Stewarding our resources

May 5th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

We’ve recently told you about some pretty big things that we are asking God to do. These are high level strategic goals that we are praying for as an organisation. We are excited to see how God will answer our prayers but also aware those answers may involve a need for us to be flexible, change and grow.

Two men plant while another waters. At the time of this photo, YWAM Bangui had a farming project. They were farming in order to raise funds for their ministry.

Two men plant while another waters.

Believing God for the impossible, including a significant increase in workers and finances brings its own set of challenges. We long to see God’s generosity but with that will come extra work for those based in our office in the UK.

It’s essential to us that all our dealings with money, with supporters and donors and those interested in joining our support team both in prayer and financially, are transparent and upright.

It’s important that if we’ve promised to send money to a project that we do so in a timely fashion. It’s also important that new members of Wycliffe UK are trained, cared for and advised throughout the process of joining the organisation and that this care and support continues once overseas.

We desire to honour God with all that he gives us. So our final strategic prayer goal is that we will be good stewards of the extra resources for which we are asking.

Join us as we pray:

  • for extra staff to ensure the resources are managed well.
  • for the right systems to facilitate the task and the staff to oversee those systems.
  • for accuracy and transparency in all financial transactions.
  • for enough staff with strong skills in member care to support the new workers.
  • for our training arm, the Centre for Linguistics, Translation and Literacy at Redcliffe College, to do an excellent job of preparing staff for the field.

Read the rest of the blogs in the series.

Did you know that on the prayer page of our website you can find a new prayer request every day? If you prefer, receive that by email.

Hear the word of the Lord

May 2nd, 2016 by Ruth

David Suchet, whose birthday is today (happy birthday, David!), fulfilled what he describes as “a 27 year ambition” to make an audio recording of the entire NIV Bible, from Genesis right the way through to Revelation.

David SuchetThe recording is the first full-length audio Bible spoken by a single British actor, and it took David over 200 hours in the recording studio to bring the project to completion.

“I thought ‘Well one thing I can do, or I think I can do, is to read’, and I’ve for many, many years felt that I wanted to put my voice to the Bible, and not only bits of the Bible, but the whole thing.

“It will, for me, fulfil what I suppose is a 27 year ambition,” he muses.

David reminds us of the Biblical command to “Hear the word of the Lord”, found in multiple places within Scripture, including Isaiah 28:14, Ezekiel 27:4 and Acts 13:44.

“It doesn’t say ‘Read the word of the Lord’, it says ‘Hear the word of the Lord’,” Suchet notes. “It’s my prayer that…it will be fresh and [those listening] will think, as I think when I’m reading, ‘God, this is fantastic’.”

View this in YouTube

David has big dreams for the recording, the fee for which he is donating entirely to charity.

“What I hope from a personal point of view, is that whoever wants to will be able to read the Bible at the same time as listen to it, or listen to it without reading it, and that they will want to keep returning to it,” he says.

“But in practical terms, I have done it and I must leave it to the far higher being, and let him do what he wants with it.”

David’s prayer resonates with the heart of Wycliffe Bible Translators in that we long for God’s word – in whatever format or language needed – to transform the lives of those who engage with it. This particular audio version is available as an app or you can listen online via the BibleGateway.

(Article adapted from Christianity Today’s original report.)

The Next Step towards our goals

April 28th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

If you regularly read ‘Standing in the Gap’ blog posts you will have spotted our series of posts on our strategic goals. Because our desire is that everyone has access to God’s word as soon as possible, one of those goals is to give the church the option to send out more workers.

This weekend, 28th – 30th April we are holding an event called The Next Step. It is designed for people

‘who are interested in being part of God’s mission by making the Bible available in everyone’s heart language, but don’t know how they could be involved. We will explore both language related options and non-language support roles at home and overseas. Such roles might include IT support, teaching or project management roles as well as joining the team that are part of the Bible translation movement through literacy, language survey, Scripture impact and linguistics.’

Those who are considering joining Wycliffe Bible Translators, and their churches, find that this is a key event in the process of engaging with Wycliffe. We long for God to give us the people and resources that we need to reach our goal of enabling all people to be able to access and be impacted by Scripture in their heart language. We believe that The Next Step is a stepping stone towards achieving that goal. Please pray with us:

  • Praise God that we have significantly more people attending than last year.
  • Pray for protection over each person involved whether attending or leading.
  • Ask God to speak clearly into the lives of each person who will be there, as they consider how God might be leading them in the future.
  • Pray for unity for the team facilitating the weekend and that each team member interacts well with the participants.

Find out more about The Next Step.

Read the strategic goals post More Workers.

Did you know that by following @wycliffeuk_pray twitter feed you can access daily prayer requests, be linked to other ‘Standing in the gap’ prayer blogs and find inspiration to help you to pray?

Bible Translation 101: Why is literacy important?

April 25th, 2016 by Camilla

You probably know that Wycliffe Bible Translators does more than what it says on the tin – in addition to translating the Bible for language communities big and small across the world, we also have a passion for empowering people to engage with the word of God (Scripture engagement), and literacy.

high-voltage-1553669-640x480What does literacy mean to you? Maybe not all that much, if you’ve never needed to navigate the world without it. But learning to read isn’t just about being able to read the Bible and other books.

What if you couldn’t read vital information on a medicine bottle? What if you couldn’t email your best friend when they moved to another town? What if you couldn’t even tell the time? These are all everyday tasks most people in the Western world do without thinking – but these tasks all require a certain level of literacy.

Exclusively oral communities may also face major barriers to higher education, earning money, and community development.

Wycliffe Bible Translators wants to unlock new opportunities for people groups who have been limited by a lack of literacy.

We work with communities to develop intuitive writing systems (or orthographies, to use the technical term) that language communities recognise as their own and that help adults and children learn to read within as short a time as possible. How long it takes to learn to read varies from language to language and person to person, but an adult who is new to reading may learn to read confidently within six months to a year.

‘…for a long time, there were no [Ngbaka] schools at all. Now I am very glad to be learning to read and write. Now I am educated! I can read and write in Ngbaka. I can read and understand God’s word, and now we have the entire Bible in our language!’ – a woman from the Ngbaka community of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Read more about why literacy is important for women.
Also in this series: Why translate the Bible?

Want to connect with or start supporting a specific project or missionary? Get the ball rolling on our Connect page.

Ten Bible verses to help you pray

April 21st, 2016 by Camilla

Feel like you don’t spend enough time in prayer? Many Christians feel that way. It’s worth remembering though that God’s not angry with you, he just loves spending time with you. Prayer is about relationship and God wants to hang out with you!

If you find yourself getting stuck when you pray, why not use the Bible to help you? Here are ten verses to memorise or keep handy to inspire your prayers.

three tips for better Bible reading1. James 4:8a

Thank God you can come into his presence and ask him to draw near to you.

2. 1 Peter 5:7

Tell him all your worries and ask him to help you trust him for the solution.

3. Romans 8:32

Stop thinking you’re not good enough, or spiritual enough, to get certain things from God – God longs to bless you!

4. Hebrews 4:16

Through his death on the cross, Jesus made a way for us to come to God – make the most of it.

5. Matthew 7:11

He only knows how to give good gifts – bring the desires of your heart to him!

6. John 14:14

What limitations are you putting yourself under in prayer? Stop holding back!

7. Romans 8:26

There are times when we don’t know what to pray. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just sit with God in silence and let the Holy Spirit intercede for you.

8. Philippians 4:6-7

There will always be stuff we don’t understand, and we may not imagine how prayer can help. But God has promised you peace.

9. James 1:5

God also promises wisdom – all you have to do is ask.

10. Matthew 7:7-8

Expect God to answer you. He is a good Father. He doesn’t want you in a dark room talking to the ceiling; he wants to come and build that relationship that he sent his son to the cross to pay for. He has invested too much not to come when you pray.

We hope you feel encouraged to pray!

This piece is adapted from a great article we found on prayer-coach.com.

Want to explore prayer further? Check out some of our prayer resources!

The God who knows the way to our hearts

April 18th, 2016 by Camilla

‘We used to give our time and energy to serving the flesh. Now we want to give our time and energy to serving the Lord. We must study the Bible so we can know Jesus and worship him.’ – one of the head women of Malasiga village, Papua New Guinea

What a powerful statement! What could prompt such a turnaround?

When translators Kim and Annie Colich published the Gospel of John in the Tami language of Papua New Guinea, God inspired Annie to find a way to make it real to the community. She felt led to write Bible studies on the I AMs spoken by Jesus.

As people in the community did these studies, what God had already started to do gained momentum, and before long almost everyone was talking about Jesus’ words. One man, a church leader, attended ladies’ Bible study meetings and passed the teaching on to another group the following day!

For years, the local church in this area had been using the trade language Bible, and this was the first time people of Malasiga village had engaged with the Scriptures using an audio recording of the Bible in their heart language. Hearing the word of God in their own language has taken things to a new level and is stirring up a fresh excitement among this people group! It is helping many of them understand in new ways that God’s word was written to be obeyed and that it makes an impact on how they live their lives.

God knew the way to the hearts of this community, just like he knows the way to yours.

Read the original story here.

Find out more about how you could get involved yourself by connecting with a specific project or missionary!

The JESUS Film in three more languages!

April 14th, 2016 by Camilla

The JESUS Film is one of the most powerful evangelistic tools in the history of the church, inspiring more than ten thousand people per day to follow Jesus. It originated with Campus Crusade for Christ and, over the years, many have prayed and fasted, asking God to use this film powerfully. Worldwide it is used in around 75% of church planting initiatives.

The JESUS Film is available in over 1200 languages already, and a new language is added to the list almost every week. The JESUS Film has just been completed in a further three languages: Idaasha and Saxwe, spoken in the Republic of Benin and Akebu, spoken in Togo.

jesus film recording2It takes about 8-12 working days, and at least 13 actors to record a JESUS Film. Actors are chosen carefully, sometimes for their status in the community, and for their good character. Surprisingly, actors don’t necessarily need to be literate – someone else can read their line to them, then the actor can repeat it into the microphone.

There’s nothing half-baked about the process of making a JESUS Film; the script is checked for accuracy and integrity before recording, the actor may be coached and adjust his/her performance during recording, and other mother-tongue speakers may be present as an extra check and balance to make sure the end result is as good as possible.

It’s an exciting time for speakers of Idaasha, Akebu and Saxwe, as the JESUS Films in these languages are now complete and about to be sent to Benin for duplication and distribution!

  • Please pray with us that God would powerfully anoint the JESUS Film in these three languages to bring people out of darkness into the light.
  • Pray for effective follow-up and discipling of those who make a commitment to follow Christ.

Did you know there is now also a JESUS Film app that makes it possible for users to share the gospel in over 1200 languages, including sign languages? Check it out!

Finding hope again

April 11th, 2016 by Camilla

We’ve all heard stories of the terrors that many who live in the Middle East have experienced. It’s sometimes hard to even believe that God is at work when we hear about the atrocities people live through. Allow your faith to be strengthened by reading this uplifting story about Rajiya* and how she found hope again after being torn apart inside.

Rajiya, whose name means ‘hope’, is a Chaldean Christian living in the Middle East, where many of her people have been driven from their villages, kidnapped, raped or killed. Rajiya herself had no visible scars, but felt torn apart inside.

heart-1491403-640x960She heard about trauma healing and was put in touch with a lady called Mirah who was running a group intended to help people like Rajiya to find hope again after experiencing horrible things.

Once on a workshop, Rajiya and the other participants were surprised to learn that Mirah and the other leaders used the Bible as their main textbook, and really took it seriously. The workshop combined psychology with Scripture, and looked at questions such as, ‘If God loves us why do we suffer?’, and how the wounds of our hearts can be healed. Discussing carefully selected Bible passages in groups helped participants to move forward.

One particularly moving experience for Rajiya was where participants were given little pieces of paper and invited to privately write down wounds they were carrying. When they were ready they could tear up the pieces, put them in a box and leave them behind.

‘I realise I am once again becoming Rajiya; my hope is returning.’

*For security reasons, Rajiya is a composite of a number of women who attended the trauma healing workshop.

Read the full story here.

Finances for projects

April 8th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

At the end of 2015 our leaders set some strategic prayer goals for us as an organisation. These goals will help us to keep focused on the task to which we’ve been called and reliant upon God. More tangibly we are asking God for more workers both in our UK office and to go overseas.

Will you join us in asking God to do the impossible?

Paul Machira counts money that has been donated to Bible Translation and Literacy Kenya (BTL), proceeds from the 2015 Run for the Bibleless.

Paul Machira counts money that has been donated to Bible Translation and Literacy Kenya (BTL)

Wycliffe Bible Translators in the UK provides funding for some of the language development, Bible translation, literacy and Scripture engagement work around the world. We have a sense of urgency that everyone should have God’s word available to them, so that they can hear the good news of salvation in a language they understand, as soon as possible.

So our desire is to support many more projects than we already do. To this end we are asking God to double the money that is donated for projects. This is strategic goal number 4.

Please pray:

  • That God would provide us with enough money to double our support to projects this year.
  • For our project funding team to have wisdom as they work with major donors and to know how best to present our needs to those who are interested in supporting a project.
  • For wisdom for our projects team as they decide which projects to support.
  • For our finance team as they process the gifts and ensure that the money is sent to the right place.

Read the other blogs in the series.

Find out how you can pray for one of the projects that we support.

From next week Standing in the Gap will be published on a Thursday, so keep an eye out for it a day earlier than usual.

Finding healing through the word of God

April 4th, 2016 by Camilla

One reason we believe that everyone should have access to the word of God in their heart language is that God’s word addresses and can bring healing to even the greatest traumas experienced in life. Simon, a Bible translator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, became separated from his family when his village was attacked. Simon found his wife and children again, but their meeting wasn’t all happy tears.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country that has suffered years of conflict leading to mass displacement and atrocities. During a Bible translation workshop in the late 1990s, Simon’s village was attacked and he became separated from his family. Two weeks went by with no news.

‘Then one day, as he was walking along the road, he saw them coming in his direction.

As they met, his family immediately began sobbing uncontrollably. Simon could not understand whether they were happy to see him or were mourning the state of affairs they found themselves in. It took hours for him to calm his wife and daughters, and when he did, he was shocked at what they told him.

His wife and oldest daughter had been raped by the militia.

The guilt and anger Simon felt caused the worst pain he had ever experienced. How would he be able to forgive his enemies and himself?’

Simon and his family were recommended to try a trauma-healing seminar — and ultimately found healing through the Scripture-based programme. Today, Simon is helping to translate Scripture to make God’s word, and the freedom it brings, accessible to others.

Read the original post here, and find more great stories about what’s going on in the world of Bible translation!