Archive for the ‘Missionary life’ Category

10 creative ways to give to God’s mission… and that’s just the start!

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

We all know that money can’t buy happiness or mission work… but it can help. And in an age of instant money transfer and worldwide connectivity, it’s never been easier to give.

Photo: Janeen Michie

Photo: Janeen Michie

Mission Catalyst has come up with a list of 75 creative ways you can ‘put your money to missional use’. Here are ten of their ideas to get you thinking about how you could serve God with your pennies and pounds…

1. Give your pastor an Amazon gift card and a list of 25 missions books you’d recommend.
2. Buy clothes and a pay for a professional photo for a young missions speaker/writer.
3. Upgrade a mission worker’s phone. Or car!
4. Pay for dental work for a cross-cultural worker.
5. Pay for a willing pastor to go on a vision trip to someplace where he won’t preach (just learn).
6. Buy a pair of walking shoes and use them to prayerwalk your city.
7. Send a worker couple to a marriage seminar.
8. Purchase a life insurance policy and make your favorite mission agency the beneficiary.
9. Pay for the person behind you in a fast-food drive through.
10. Send video tech to a worker friend at the ends of the earth to help her tell great stories of God’s work in her midst.

Go to the Mission Catalyst blog to read the other 65. Of course, you can always give easily and securely through the Wycliffe website to support Bible translation too!

Do you have another idea about how to give to mission? Leave a note to share it in the comments box.

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.

I was willing

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

While in high school, Bev stepped forward at a Billy Graham crusade. Soon after, in a discipleship group at university, she heard about the need for people to go and make disciples. That information changed her life.

“I thought, ‘Who wouldn’t [do that]?’ To me, it was strange that anyone wouldn’t tell God they’d do anything he wanted.

I was more worried there wouldn’t be any work left by the time I finished college,” she explains, “because everybody would be obeying Christ, going wherever he wanted.”

As eager as she was to head out on the mission field, Bev was able to buckle down and complete her four-year education degree. During that time, she learned to take her own advice about telling God she’d do anything he wanted.

“I had to get to a point in my life where I told Christ … if his will was for me to stay home, live in the suburbs and work there, I was willing.”

Bev Dawson in Guyana (photo by Natasha Schmale for Wycliffe Canada)

It wasn’t just the passion of a young Christian. Bev continued in this commitment: after failing a Spanish class, Bev made up her credits at a Wycliffe summer camp and has now spend 40 years serving the Wapishana in Guyana. The Wapishana New Testament was published in 2012. Read more of Bev’s story here.

Maybe Bev’s commitment sounds astonishing, but it does prompt us to ask ourselves: am I saying to God ‘I am willing’?

If you want to explore more about the possibilities of serving God overseas, get in touch. We can talk to you about what you could do with Wycliffe or another agency (more than you think!) and what opportunities there are coming up to explore with others what obeying God looks like in your life. Get in touch.

This quote was first published in Wycliffe Canada’s excellent magazine, Word Alive, and subsequently on Wycliffe Global Alliance. Some formatting was changed.

Bible translators need wisdom

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

It’s not surprising that those involved in translating the Bible need a lot of wisdom as they make decisions – after all, these are important choices. In this diary extract ‘Aquila’ explains one of the difficulties they had on the Glossa translation, and why it’s not a word-for-word translation.

Photo by Heather Pubols

1 Corinthians 12.8: “To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit.” Glossa speakers talk about knowing or understanding something, but what is wisdom?

So we had a good time this morning trying to think clearly the difference between wisdom and knowledge, the concepts we need for that verse in 1 Corinthians. That brought in related concepts like intelligence and mind.

Glossa translator Ezra is excellent at pushing me to define for him words he kind of knows in the national language but doesn’t have in Glossa. We talked about concepts in the national language for starters and then looked for a Glossa way to express that idea. This is not word-for-word translation, because no there is no corresponding word in Glossa. The way to do it is to think of experiences and actions in which wisdom and knowledge occur in Glossa society and then think how [the Glossa translators] would describe those experiences and actions using Glossa words. It was work but a fun conversation.

  • Knowledge. No noun in Glossa, but there is a verb – to know.
  • Wisdom. Again no noun, but we can use a verb with a modifier – to think deeply.

Read more from the diaries of the Glossa translators.

‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.’ James 1.5

Ask God for wisdom for Bible translators: sign up to Standing in the Gap, our weekly prayer blog, and explore our website for more details about praying for Wycliffe.

The worst mission trip ever?

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Picture the scene: it’s dark, frosty and -40° outside. You are in a truck, travelling across Eastern Siberia to transport Bible portions to a remote community, and already your trip isn’t going to plan as all your audio and video Scriptures were stolen from your church before you left. What more could possibly go wrong?

This was the situation Wycliffe member Vova faced when his truck flipped. All the team on board were ok, but it took six hours to find someone who could help them to right and move the truck, and it still wouldn’t drive. They must have thought to themselves that this was the worst mission trip ever.

Vova explains what happened next:

Our intention had been to travel to the most remote regions of the far north, as my companions had previously, since they believed the people living there were the ones most cut off from the rest of the world and from God.

When our unexpected hosts heard that this was the seventh such outreach trip, they were offended – but in a good, respectful way! Why had the team’s truck passed them by those six earlier times? Why had no one ever come to visit them and tell them about the Creator, especially in their native language?

Isn’t it amazing when we see God using all things for his plans? It wasn’t easy, but Vova and the rest of the team found amazing ways to share the Scriptures without ever getting to their intended destination. Read the whole story on wycliffe.net.

There are still millions of people who haven’t heard about God – their Creator and Rescuer – in a language that communicates with them. Consider how you could tell them: Wycliffe has opportunities to give, to pray, to go and to tell other people about the need on the website.

What’s it like to be a missionary teacher?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Bob Noble teaches computing and maths to students at a mission school in Papua New Guinea. In some ways, it’s just the same as teaching in the UK: there is still a curriculum and the marking still tends to pile up! But a field trip he took his students on recently shows just how different it can be…

It was no trip to the local museum. Bob and 10 of his students, along with three other adults, travelled to Sikor village, to meet local school pupils and get a glimpse of the local Bible translation project. Travel with the class through the photos:

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The journey through the mountains took them past beautiful scenery and required four-by-fours and a whole day’s travel.

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The journey wasn’t quite done when the driving finished: reaching the ladies’ host’s home involved crossing a stream using a log bridge.

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A big part of the trip was spending time with other pupils, those at the local elementary, primary and secondary schools. Bob’s students sang songs, performed dramas and presented the gospel … with a football!

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The students shared skills, Bob’s class challenging their new friends to games of basketball (six of the students are on the undefeated A team at school!). In turn, they were shown the best way to climb a palm for coconuts and how to break one open to get the water.

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All in all, not your average day in the classroom!

Teachers and school administrators are needed to support Bible translation and development all over the world. If you’ve got teaching talents, have a look at the vacancies that we are looking to fill and get in touch to find out more.

Pushing planes

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Pushing a helicopter? It’s probably not the most efficient way to move one but time was short…

“There are not too many opportunities to see all the aircraft at home at the same time so, ‘quick… take a picture!’” says Tim Scott, working in Papua New Guinea:

“It’s good that they are not sitting around too much! The more they fly, the more language development and Bible translation is occurring. These aircraft fly translators, linguists and other language workers to remote areas, coffee to market, sick and injured to medical centres.

“They also fly pastors, community development workers along with educators and government workers to places in need throughout Papua New Guinea. Whenever they are in the air, no matter who and where they are flying, they are supporting this important work.”

Worth the effort for a great snap!

Bible translation takes the work of all sorts of people – translators and pilots, cooks and photographers. And the work makes a difference in surprising ways, like pilots flying coffee to market in Papua New Guinea (read this for more about the connection between coffee and Bible translation). Whatever your skills, they could be just the fit for Bible translation.

Read more from the team in Papua New Guinea.

Thinking about mission?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

‘I believe that in each generation God has called enough men and women to evangelise all the yet unreached tribes of the earth. It is not God who does not call. It is man who will not respond!’ Isobel Kuhn, missionary with the China Inland Mission

201401-gohowIf Kuhn is right,* then spending some time considering mission work – and whether it’s right for you – is something every Christian should do. If you are in the process of exploring, here are a few places to have a look:

Do you have questions about what going with Wycliffe looks like and if it’s the fit for you? Get in touch.

 * She’s not the only one to say things like this – read this blog for some more of our favourite quotes.

In their own words

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

It used to be that only the eloquent or those with very good memories dropped quotes into conversation. With Twitter and Facebook, sharing a profound phrase or two has now become far more widespread. But sometimes a hundred characters and a name misses something important.

The quotes below about using your life for God are ones that have stuck with us, not just for the words but for the speaker…

‘A little while and we are in eternity; before we find ourselves there, let us do much for Christ.’ Ann Judson

Ann Judson‘s (1789 – 1826) missionary career included helping translate the Gospel of Matthew into a Burmese language and living in a hut outside a prison for 17 months when her husband was imprisoned. In the first nine years of their work in Myanmar, they saw only 18 people turn to Jesus.

‘To stay here and disobey God — I can’t afford to take the consequence. I would rather go and obey God than to stay here and know that I disobeyed.’ Amanda Berry Smith

Amanda Smith (1837 – 1915, right) was born a slave, taught herself to read and shared the gospel through preaching and song, in the USA, UK, India and for eight years in Africa.

‘If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.’ C.T. Studd

C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931) was an accomplished and famous cricketer. He gave the majority of his inherited fortune away and chose to be a missionary, first to China, to India and then to modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. When he married and told his wife what remained of his inheritance, she asked him to give away what was left.

Their lives backed up their words. The work they were doing – telling God’s Story to those who have never heard – is far from finished. Find out about using your life to share the message.

Tech guru, mission newbie?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Did you know that more than 70 different types of software have been designed to equip Bible translation? When people think of technology and mission, they tend to jump to aeroplanes and satellite phones, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

timortechnologyIf you can think of an IT role that an organisation in the UK needs doing, mission overseas needs it too, and many more like non-Roman script or mobile technology specialists. You can find out a lot more about roles like this at checkitout.org.

Maybe you’ve never thought about using your technology skills in mission. Neither had Tim:

Tim Sissel was on the move, typically driving 600–1000 miles each week servicing IBM equipment in Nebraska and Colorado. This gave him plenty of time to listen to the radio, pray, or just think. One day a question came to his mind: “Tim, do you want to do missions work when you retire in 13 years?” His immediate response was, “Yes, Lord.” Two other questions came in rapid succession: “What if the Lord were to return in 13 years?” and “What if the Lord were to take me home in 13 years?”

Tim pondered these for a few moments, then responded, “Yes, Lord. I’m willing to do missions work now.” He spent the rest of his driving time that day praying his wife Carol would feel the same way. That evening when he told her what had happened, her immediate response was, “Yes!” Tim and Carol now provide computer support to Bible translation teams in Mexico.

Find out more about IT roles in the ministry of Bible translation at checkitout.org. The events they list are based in the US, but if you want to explore more about roles like this while staying in the UK, get in touch.