Pray for i-DELTA 2016!

May 26th, 2016 by Camilla

Please join us in praying for an i-DELTA course running in Kenya from 30 May – 22 July.

What is i-DELTA? i-DELTA (Institute for the Development of Languages and Translation in Africa) is a bachelor-level programme specifically designed to equip African nationals with the skills they need to engage effectively in language development and Bible translation. The programme can be completed by attending 8-week courses over a period of 3 years.

i-DELTA 2015One of last year’s students from southern Ethiopia went to i-DELTA with a firm belief that the Old Testament was almost irrelevant for Christians today compared with the New Testament. By the end of the course, things had changed. Reading about the sacrificial system in the Old Testament had opened his mind to the real meaning of Christ’s death on the cross. God spoke to this young man’s heart about serving his community, and though he had previously been planning to study medicine, he now had a passion for language development and translation, and went home ready to get involved in language work.

This year, staff are expecting 34 students in total, from Madagascar, Cameroon, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Zambia, Namibia and the USA.

This year’s i-DELTA staff members come from Ghana, Germany (working in Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia), USA (working across Africa, DR Congo, Sudan, and Kenya), England (formerly Mali and Kenya), and Kenya.

Pray with us for everyone involved!

  • Pray that this very diverse group of people would adjust well to each other and to Kenya.
  • Pray for the new students and staff to settle in well to the course.
  • Pray for safe travel for everyone, and a healthy stay in Kenya.
  • Pray that each person present will experience significant growth, both intellectually, socially and spiritually during these eight weeks.

Things of value for eternity

May 23rd, 2016 by Camilla

John* didn’t understand the point of the Bunong Bible translation. Why were people spending years of their lives translating the Scriptures into the local language when a translation was already available in the national language, Khmer?

Things-of-Value-For-EternityHaving spent years in school studying the Bible in Khmer, John felt confident he understood it clearly. But eventually curiosity got the better of him and he began to read the recently translated Bunong Scriptures. As he did, he found he was able to understand the Bible much more clearly in his own language, making it more relevant and applicable to his life. In fact, John felt so convicted by what he read that he vowed to begin teaching others in the community using only the Bunong Scriptures.

John’s new passion for seeing God’s word read, spoken, understood and applied in his language was so strong that he accepted a position in Scripture engagement – helping others apply the word to their lives – even though it meant taking a salary cut. With a wife to provide for, why would John agree to this?

Eight months prior, John attended two workshops – one in a secular setting and one in a church setting. Though he was pleased to see his people learning to write and discussing their culture and community in the secular setting, John’s true joy came during the church workshop when they spent time praying, praising God and discussing eternal things.

‘What is a dip in wages compared to things of value for eternity?’ John said. ‘My reward is to see believers read and listen to the Scriptures they can understand the meaning of in order to grow in their faith more and more and deeper and deeper.’

As they read and study the Scriptures in their own language, young people like John are discovering a hope beyond this temporary world – one that makes them more like Jesus. As a result, they are choosing what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6:21: ‘Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be’ (NLT). That’s why we couldn’t agree more with John when he says that Bible translation is a ‘thing of value for eternity.’

*pseudonym

Do you, like John, have a passion for the Bible? Are you interested in helping to provide the word of God in the languages of the world? Give now!

This story originally appeared in Wycliffe Australia’s magazine, Wycliffe Today.

Nepal update, a year after the earthquake

May 19th, 2016 by Camilla

Last year we asked you to pray for Nepal in the wake of severe earthquakes. So, a year after the earthquakes, what news of Nepal?

Bhaktapur one year ago (top) and today

Eight million people were affected, and even though it’s now a year later, it’s estimated four million Nepalese  who had to go through the winter living in tents, or sheltering under tarpaulins are still living in very basic conditions. Despite the fact that this is the worst disaster Nepal has seen in years, the government hasn’t done much yet to rebuild.

The people of Nepal have been subject to a number of blockades over the past year, making many commodities including fuel and essential medicines thin on the ground, and stalling rebuilding efforts further. The most recent of these was in place for over four months, and was finally lifted in February this year, which brought much needed relief to people. Although the shortages are now much less severe, there is still not enough fuel entering the country, and the dispute which caused the blockade is not yet resolved and talks are ongoing.

The Telegraph offers a good summary video of what happened last year and the current situation.

And what news of Bible translation in Nepal? Bible translation teams in Nepal have recently undertaken a review of their work. Excitingly, they found that there are fewer languages than they thought requiring a translation, and work may be completed in the next 15-20 years! To facilitate this they will be adapting their strategies to make the best use of resources.

Stand with us in prayer for Nepal:

  • Pray for practical help – ask God to open the way for the work of rebuilding homes and communities to be significantly accelerated.
  • Pray that blockades and shortages of fuel, medicines, etc would be a thing of the past.
  • Pray that God would protect people from the elements and illness, especially during the winter.

Use this prayer video to help you pray for Nepal.

Did you know that you can get a week’s worth of prayer requests through our seven days of prayer blog. The new edition comes out at 8 am every Saturday.

Looked at, locked in and almost chopped in half

May 16th, 2016 by Camilla

Recently I had the chance to visit central Asia with some friends. There are so many things I could share with you about this trip – but today I’d like to focus on just three things that happened while I was away. What would you have done in my position?

Me at the airport, excited about trying the first of many central Asian meals

Looked at: Throughout the trip our team of seven was for various reasons regarded with interest (or, to put it bluntly, stared at). As a very European-looking, blue-eyed, quite rosy-cheeked girl, I attracted more eyes than I’m really comfortable with. Put yourself in my shoes – what would you do?

Locked in: On one occasion I was forced to make use of a toilet in a building on a beautiful sunny hilltop, where I discovered upon attempting to take my leave that the lock on the door seemed to be a one-way system, ie the bolt completely refused to slide back from whence it had come. I was stuck and the others were waiting for me at the bottom of the hill! What would you do next?

Almost chopped in half: We spent a week staying on the eighth floor of a building with a highly temperamental lift, which we were forced to use extensively. This lift seemed to want to crush people, or at least break off a limb or two – sometimes it would snap its jaws (sorry, I mean doors) shut just as we were trying to get in or out. Once, it let us all out safely, then suddenly clamped shut on a skirt. What would you do if a lift was trying to eat the clothes right off your body?

Well, if you ever have the chance to go to central Asia, my advice is:
a) be prepared to be stared at. Well, it’s only fair: our group wasn’t exactly inconspicuous, and it’s human nature to be curious about people who are different to you. We probably stared at people too.

b) carry a biro! Remarkably, perhaps miraculously, I had thrown a pen in my handbag just before leaving on the morning of the toilet incident. I had no idea at the time what I would need it for or why I was taking it with me, but my plain old biro helped me shift the lock and make my escape.

and c) be wary of elevators… This time, a quick-thinking team member quickly gave a yank on the skirt and the lift let it go – another time we might not have been so lucky.

How would you have dealt with each situation? Think you’ve got what it takes? Why not check out opportunities with Wycliffe.

Three prayer ideas for Pentecost

May 12th, 2016 by Camilla

It doesn’t matter whether you pray in a bare room with a concrete floor, a beautifully decorated prayer lounge, or walking down your street. The Holy Spirit can meet with us anywhere – at Pentecost he met with the disciples in an ordinary room.

Today we want to offer you three specific prayer ideas you can try out this Pentecost.

paint-1411826-639x427Pray continuously. Set up your living room or a space at your church for prayer, with specific slots for families and children and small groups or friendship groups. If you like, make room for creative prayer with eg art supplies, a prayer wall with sticky notes, candles, and more. Invite those in your community to come as a group to your prayer room; there is power in praying together.

Pray personally. Design a simple flame template and place tissue paper on the flame (red, orange and yellow) to represent the Holy Spirit inside each one of us. Pray for three things (one for each colour): strength in our faith, courage in showing our faith to others, and commitment to seeking and learning more about God. Ask God to meet with you, and seek to use your gifts for the work of God.

Pray outwardly. Take a circle of paper and cut it into a spiral and in it write names of people you want to come to know God along the spiral. You could pray for your friends and family, your community, your country, or other countries where there is war and hurt. Once you’ve finished writing on the spirals, hang from coloured ribbons or streamers.

This is adapted from a blog post by 24-7 Prayer International – read the original post here.

Want more prayer ideas? Check out our prayer resources!

No longer a lost sheep

May 9th, 2016 by Cath Macleod

Anita, a Filipino woman from the Batad people group in North Luzon, today has a multi-faceted Christian ministry. She creates websites, leads church services, writes songs and stories and advises other local ministry leaders.

She remembers when it all began.

Her father got a job in Manila as a guard at the SIL* Linguistics Center, a home base for Christian missionaries. Anita was about 11, and was excited to leave her village and visit him in the city.

AnitaWhen a Canadian missionary based at the centre met Anita, she invited her to stay at her home and become a paid domestic helper.

‘I learned how to do housework. They taught me how to cook and how to wash dishes,’ Anita remembers.

The family hosted a regular Bible study. ‘They called me the Lost Sheep because I was not saved,’ Anita says. At night they would say, ‘Would you like to pray with us, Lost Sheep?’

In the morning, Margaret would come to the room where Anita slept and say, ‘Hello, Lost Sheep. It’s time to wake up.’

‘Margaret would always tell me stories,’ Anita recalls. After we worked, we would sit together, and she would tell me stories about Jesus who loves me, and how he died for me.

The time came when Margaret was ready to accept. I just prayed that night and said, ‘I would like you to come into my heart and be my saviour.’ So I told them the next morning that I was not the Lost Sheep any more. And we had a feast!

Anita went on to become a translator of the Ayangan Old Testament. She has written many mother tongue stories and songs that she and others use to teach children in Sunday school.

Now 65, she recruits and trains young people to instruct others in building websites. ‘I am already so old, so I need a young generation to do that,’ she says.

She is a women’s ministry adviser for the 120-member Association of Ifugao Bible Churches. She directs a worship team in her home church, which has mother tongue services in both Ilocano and Ayangan. And she never forgets where it all began — with a little girl known as the Lost Sheep.

This story is from one of our partners, The Seed Company. Read the full story here.

Interested in supporting the work of Bible translation? Find out more on how you can Go, Give or Pray.

*SIL is our primary partner organisation

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.