move their herds from place to place, finding sustenance. It’s not only the cows that need to be fed, though…

blog-cowThis post first appeared on Wycliffe USA’s blog. Read the original here.

Recently a group of SIL* literacy workers went to the Murle area to train teachers to conduct literacy classes in cattle camps. The new teachers lived and moved with the group, conducting classes when people had fewer chores or activities.

Two SIL workers and a man who had been on the Murle New Testament translation team conducted teacher training sessions for thirteen Murle men. Many of the attendees had their New Testament copies, which they used and read fluently during morning devotions. They also shared songs and sang prayers in their own musical style. In addition to teaching literacy, some of the Murle men wanted to share the Gospel in the cattle camps. The staff demonstrated and practiced different teaching methods with the men and had them write short stories.

One morning during devotions, a Murle man named Marko glanced longingly at the Murle New Testament that lay on a table. He asked the staff where he could get a copy. “They are out of print,” one of the literacy workers replied. “Do you not have one?”

“I had one,” Marko answered. “But I lost it when we were running from the fighting.”

The literacy team gave Marko their resource copy and marveled at how much this book was like sustenance to him, perhaps even more so than the physical food he needed to live.

*SIL International is one of Wycliffe’s primary partners

The Murle New Testament is going to be reprinted soon. There’s even talk of an Old Testament translation. If you want to share about the need for the Bible to be translated in people’s mother languages, you can get involved with the work Wycliffe does in lots of ways. Explore some here.

10 ways you know you’re a missionary kid

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

“God is a missionary God, Jesus is a missionary Messiah, and the Spirit is a missionary Spirit. Missions is the family business.” (Leonard Sweet)

Jeannette Gerth and the four Gerth children

It’s common that when a couple are called to mission work overseas, they take their children with them. So common, in fact, that there is even a term for these children: ‘Missionary Kids’. It leads to an unusual upbringing, on that the Gerths (serving in Tanzania) have seen with their own children:

Here are the top 10 ways you know you’re a missionary kid (or at least a Gerth missionary kid living in Tanzania)…

  1. You can greet people in at least three languages
  2. At your friend’s birthday party you’re the only person from your home country
  3. You don’t feel safe sleeping at night unless you’re under a mosquito net
  4. Every time you get sick you assume you have malaria
  5. You lost your baby teeth on two continents

Read on on the Gerth’s blog for the other five key features of missionary kids, in their experience.

Serving God overseas is an obedient response for a whole family, not just for individuals. If you’re passionate about seeing God’s word reach everyone, have a look at how you and your family could join the family business.

Urgent prayer needed for workers in Nigeria

Friday, June 13th, 2014

We hear almost daily about the impact of religious and ethnic conflicts, terrorism and civil war around the world. News has just reached us from the north east of Nigeria where Bible translation is in progress in five related languages, translating Luke’s Gospel and the JESUS Film script. The Nigerian translation teams are suffering. We can support them by praying over the coming weeks.

One of the Nigerian translators has been killed by insurgents and three have lost family members this year. Five have had houses or vehicles deliberately burnt and others have lost livestock and other things they need daily.

Several workers have had to relocate and some of those, as displaced people, are living with relatives as they have no home in their new locations. Those who have remained in their home areas are dealing with the trauma of frequent insecurity and attacks, never being sure if they or their families, their neighbours and communities will be safe.

Despite the difficulties, translators have made great efforts and the work continues.

Word Alive - Trauma Healing

This photo is from Wycliffe Canada’s magazine and is used to illustrate not represent the situation of these translators.

Please pray:

  • For peace in this devastated area and that God would change the hearts of the insurgents.
  • That God would provide the material needs of these men, women and children who have been displaced. Pray for those that have lost their homes that God would provide the finances to rent or rebuild suitable accommodation and that those affected would be able to replace cars, motorbikes and livestock.
  • That each member of these teams and their families would experience ‘the peace that passes all understanding’ and that God will heal them from the impact of the traumatic situations they have experienced and continue to live through.
  • That God would protect each person related to these projects and especially comfort those who are grieving.
  • That God would give concentration and enabling to the teams as they try to continue the translation work.

Please share this news with others who will pray and use it as part of your church’s intercessions.

For the security reasons we cannot name the projects or the individuals involved. Wycliffe UK has staff working in Nigeria but they cannot travel to this area due to the security situation.

A very good day

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

What events make a day one to remember? Good weather, good moods, good health? A productive use of time at the office or progress made on a project? Ben Gerth has been documenting on his blog the stages of translation for the Jita team translating the first Scripture, and in this extract he describes what made one day a very good day:

Neema, Ben, Magesa and Magoma hold copies of Jonah in Jita.

It was a fun day. It was fun to receive the first copies of Jonah hot off the press (literally). It was fun to hand a copy to Neema and Magesa and Magoma, the Jita translators. It was fun to say “thank you” to them for all their hard work. It was fun to deliver a copy to our next door neighbor, who is a Jita man, and watch him immediately gather his fellow Jita people and start reading the book of Jonah. It was fun to take copies of Jonah out to the village and sell them for [around 18p] each. (The money goes to our office to cover a portion of the printing costs). It was fun to watch people smile when they read the book of Jonah in the Jita language for the first time EVER!

It’s fun to think that Jita people can now learn that Yahweh is the God of heaven, who made the sea and dry land (Jonah 1:9). They will discover that Yahweh sees all the evil that people do (Jonah 1:2). They can read how Yahweh exercises sovereign control over all of his creation (Jonah 1:4, 1:17, 2:10, 4:6, 4:7, 4:8). They can rejoice to see that Yahweh rescues his people when they repent of their sins (Jonah 2:9). They will be excited to see that Yahweh shows mercy to pagan nations who repent (Jonah 3:5, 4:11). They will savor the glorious truth that Yahweh is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster (Jonah 4:2).

There’s more from Ben about the Jita translation work and the previous stages of the work on his blog.

Jonah’s a fantastic book, but it’s very short. Even with this small part of Scripture in their language, the Jita language has joined the minority of languages that has access to some of the Bible. More than 4,000 languages still don’t have the Bible and of those, 1,919 are still waiting for a translation project to begin. Join the team and support Bible translation.

Babysitting and Bible translation

Monday, June 9th, 2014

To celebrate their 15th anniversary, David and DeAnna (who are working with Wycliffe in Cameroon) decided to go out to dinner. They left their two children with a friend Sophie and a copy of The JESUS Film in Sophie’s own language, Ewondo.

Sophie hadn’t seen the film before. David and DeAnna came home to find her, eyes glued to the screen, watching the film. DeAnna says,

Sophie holding the JESUS Film

Afterwards I asked her what the film was like for her. She had tears of joy filling her eyes as she explained that hearing and watching the story of Jesus in her mother tongue touched her heart profoundly. She understands French, but for the message to be in her mother tongue was much more profound, she said it was difficult to use words to describe how deep it touched her.

At the end of the film there is an invitation to accept Jesus as your Savior and she recited the prayer. She had never been asked before in her mother tongue to accept Jesus as her Savior. She is a Christian and was before the film, but she said by reciting the prayer at the end and accepting an invitation in her mother tongue was a deeper commitment for her.

Sophie has been a Christian for many years and has been persecuted by her family for her faith. Her husband left her and took their children when they were young because of her faith. Her family mocks her for not participating in the things they participate in because of her faith. Her family blames her when bad things happen in the family because of her faith. She told me she wants to show her family the film because in the film people were mocking Jesus and in the end were convicted and she wants them to see that Jesus is victorious regardless of mockery.

David and DeAnna published this on their blog. Read more here.

Wycliffe partner with The JESUS Film to translate the script of the film into minority languages, like Ewondo. It is estimated that more than 200 million people have indicated a decision to follow Jesus after seeing the film. Find out more about partnering with a Bible translation project that will see the JESUS Film dubbed.

When God brings good from bad situations

Friday, May 30th, 2014

In December we asked you to pray following the outbreak of fighting in South Sudan. The director Wycliffe’s partner in South Sudan recently visited and gave an update. South Sudan needs our prayers as much ever. Will you stand in the gap?

Getty images via International Business Times

Thousands of people have died in the conflict and at least 1.5 million people have been displaced. In the northern part of South Sudan some towns have changed hands several times and the constant fighting and the result has been widespread destruction. Recently a ceasefire between the opposition forces and the government was signed, although both sides have accused the other of breaking the agreement. Elections have been postponed to give the two sides of the conflict longer to reconcile.

  • Praise God for the ceasefire. Please continue to pray for peace and reconciliation. Please pray for courage and wisdom for all those who can influence the conflict and its resolution.
  • Pray for those who are grieving to know God’s comfort and for the displaced and traumatised to experience God’s provision and healing.

It has been encouraging to see how God has brought positive outcomes out of extremely sad situations. We are thankful that Juba, where most of the staff are based, has not seen heavy fighting and, although it has not been without incident, is relatively secure. Both expatriate and South Sudanese staff there are able to continue working.

Praise God that there are eight translation projects where work is close to completion. The Murle New Testament has been reprinted and 8,000 copies are now in country. The opportunity has arisen to hold literacy classes in UN camps. It’s been possible to hold a song workshop which is a great bridge to literacy for oral communities.

  • Praise God that the staff are safe and able to continue working. Please pray for the translation projects that are close to completion that they will not be derailed by the insecurity in the country.
  • Praise God for the launch of the reprinted Murle New Testament. Pray that it will impact many live.
  • Praise God for the literacy classes in the UN camps and the song workshop. Pray that many will be empowered.
  • Pray that God will continue to bring good out of evil.

Visit the BBC News website to find out what the fighting is about.

Please share this blog or use it to help you pray in your small group or church.

Meet James and Georgie

Friday, May 16th, 2014

It can be a long journey from deciding to become a mission worker to actually arriving in your country of service. Along the way there are many decisions to consider, transitions to make and difficulties to overcome.

Redcliffe College Gloucester

Redcliffe College Gloucester

James, Georgie and their baby son Joseph who are in the middle of this journey. Over the next year or so they expect to move to Gloucester and take some training courses, prepare to leave the UK, move to France for French study, and then move to West Africa and set up home before they can start language learning, and building relationships with churches and individuals in the language group of the project they will be supporting.

In their recent newsletter they expressed mixed feelings about what lies ahead:

‘We’re becoming really aware there are only a few months to go until training starts! We’re excited, but quite nervous as there will be so many big changes at the same time. We’re really thankful to you, and to God for you, that you’ve been with us in prayer and in encouragement as we’ve sought to find, and follow, God’s path for us.’

Please pray for James and Georgie and others in their position, as they go through their preparations for serving overseas:

  • Pray for their finances – Wycliffe members receive no salary, and are reliant on God to provide the financial support for working overseas. Pray for them as they assemble both financial and prayer support teams.
  • Pray for all the changes and house moves – they can be very unsettling especially for young families.
  • Pray for good discipline in training and languages studies. For those who have been out of education for a while it can be tough and often tiring to go back to study.
  • Pray that they would keep calm and keep their eyes fixed on God through all the busyness and change.

Are you interested in going? Find out how.

Getting everyone on board with Bible translation

Friday, May 9th, 2014

The Ifè New Testament of Togo was launched in 2009 and has been impacting the community ever since:

Men reading Ifè New testament at the launch.

Men reading Ifè New testament at the launch.

‘Mr. Afonfere was a spiritual leader of the traditional Ifè worship of the god Dadoumè.

When the Ifè literacy program came to his village, Mr. Afonfere enrolled in the class, learning to read and write Ifè. Though initially not a believer in Christ, Afonfere nonetheless attended the launch of Ifè New Testament in 2009. He bought a copy and it became his custom to read as passage of Scripture each morning.

He was asked one day why he was so attached to his Ifè New Testament? He replied, “This book is a book of wisdom and riches for all of life.

Hearing of this response, Christians prayed for him and the Lord finally won Afonfere’s heart. In 2013, he told the village authorities, “Please appoint another person to be the leader of the divinity Dadoumè; as for me, I now want to follow Jesus.”

The Ifè association has started translating the Old Testament. They have decided to hold a public launch of the Old Testament translation work. The aim is to provide the opportunity for churches to grasp the weight and importance of this translation to which the association is committed, as well as to grasp the imperative role the local church must play in supporting this work. Not only the good wishes of the local Christians are needed, but also their practical and prayerful support.

The proposed date for the launch is 14 June 2014. However, the team needs to raise the necessary finances first.

  • Please pray that God will provide all that they need for the launch to go ahead.
  • Pray that many will attend and grasp the vision for the Old Testament translation.
  • Pray that the Ifè church will commit to practical and prayerful assistance of the project.

Find out more about Bible translation in Togo and Benin or about the Ifè translation association, ACATBLI (in French).