Archive for the ‘Missionary life’ Category

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.

A great idea: toys for prayer

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Praying for missionaries can be hard. You don’t get to see them often and you might not hear from them from one month to the next. If we are completely honest, being in a regular prayer pattern can be hard enough, without remembering all the people we’ve told, ‘We’ll be praying for you.’

From Catherine’s ‘grab bag’

Catherine, a Wycliffe worker who’s normally based in Papua New Guinea, has a super idea to help with this. Try out her ‘grab bag of 12 tangible reminders’ to help you pray for missionaries. [NB Catherine’s designed it for children, but we think it’s great for any age; if you feel silly shopping for toy planes, you could print a picture of each cue instead.]

Catherine’s bag gathers together a toy plane, some spicy sauce, a plaster, some cotton wool, a spoon, a toy bug, a coin, a rock, a sticker, some dried fruit, a toy sword and a Scrabble letter, and gives them each a prayer meaning, prompting prayer through little objects. Visit her blog to read the full plan: catherinepng.blogspot.co.uk.

If you are looking for other ideas to help you pray for missionaries, have a look at this Paul-based guide to prayer for mission workers. For ideas about how to support missionaries in other ways, meet these members looking for a boost in financial support.

‘I’m not going alone!’

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Clare is one of the latest people to sign up with Wycliffe in the UK to serve Bibleless people around the world. After training, now she’s off to Senegal. We asked her about what’s waiting for her in West Africa and how she’s feeling about all the changes…

clare-orrAs I write, it is just over a week until I leave for Senegal to begin a literacy assignment with SIL [Wycliffe's linguistic partner overseas]. I completed my initial training at Redcliffe College in December and can’t wait to put some of what I learnt into action. I greatly enjoyed my time at Redcliffe; there was a real sense of community among the students, who come from all over the world and hope to serve God in many different countries.

Once in Senegal, I will spend the first few months in Dakar, getting stuck in to learning the culture and the language. I love language learning and especially learning about life in other cultures, so I’m looking forward to this part, especially as I know it will also be preparing me for what’s next.

A literacy class in DR Congo. Photo: Heather Pubols.

A literacy class in DR Congo. Photo: Heather Pubols.

During my time in Dakar, we will figure out where the best assignment for me will be. With a national literacy rate of only 40%, there is plenty of literacy work to be done in Senegal. SIL help to provide adult literacy classes as well as assisting with the provision of mother-tongue education in primary schools, before pupils make a transition to being taught in French. These are two key areas and I am looking forward to finding out where I fit into this!

Of course, as my date for leaving gets closer, nerves are setting in too, about whether I’ll settle in, whether I’ll be able to learn the language or cope with the weather and how much I’ll miss home. However, I go confident in the knowledge that I’m not doing this alone – it has been such an encouragement to see how God has led me here and has brought people together to partner with me. I am going to Senegal along with God and all my partners back home and am thankful to God for this assurance.

In Senegal, West Africa and the rest of the world, there are big needs for people who can help others to learn to read and write, giving them access to education, healthcare and the powerful and life-changing words of the Bible. What could you do?

Are you being called?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

‘We’re ready to go where we are needed most.’ For Wycliffe workers Joe and Heather, going where most needed has taken them a long way from the course they had anticipated:

Joe and Heather in Madang

Joe and Heather in Madang

The couple served in Papua New Guinea from 1980-2007 as office equipment technician/trainer and national translation training administrator… When their third son had completed high school and was ready to start university, they returned to England to work at the Wycliffe centre there. Some people thought they would spend the rest of their days in England.

But in 2013, God made it clear that they should prepare to return to Papua New Guinea to serve as regional centre managers. Once again they said, ‘We’re ready to go where we are needed most.’ They already knew the language and culture, and had friends all over the country – it seemed a perfect fit for them to return to fill this need.

The role of the regional centre manager includes booking transient housing, cooking meals, finding supplies as needed and sending them out, managing finances, making repairs, and being flexible to meet whatever need arises. Their role as support workers helps the translators to concentrate on their language work in the village. Read more on The PNG Experience blog.

Many people might have thought that Joe and Heather were done with their overseas missionary service after 27 years, or might never have thought of being a centre manager as the job of a missionary. If you have been called to serve God in mission, don’t let your expectations stop you from obeying.

If you want to explore the many options to be involved in mission, our four-day event The Next Step is a great place to start. The next event is in Oxford from 21–23 March. Find out more.

Big numbers. Big challenge.

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

You’re reading something from a missions website – a mission that focuses on sharing the Bible at that – so it’s probably not a stretch to imagine that you are a Christian who believes the Bible has value. So tell me what you think of this: for every 20,000 Christians like you – Bible believing and living out their faith – only one will go to tell the gospel to an unreached people group.

Runner on starting blocksThat statistic isn’t just about numbers. It’s about people living without ever hearing about Jesus. You know what makes it even worse? The proportion of Christians to nominal Christians and unbelievers is only one to seven.

If those numbers move you, it’s right to consider what you could do. Wycliffe run a free, one-day event called First Steps where you can ask all your questions about mission. It’s not about recruiting you to work with Wycliffe – it’s about giving you space to find out what you need to know before you can take the next step, wherever that may be.

Events are coming up soon:

  • 8 February at Orpington Road Baptist Church in Kent
  • 22 February at Saintfield Road Presbyterian Church in Belfast
  • 1 March at Queens Road Baptist Church Centre in Coventry

Find out more about First Steps events.

Statistics via Bible Society Australia and The Joshua Project (pdf).

John Paton: how to be immortal

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Old missionary biographies can be simultaneously the most uplifting and the most terrifying reads. One of most dramatic is John Paton’s, who died on this day in 1907.

Constantly in danger

Paton’s half-year journey to Tanna Island (in present day Vanuatu) started a fortnight after his wedding. Three months after arrival, and just days after the birth of their first child, both his wife and the child died. Paton buried them with his own hands, and his memoir speaks about the pain he felt as he struggled on for the next four years, until the population of the island drove him away. Among his many near-death experiences, perhaps the most dramatic was the four hours he worked while being followed by a man pointing a loaded gun to his head. Paton’s response? ‘Looking up in unceasing prayer to our dear Lord Jesus, I left all in his hands, and felt immortal till my work was done.’

Two decades earlier, the first two Christian missionaries to the islands had been killed and cannibalised minutes after their arrival. People told Paton he was a fool, many because he went to the islands and at least one because he left: ‘It would have been to your honour, and better for the cause of the Mission, had you been killed at the post of duty.’

Paton inspired many mission workers in his time away and returned to the islands – to an island called Aniwa – with his second wife. The trials didn’t go away – he lost four more children in early childhood and he was often sick and threatened – but after 41 years work, every adult on the island professed faith.

A cloud of witnesses

By the time he died, there were missionaries on 25 out of 30 of the islands of Vanuatu. Vanuatu today is estimated to be 90% Christian. The translation of the New Testament he worked on is still in use. The work Paton was doing is far from finished. Vanuatu has the highest language density in the world, with an average of 2,000 people speaking each language. People have lived and died to bring them the gospel, but many are still waiting for it in their own languages.

In this video from Wycliffe Australia, local colleagues explain how much workers are still needed in Vanuatu:

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The same challenge that faced Paton, to die to self and live to Christ, is ours. Find out more about being a modern-day missionary and other ways to be involved.

Praying for missionaries: Deliver us from the evil one

Monday, January 27th, 2014

‘If people stop praying, there is no point in us going back there. The battle is so fierce that unless you have an army of prayers and supporters behind you, you don’t stand a chance.’ Theresa Wilson, translator

In his final blog post about how best to pray for missionaries, Eddie Arthur* shares some of his own experiences of the attacks of the evil one and urges us to pray.

Deliver us from the evil one

A silhouette of a person standing at the entrance of an old building.‘It is very hard to deny that Christian workers, especially those who are taking the Gospel into new areas will face attacks from the evil one. These attacks come in many forms. I remember lying in bed in Kouya-land listening to a mask dancing ceremony going on around midnight and being able to palpably feel the evil in the air… It’s hard to describe what it feels like to experience such a solid sense of evil surrounding you – quite frankly I was scared rigid!

But the evil one doesn’t always manifest himself in that sort of obvious display. Missionaries and Christian workers face assaults by corrupt governments, persecution at the hands of religious zealots and other less obvious forms of attack. I don’t doubt for one moment that Satan and his minions are involved in this sort of thing.

So, please pray that you missionary friends would be delivered from the evil one. There is nothing that he would like more than to disrupt the progress of the Gospel around the world and the best way to do that is to render ministers of the Gospel ineffective. Mission work can go ahead (for a while at least) without daily bread, but the attacks of the evil one can render it useless very quickly.’

Read the whole blog or get all Eddie’s thoughts on praying for missionaries in this booklet.

*Eddie is the executive director of Wycliffe in the UK. He is married to Sue, a translation consultant and has two grown up sons. Originally from the north of England, Eddie and Sue met in Bath and worked for many years in Ivory Coast.  They are now based in High Wycombe.

Beginning afresh

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Missionary life often means moving around the world and frequently settling into new places. The Nicolle family have recently moved from Kenya to Canada so that Steve can teach at the Canada Institute of Linguistics.

Alison Nicolle writes:

‘Beginning afresh in a new country involves a lot of paperwork, and a lot of numbers, which have to be obtained in a certain order: firstly there were the all-important immigration numbers, which we had to wait for before we were allowed into the country. Since then we have gathered numbers for social insurance, bank account, telephone, car registration and insurance, driver’s license, school registration… Each step of this process has enabled us to function slightly more effectively and feel slightly less “new”.’

Often families move at the end of the summer for the start of the new academic year. Please pray for families who, like the Nicolles, have recently relocated:

  • that all the logistics and official requirements of living in a new country will fall into place.
  • for new, deep and lasting friendships.
  • for quick understanding and adjustment to the new culture that they are living in.
  • for God’s grace and comfort for the moments when the challenges seem too big or homesickness strikes.
  • for God’s abundant financial provision. Moving country and setting up a new home is an expensive business.

See our resources to help you pray.