Prayer-driven progress

December 1st, 2016 by Jo Johnson

In our prayer goody bag Finishing in God’s time you can watch a short video about the struggles that the Mangbetu project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has faced. Thank you for praying for the team. We are excited to be able to let you know that your prayers are making a difference!

mangbetu-team-and-doug-11-162There is a national team running the Mangbetu project and their translation consultant, Doug, has just returned from a successful visit to work with the team. Here is an excerpt from Doug’s report written towards the end of his trip:

‘The Mangbetu team (Marcel, Nicolas and Idrissa), consultant-in-training, André, and I have experienced good health (as have our families), warm relationships and excellent progress. We’ve all been aware of God’s special grace and blessing, including relatively few obstacles (which are normally part of everyday life here in Congo). We certainly attribute that to your prayers (including those of our partners) and the Lord’s faithfulness. In the checking work, we’re now in the 10th chapter of Mark (about a chapter per day), and continue to reach close to publishing quality. With the Spirit’s inspiration, we’ve found improvements for more than 10 key biblical terms in Mangbetu – for instance, “to repent” is “to turn one’s heart toward God”, and “to betray someone” is “to sell someone into the hands of their enemies”. We’ve also discovered and noted more than a dozen grammatical rules that will help the team improve the accuracy and consistency of their translation.’

Praise God for so much progress in a relatively short time.

Doug also expresses how overwhelming the challenges can be:

‘I was thinking about the seemingly impossible task of bringing God’s word to the remaining 120 or so language groups in Congo who are still waiting. His word in their heart languages would bring many more to faith in Christ, give them assurance of his love and hope for the future….If we offer ourselves fully and put our trust in him, he has promised to accomplish the impossible both in us and through us all!’

Please stand in the gap for the Mangbetu project, thanking God for all he is doing, and praying:

  • For protection and continued unity for the team working in the DRC
  • That God would provide for all their needs
  • That God would use Doug, Marcel, Nicolas, Idrissa, back translator Jean and consultant-in-training André to accomplish his purposes for the Mangbetu people.

Check out our prayer goody bags to pray for more teams who are facing challenges.

Subscribe to receive our free magazine Words for Life. It’s packed full of interesting articles and prayer information.

From gang to God

November 28th, 2016 by Camilla

When Diego nears the coast today, the smell of salt air takes him back more than 20 years to a time when he was 14 and striking out on his own to find work on the banana plantations.

When he arrived at his destination, the hardworking teen quickly landed a job. Just as quickly, he also landed new friends…in a local gang.

from-gang-to-godHe’d not planned to live a life of violence, crime and alcoholism. But after a time, he didn’t want to hear about any alternative.

‘My mind was just too rebellious,’ Diego says. ‘Many people talked to me about believing in Jesus. I had been in jail in Guatemala in 1994 and even before.’

Finally his lifestyle led to a crisis. Diego became ill. ‘So I looked for some other ways to heal my life,’ Diego says. ‘I never found any. I suffered for a long time. Then I remembered about God. I looked for him to see if he really existed.’

Diego fasted and prayed for three days.

‘Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — I prayed for two hours a day,’ he says. ‘I talked to God and asked him to forgive me. I was in much vice. I was lost and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have any escape. So I said, ‘Lord, if you really exist, heal me, because I can’t take it anymore. Otherwise I will kill myself. I don’t want to suffer anymore.’

On the third day, God answered Diego who gave his life to Christ that day. ‘I automatically quit drinking,’ he says.

That was eight years ago.

As Diego transitioned from gang member to believer, he began attending Spanish language church services. But his heart language isn’t Spanish. It’s the Mayan language K’iche’. As his search to know more about Jesus continued, Diego met lead translator Felipe, and discovered that Scripture was being translated into his language.

Diego eagerly listened as the translators worked on passages. He leaned in closely as they discussed the meaning of each word, each thought, each promise. Diego was captivated by God’s word. Before long, he became part of the translation team.

This post originally appeared on our partner The Seed Company’s website.

Interested in supporting the work of Bible translation? Find out more on how you can go, give or pray.

The latest Words for Life is hot off the press!

November 26th, 2016 by Camilla

Words for Life Winter 2016 is ready to encourage and inspire you! Experience the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators through great stories and fantastic pictures from far-flung locations.

While thousands of freshly-printed copies of the latest edition of Words for Life are making their way to people across the UK, you can download the latest news right now with a click of your mouse.hr-159-woman-with-bible-urat-png

In this edition, we’ll be:

  • looking back over the year and celebrating new New Testaments and full Bibles for people groups around the world
  • saying goodbye to several long-time members, and
  • welcoming four new members!

This edition comes with a prayer diary as usual, but this time only for the next two months. But you won’t run out of fuel for prayer: stand by for a brand-new edition of Words for Life at the end of January!

Ready to dive in? Download Words for Life Winter 2016 here.

A season to train

November 24th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

Autumn is the season for training new members! Those who are getting ready to go overseas for the first time with Wycliffe Bible Translators are now well into their Assignment Related Training at the Centre for Linguistics, Translation and Literacy which is part of Redcliffe College in Gloucester.

Training finishes just before Christmas and the new members will be heading overseas in the New Year.

You can find more details about our two new members Sharon and Rachel on pages 22-23 of the new edition of Words for Life which is out now online and should be arriving through your letterbox in the next few days, if you have subscribed to receive a print copy.

Please also remember to pray for two other new members Nathan* and Becky*. As they are planning to work in two sensitive parts of the world, we can’t introduce them or their plans to you fully for security reasons.

Please join us praying for:

  • The staff training these new members, that they may communicate clearly and rachel-robinson-picture-d7k_5491support them well during this time of preparation.
  • Ask God to help the new members grasp new concepts well and learn all they need to know to tackle their first assignments successfully.
  • Pray that each one will find ways to stay close to God during this busy time of training, preparations and saying goodbye to family and friends.

Wendy and Jennifer, members of the Wycliffe UK personnel team, will be in Gloucester from 12th–14th December, to help these new members prepare for their work overseas. At this point they will have completed their technical training (for linguistics, literacy, or helping people to use the Bible in their daily lives). Wendy will be helping students to explore what it means to be ‘resilient’, how to survive transition, ways of preparing for the unknown, and the challenges of moral purity.

  • Please pray especially for these final few days of preparation – that Wendy, Jennifer and the new members will all enjoy their time together and that God will challenge each person where they need to be challenged and give peace where they have fears or concerns.

Subscribe to receive Words for Life free. It contains a daily prayer guide with prayer needs shared by personnel and projects around the world as well as articles and information.

*names changed for security reasons.

New Bible translation statistics

November 21st, 2016 by Phil

Wycliffe Global Alliance has published their annual update of Bible translation statistics. In a snapshot of data from around the world, the update gives the headline numbers for the availability of Scripture in the 7,097 languages used around the world today.

The most striking figure this year is the significant increase in languages known to have some Scripture. Standing at 2,932 in 2015 this has shot up to 3,223 for 2016.

bt-stats-2016Why the dramatic rise? Some of the increase reflects the growing Bible translation movement, 2400 projects taking place in more than 165 countries; some is due to an expansion of what is counted. The count now includes a growing number of audio and video Scripture translation products as well as printed books. But this year’s figures are also the result of improved research. ‘We have access to more data from more organisations,’ says Peter Brassington, Wycliffe’s point person for the annual statistics update, ‘meaning we know more this year than we did last year’.

‘By working with more organisations we have a better idea of what is going on around the world and a fuller picture of the current state of Bible translation.’

However, there are still gaps in knowledge and understanding as Peter is quick to point out. ‘We know much more this year than we did last, but we also know that there are still gaps in our knowledge. There are parts of the world we would love to know more about concerning what’s happening within the communities, as well as their felt needs for ongoing work’.

While it’s a great achievement to have passed 3,200 languages with access to some Scripture, it’s important to put this figure in context. Some Scripture does not even mean the language community has access to a whole book from the Bible, it may just be a passage or two. And while the number of languages with access to complete Bibles has increased by 82, to 636, there are still 1.5 billion people without access to the full Bible in their primary language.

To read November 2016 full statistics and associated information, visit www.wycliffe.net/statistics

Pray: the Republic of Korea

November 17th, 2016 by Camilla

Our partners Wycliffe Global Alliance have some great prayer videos. This week, this one about the Republic of Korea inspired us to intercede for this nation. Let it inspire you too!

Prayer Video: Republic of Korea from Wycliffe Global Alliance on Vimeo.

Check out the other prayer videos on the Wycliffe Global Alliance website, and Wycliffe UK’s prayer resources.

Strapped for cash – send prayer!

November 10th, 2016 by Camilla

Several of our members working overseas have written to us requesting prayer for more financial support. The drop in the value of the pound, combined with regular fluctuations in support due to, for example, supporters having to decrease or discontinue their financial contributions, means many members have recently taken a big hit.

help-153094_640Many understand the emotional toll of having to tighten your belt over an extended period of time. When you are living in an already stressful situation it can bring you to tipping point. It can even cause you to question if you are in the right place or whether the decrease in finances are an indication that God has something different for you.

Please stand with us in prayer for our members overseas who find themselves struggling financially:

  • Ask that God would provide more support for our members working in other countries, from sources expected and unexpected.
  • Bring the emotional impact of this drop in support to God, and pray that members would know that their true foundation can never be shaken.

We hope to be able to write soon and report that these prayers have been answered!

Connect with a specific member who you can pray for or support financially!

Anna grows in confidence

November 7th, 2016 by Camilla

Anna sits quietly in the circle of workshop attendees, eagerly listening to the conversation and poring over the words of her Setswana translated Bible.

Anna is a single mother from the village of Kapatura in northern Botswana. She took part in a cluster project. ‘The first time I heard some speak about the Bible was the first time I was interested in the Bible. I used to hear the Bible, but wasn’t really interested until then,’ says Anna.

confident-annaNever before had Anna received the opportunity to learn the Scriptures for herself instead of having someone tell her. The churches she used to attend taught false doctrines, she says, and convinced members that the only way to know God was directly through the pastors in charge rather than through the Bible.

When Anna began attending Sunday morning Bible study, she was suddenly handed the power and confidence to listen, ask questions and learn more and more about God’s word for herself. Each week, those that attend the studies practice their ability to memorise, internalise and then share a new Bible story. They work together to reach the best translation, and everyone’s opinion – no matter their age or background – is viewed equally.

Anna talks about the difference the ability to wholeheartedly pursue true knowledge of the Bible has made in her life. ‘I used to only know God by mouth, but now, by learning the Bible, I know this is where my life is. If I hold onto the Bible, I will have a good life.’

God is clearly using Anna and she has already begun to narrate Bible stories to her family at home, and her plan to share with the youth around her is inspiring and impressive. Here is a timid and seemingly unqualified woman proving that God’s love doesn’t differentiate.

Thankful and passionately ready to move forward, Anna prays that her actions bring glory to God.

This story originally appeared on our partner organisation the Seed Company’s website.

Interested in supporting the work of Bible translation? Find out more on how you can go, give or pray.

Hark! The Nyiha team is singing…

October 31st, 2016 by Camilla

Helen Eaton works as a linguist in the Mbeya Cluster Project, which serves 13 language groups in south-western Tanzania. She writes:

Christmas has come very early in the Mbeya office this year. Earlier this month the sounds of While Shepherds Watched in the Nyiha language were heard drifting through the office, along with a certain amount of giggling from the singers, it has to be said. The singing was not a case of the heat of Mbeya in October affecting our sanity, but actually an indication that we were hard at work, since our task for this week was to check a Nyiha hymn book.

nyiha-translators
The three Nyiha translators Helen works with

As well as breaking some spelling rules (eg using contractions) to make the songs singable, we were pondering whether to update some of the words in the hymns, especially if they are very hard to understand. Wherever we made changes, we had to check that the words still fit the tune, and that’s where the singing came in. Most of the hymns are not Christmas carols, so we were mainly able to do this with a straight face!

We spent three full days on the check and were very glad to reach the end yesterday afternoon. When a translator working on another language realised what we were up to, he told me that once we’d finished the Nyiha version, we should do a version in his language too, as they would love to be able to sing hymns in their language. I have a feeling that this might not be the last time I get to spend my workdays singing songs!

Read more about the amazing stuff going on in Uganda and Tanzania at thetask.net!

Update from CAR

October 27th, 2016 by Camilla

Thank you to everyone who read our blog post Computers looted and databases lost and prayed for our partner ACATBA’s IT challenges last week.

img_4739We are pleased to report we have received good news from ACATBA. IT specialist Mike has managed to recover the database, and the accounting computer has been fixed. This is an amazing answer to prayer! Thank you for standing with us and praying!

We are excited about this answer to prayer, and hope it is only the beginnings of more good things to come. Let’s keep praying for the team in CAR:

  • Pray for a dedicated, long-term IT specialist to join the team in Bangui, to keep things running smoothly and avert future IT crises
  • Ask God to provide the 24 new computers ACATBA still needs to replace systems that were looted or that have worn out
  • Pray for the 22 language communities ACATBA is working in. Pray that those nearing completion of their New Testaments would progress rapidly to the finish line without further hurdles to negotiate, that those in earlier stages would continue the long haul towards their goal, and that God would open doors for translation to take off in those languages that currently only have a few verses of Scripture.
  • Pray most for all people to be transformed by God’s word in their heart language.

Is it news to you that Wycliffe needs IT specialists? Find out more about how you could get involved using your IT skills.