Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Special Delivery, Happy Christmas MAF

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

We are so happy to hear that Christmas came early for MAF, one of our partner organisations, this year. Two weeks before Christmas eve, a D4 Caterpillar and Bobcat were delivered, which will enable work to start on new airstrips in Angolia.

It’s an amazing job that they are doing, airstrips open the way for Bibles, translators, health materials and medical help to reach more people in hard to access areas.

Visit MAF’s website to find out more about their work.

The Sound of Carols in Senegal

Monday, December 15th, 2014

As we’re getting ready for Christmas, what are you doing? We may be thinking about things such as decorating the house, buying presents, nativity plays, log fires, turkey? But what about writing Christmas carols?

We love to get together to sing and bring worship to the Lord, and this time of year, it’s a way of jointly expressing as a community our joy and gratitude for God arriving among us. Carols are also a great opportunity to bring our friends and family who wouldn’t normally go to church to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

But what if you have no songs to sing? No Christmas carols in your own language? The answer for the Karoninka people in Senegal – write your own!

The translation team working with the Karoninka people were joined by 4 composers/singers from the people group. They composed songs based on the checked texts of Luke 1 & 2 and the songs and text were recorded and duplicated onto digital memory cards.

This year the Karoninka will be able to read and listen to the Christmas story in their own language!

Songs are a brilliant way of celebrating the Gospel but are also fantastic in providing the opportunity for people to learn and understand the Bible. Find out more about how music is involved in Scripture use on our website.

Healing in the midst of trauma

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Can there be hope for the war-torn nations of the world? Can there be healing from the pain and trauma experienced by millions living in insecurity? We believe that Christ is that hope and that the Bible in every language will be a means of bringing that hope to the world.

IMG_4552The Central African Republic (CAR) is a nation that has experienced intermittent instability and bloodshed ever since Independence in the 1960s and a vicious civil war for the last two years. We’ve asked you to pray several times in the last year for peace and for its people whose wounds are not just physical but emotional too.

Trauma Healing workshops were recently held in Bangui, the capital city of CAR. In these workshops Scripture Engagement Consultants work through a process with delegates to help them find peace from traumatic events they have experienced. Some of these delegates are then equipped to take what they have learnt back to their communities to share with others.

Here is the story of one of the participants in the recent workshop. It highlights the importance of this work as the instability and the effects of fighting continue to impact many:

‘We had only just finished the trauma healing workshop when on 3rd December, at 2.50pm, as I returned to work, I was the victim of an armed hold-up.

Three unidentified, armed men drove their motorbikes towards mine. One of them told me to stop or they would open fire on me. Their leader demanded that I give him my motorbike. I did so without any resistance. Straight away they disappeared into thin air. Thanks to that my life was saved because I put into practice that which I’d learned during the Trauma Healing workshop.

As a result of the political crisis in the Central African Republic my family has lived through some very challenging times; domestic looting, the kidnapping of one of our children… and now this hold-up. It has brought to the surface once more all the pain and hurt in our hearts and we feel like we are back to square one.

Please pray for the healing of this trauma for our family.’

Please praise God for the recent workshop and how it helped this participant in this situation.

Please pray:

  • For emotional healing for this family
  • That the participants who took part in this workshop will know best how to bring the message of hope and healing to many of those around them who have suffered in CAR.
  • For peace and reconciliation in CAR and an end now to the almost two years of war there.

Find out more about the impact of trauma on those who suffer in CAR from the Red Cross.

Thinking outside the box

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Sometimes we consider the needs around the world and feel overwhelmed. Maybe we even consider how we can go and make a difference and then doubt that the skills we have would be useful.

Here are the stories of two British teachers who instead of going overseas to be teachers, used their teaching skills to make a difference as literacy specialists.

Barbara tells us:

img87‘I spent over twenty years as a teacher in London. Later I became an advisory teacher leading in-service courses for teachers. Helping children, young people and adults to develop and enjoy using their literacy skills was one of the best aspects of my different roles.

When, in 2002, I stood in front of 25 educators as a literacy specialist, I had had the year-long Wycliffe training in which Literacy was one of the components. However, in order to facilitate the development of a mother tongue education programme I leaned heavily on the experiences I gained from teaching. I used the skills I developed through teaching to help participants to develop their writing ability in the mother tongue and to write stories that would appeal to new and developing readers. Some of those stories became books now being used in schools.’

In contrast, Liz’s story goes like this:

‘I was a teaching assistant (TA) with primary school children for two years before my husband and I went to work in a project in South West Tanzania as literacy workers. There were many differences between my TA work in Sheffield and literacy work in Tanzania, as you can imagine!

In Tanzania I was primarily focused on a Basic Literacy programme with preschool children. I was mainly involved in preparing resources and training teachers to deliver them, rather than interacting with the children themselves as I had done previously. However, I used many of the same skills; preparing lessons and working out how to use the resources available to engage children with literacy. Most importantly, my aims were ultimately the same and I was excited about enabling children to reach their full potential and all the opportunities being literate would open up for them, not least to be able to read the Word of God.’

Please join us as we pray:

  • For God to call many to literacy work, especially those who already have transferable skills.
  • For those who are actively considering if God is calling them to work overseas with Wycliffe. Some of those will be attending First Steps events early next year. Pray they will clearly know what God is calling them to.

See where in the world you could go to make a difference as a literacy specialist.

Dreaming Dreams

Monday, November 24th, 2014

“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?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

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.

Drums, Dancing and Scripture

Monday, November 17th, 2014

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.

Praying on the Frontline

Friday, October 31st, 2014

8 November 2014 is a day to stand together in prayer with teams involved in Bible translation and with those who still don’t have the Bible in a language they understand. It’s the day when we are holding Frontline Prayer Live in Princes Risborough and Edinburgh.

Hear about everyday heroes of Bible translation who are translating the Bible in very difficult situations and make a difference by praying. This video is just a taster of what you will see and pray about on the day.

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Find out more about Frontline Prayer Live in Princes Risborough and Edinburgh on 8th November or Iver on 22nd November.

Can’t make it on the day?You can download all the modules to use with your church or small group.

Communicating the vision

Friday, October 24th, 2014

God gives us a vision, an idea, a dream of how he wants us to be part of his plan for this world. However, often we cannot achieve that vision on our own: we need a support team, to finance, to pray and to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty with us.

Ngangulu team with audio player loaded with passages from Genesis

Ngangulu team with audio player loaded with passages from Genesis

There are five translation teams working in Brazzaville (the capital city of the Republic of Congo) that have just started translating the Bible. Over the coming weeks, they are making their first trips to their language areas to test the work they’ve done so far. First reports are very exciting:

‘The Mbochi team said that people were very surprised and excited to hear God’s Word in their language – they said “Is it possible that the Bible is in Mbochi?” and “This is real Mbochi, with no French mixed into it”. They were able to travel to several different villages and they were very encouraged personally to find that the people are open and excited about what they are doing and want to hear God’s word in their language.’

The big challenge for these teams is that they are all based in the capital city, Brazzaville, but they want the work to be accepted in the regions where they come from. So please pray for creativity in finding ways to connect with their language areas so that people there will feel like it’s happening for them, even though it’s not happening in their regions. It seems like the initial response is very positive, but the question now is how to follow up on that enthusiasm. Some people were disappointed that the translators went to visit and show them things but then left without leaving them anything behind. Next time they go, they want to have some written and recorded materials ready to leave behind.

  • Please pray that the translators would continue to communicate the vision God has given them for translation clearly.
  • Pray that people in their language areas will really be touched by hearing God’s word in their own language, and for the churches in these areas to catch the vision of using the translated Scriptures so that it will touch and transform people’s lives.
  • Pray that interest and enthusiasm will not wane, because the process of translation is a long one.

Find out How to pray for people who need mother-tongue Scripture.

Made from concentrate

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Despite the ongoing turmoil and violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), translation teams there have continued to produce draft translations of Scripture. This is at once an item for praise and a challenge. As there are no translation consultants currently able to live in CAR, there is a large backlog of unchecked draft translations.

IMG_4921-1The checking process is vitally important to ensure that each translation is correct and communicates clearly. Regular checking is useful to translators as they are able to learn from any mistakes they have made and problems can be caught early before they have the chance to become habits.

Praise God that recent consultant visits have resulted in Scriptures being checked.  The ‘concentrated’ style of working – when consultants come in for just a few weeks, work flat out and then leave again – is not ideal, but it’s the best solution for the current situation.

Will, a translation consultant to CAR, used to live and work in CAR but is now based in the UK. The security situation there has prevented him from visiting for three years but he is visibly excited that he has a trip lined up for November. He hopes to be joined by a colleague who has just moved to Cameroon. In order for that to happen his colleague needs her residency papers before she can travel.

Please pray:

  • That many consultants would be able to make regular visits to Bangui and clear the backlog. Pray that they encourage the translators and other national staff.
  • For the Gbeya and Kaba teams, who are close to finishing the New Testament. None of the consultants involved in CAR have experience in the final stages of preparing a New Testament for printing. Please pray that God would  help both teams and related consultants to finish well. Find more ways to pray for projects nearing completion.
  • For the teams who are early on in the process of translating the New Testament. Pray that God will help them grow in translation skills and that God would provide consultant support for them.
  • Pray that Will and his colleague would both be able to go to CAR in November. After not doing any consulting for 3 years Will is concerned he is out of practice.  Pray that God will help them both do a great job.
  • Pray for peace and reconciliation in CAR.

Find out more about the situation in CAR via the BBC.