Nepal update – keep praying!

November 27th, 2015 by Camilla

Six months on, Nepal needs our prayer more than ever. The earthquakes have affected 2.8 million people in total. Over 8000 lives have been lost and hundreds of thousands are now facing a winter without a roof over their heads.

In the capital Kathmandu, more than 1,000 people still live in camps for the displaced Photo: BBC News

In the capital Kathmandu, more than 1,000 people still live in camps for the displaced Photo: BBC News

Nepal is now also in the midst of a blockade: in protest of the new constitution, ethnic groups from the southern plains having been stopping supply trucks entering the country since September, preventing the delivery of earthquake relief supplies and causing shortages of medicines, fuel, food and general supplies. Several demonstrators have now also been killed as a result of protests against the new constitution. The result of all this is that Nepal is in a worse humanitarian crisis now than what it was facing immediately after the earthquakes in the spring.

Make an impact through prayer today:

  • Pray that the blockade would be lifted and that God would cause the leaders of Nepal to find creative ways to provide for people during this crisis.
  • Pray for those still living without basic supplies as winter approaches and that aid from other countries would be distributed quickly and wisely.
  • Pray for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and other mental disorders after the earthquakes. Pray that God would enable his Church to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of those in need.
  • Pray that God would grant Nepal a gentle winter, as so many are now without means to keep warm or cook/prepare food.

For more on how you can pray for Nepal, watch this video made by the Wycliffe Global Alliance.

Trauma healing resources

November 23rd, 2015 by Camilla

Following traumas such as fighting, violence and displacement, millions around the world are left feeling wounded, worthless, and without hope. Traumatic experiences can cause people to ask why God allows suffering and whether it’s even possible to forgive your enemies. For more information on why trauma healing is necessary, see this video (warning: some viewers may find some content disturbing).

hope-heroWhat are trauma healing workshops? Trauma healing workshops offer a forum where wounded people can begin a journey of healing. The workshops are based on finding healing in God’s word, and focus on sharing Scripture in an oral way. Participants are encouraged to engage with Bible stories – talking about what they liked or found difficult about a story, and sometimes discussing cultural questions relevant to the story, eg whether it is acceptable for men to cry in the local culture. Groups may act out the story, discuss key words and translate the story into their mother tongue (if a translation does not already exist), and compose a song in their mother tongue on the theme of Ecclesiastes 3:4: ‘There is a time for weeping and a time for dances of joy.’

Do they work? Workshop leaders have seen very positive results. Participants are excited to hear Bible stories in their mother tongue, enjoy writing songs on the theme of Ecclesiastes 3:4, and begin to have their hope restored after long periods of hopelessness.

Through well-planned workshops led by caring leaders, God uses Scripture in participants’ mother tongues to speak straight to their hearts, and honours people’s willingness to begin the often painful process of healing. New hope begins to bud.

Workshops take place in countries around the world, and for victims of trauma or refugees in the UK, help is available right here.

The book Healing the Wounds of Trauma by Harriet Hill et al. offers a practical resource for church leaders and those experiencing suffering. Written in a simple, non-technical style, it is now available in more than 150 languages.

For more information on available resources, including books and course outlines, check out this website. For testimonies and more information on how to pray for victims of trauma, have a look at section 2 of our prayer module Encountering God’s Word.

New resource: Pray for India

November 20th, 2015 by Jo Johnson

What comes to mind when you hear the words prayer meeting? Is it words like long, dry or possibly the more classic boring? We’d like to remind you that gathering with other believers to pray can be powerful!

Last week, staff in the Wycliffe Bible translators UK head office were reminded of the power of praying together as we gathered for a day of prayer. We found the day refreshing, encouraging, challenging and feel our vision has been renewed.

It’s exciting to see God impacting lives through his word. We can’t all work overseas but we can all pray. Allow God to encourage you as you read the following extract from an article about what God is up to in India called Enthusiasm and Opportunity:

People ‘crowded into the front of the church around the list of those receiving the new digital players.

It's all excitementTheir names were checked off the list and they were given the players. Their faces communicated excitement, curiosity and joy. Many of the staff of World Cassette Outreach of India showed others how to play and listen to the Ambassadors.

We were able to show many how to push the buttons and begin to hear God’s word in their own language.

The big smiles seemed to say it all! Not only was this fun, the message of God’s word was about to be carried into homes and villages. Lives would be changed as they listened to the stories of Jesus.’

Read the rest of the story Enthusiasm and Opportunity.

God is at work around the world. Our prayers make a difference. It can be hard sometimes to know how to pray – so to help you pray purposefully and effectively, we’ve produced a brand new Frontline Prayer module called India. With PowerPoints and videos as well as prayer requests, this module outlines some of the ways that God is working, through partner organisations, to bring the life-transforming power of Scripture in the heart languages of many people groups in India. Download India now.

Please pray:

  • for current translation efforts to progress well.
  • for more workers who will facilitate translating the word of God for those who do not have access to it.
  • for an increased level of support for Bible translation ministry from Indian churches and individuals.
  • for the communities to put their faith in the Almighty God as he reveals himself to them through his translated word and as they witness the love and devotion of his followers living among them.
Frontline Prayer modules are absolutely free, easy to use and suitable for use with groups of any size. Check it out now and pray for India.

Words for Life Winter 2015/Spring 2016

November 19th, 2015 by Camilla

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

This is the theme verse for Words for Life Winter 2015/Spring 2016. Coming out this week, the latest edition of our magazine is jam-packed with good stuff!

Read about retiring and new members, highlights of the past year, and the impact God’s word is having around the world as it becomes accessible to more and more people groups.

The magazine also includes a day-by-day Bible translation prayer guide that you can follow as closely or as freely as you like – praying every day, once a week, alone or with a prayer partner.

Words for Life is available to download now. For videos, our translation and transformation poster and more information on things mentioned in the magazine, check out Words for Life Extra. If you like what you read but you’d prefer a paper copy next time, subscribe here (it’s free!).

Crises around the world: what can we do?

November 16th, 2015 by Camilla

This past week has seen so many tragic events. How do we respond without feeling overwhelmed?

We spoke to Jo Johnson, prayer coordinator at Wycliffe UK, about her own feelings and response to recent events, with a view to giving space to think about our own reactions, and channeling them into useful responses.

Jo with her husband Stew.

Jo with her husband Stew.

What was your reaction when you heard about the attacks in Paris on Friday?

Initially, I was just very upset, and I cried. My family and I used to live in France, and hearing about what happened there really stirred my heart. My second reaction was a feeling of helplessness and impotence – what can I do about this? But the most important thing we can do from a distance, is pray, and that’s significant.

When faced with a big crisis, how do you pray?

I pray:

  • for the victims, families of victims and others who are traumatised or affected by the event. I pray for God’s grace and comfort for them.
  • for the perpetrators, that they would encounter God. That he would bring them to repentance, change their understanding of what they are doing, and change their hearts.
  • for political leaders: for wisdom and strength to make godly, timely responses to these very difficult situations.
  • that God would bring his kingdom – that what man has intended for evil, God would use for good.
  • that God would help me persevere in praying, rather than just praying once or twice. The crisis will disappear from the media within a few weeks, but people’s lives remain impacted forever.

We are very grateful to Jo for sharing her heart for praying for these situations with us, and hope you will take away fresh enthusiasm to make an impact on what’s going on around the world through prayer.

For more on praying for crisis situations around the world, 24-7 Prayer International also offers some helpful guidelines with more specific points to inspire your intercession.

Jo Johnson has a heart for prayer, not because she’s some kind of super-Christian, but because God put prayer on her heart in a special way when she was a young mum with two toddlers, and has grown her heart for prayer over the years. She lives in High Wycombe with her lovely family, and what she likes most about prayer is that it’s about getting to know God better, not persuading him to do what she wants.

Termite be trouble ahead

November 16th, 2015 by Nick

Termites and Scripture, how well do they mix? In short, they shouldn’t, and you’d imagine that the combination would be a recipe for disaster, right?

Joe P delivering more Amele Bibles (6) (2)Made up of a population of 11,000, the Amele people in Papua New Guinea came together to celebrate the re-dedication of the Amele New Testament earlier this year. A year ago it was discovered that the majority of these New Testaments had been in storage for 16 years, remaining unused by the community, and for some time, these books were not alone! Heather and Joe, members of Wycliffe UK in PNG, share their discovery:

‘Last weekend was more special for us, as we were asked to represent SIL at the dedication of the Amele SALT (Scripture Application and Leadership Training) materials combined with a re-dedication of the Amele New Testament. A year ago an SIL survey team visited Amele villages south of Madang to determine if there are clear factors that result in (from) ongoing use or lack of use of a New Testament translation. At that time many Amele people were unaware of the existence of the Amele New Testament translation! It had been dedicated in 1998, and most of the books were still in the shipping boxes. They were challenged to try and get this Word of God into the hands of the people to make a difference in their lives. The 20 lessons of the SALT materials were then translated by a team of Amele people from different denominations in the area, and 12th September was chosen for the dedication prior to two back-to-back SALT courses in the main Amele Lutheran parishes. 500 copies of the materials were printed, and 480 people signed up to take the course.

Termite damage to boxes of NTsThe evening before the dedication, Joe got out the boxes of Amele NTs from the storage room here at the SIL Madang Centre and found half of them were riddled with termites!!! Thankfully the printers had double boxed them, in paper packets of five, four to a box, and two boxes in each large box. We pulled back the cardboard shreds, and amazingly the actual books were untouched, despite how badly the paper and cardboard had been eaten away. We wiped off each book, repacked them in a suitcase, and burnt the rubbish boxes along with the termites.

It was a very vivid example of how the word of God lasts, despite how the enemy tries to destroy it. Please pray that the SALT course teachings will be used mightily to awaken a desire among the Amele people to know God through His word transforming their lives.’

God is moving in PNG and protecting the efforts of translation teams and his word so that people like the Amele community can have Scripture in their heart language.

Do you have the bug for the work of Bible translation or are you just curious? We offer three great ways you can help: pray, give or go.

Refugee spotlight: Syria

November 13th, 2015 by Camilla

You can barely turn on the news or scroll through social media these days without being confronted with news of fresh tragedies relating to the refugee crisis. Millions have been forced out of their homes often with very few possessions, some manipulated by people traffickers, in the hope of finding food, shelter and new beginnings elsewhere.

How can we pray about this seemingly insurmountable problem? Where do we even start?

Just one approach is to pray country by country.  Today we are focusing on Syria and Syrian refugees. Let’s pray for peace and security as well as shelter, food and clothing. In addition, we know people also need the word of God.

Bible translation in Syria: Syria has 22 living languages. Of those, the en­tire Bible is avail­able in six lan­guages and the New Tes­ta­ment in six more. There are seven language groups that have no Scripture in their mother tongue.

Pray with us!

  • Ask God to provide for people’s most basic needs – safety, food, shelter and clothing.
  • Intercede for emotional healing for the thousands affected by the war. If this point feels too big, picture one or two individuals in need and focus on them.
  • Pray for those from the seven language groups who don’t have any Scripture in their mother tongue – that they would hear and receive the good news in the countries they go to.
  • Ask God to in­ter­vene for the chil­dren and young peo­ple who have been or­phaned or sep­a­rated from their fam­i­lies.

If you want to learn more about the details behind the crisis to enable you to pray more effectively, BBC News offers a good point by point overview of what’s been going on and how things got to this stage.

Why not commit to praying for the next week? Our colleagues at SIM have produced 7 days of prayer for Syrian refugees.

Giving attention to prayer

November 9th, 2015 by Nick

Spiritual and physical opposition, resources, health, relationships – these are all things that can, and do have a massive impact on teams bringing God’s word to communities without Scripture in their heart language…and this is why prayer is so important for the work of Bible translation.

‘It is prayer that has continued to see our work protected, God’s people protected.’ – Peter Munguti, National Director for BTL.

Stories of God’s provision through prayer can be found throughout the world. Kenya’s Wycliffe organisation, Bible Translation and Literacy of East Africa (BTL), and partners have embraced prayer as a vital resource to enable them in their work, protect their families and encourage the Kenyan Church. Through prayer, they have seen God answer their needs in some amazing ways:

‘Peter relates how BTL started a project among the coastal *A community over 20 years ago. Through most of that time, almost no progress had been made because of the intensity of spiritual opposition to the work. Then one of MSL’s (Mission Supporters League Kenya) chapters “adopted” this project, and its members began to pray intensively.

“We had not translated a single portion of Scripture until [2014], when a prayer group was formed to pray for that project,” Peter says. As of 2015 the translation team had completed the book of Luke, and Peter is quick to acknowledge: “I can only attribute this to prayer.” ‘

In Complete Dependence is a great article full of examples, including Peter’s above, of the impact of prayer in Kenya. Have a read, be encouraged and be challenged to pray.

‘Prayer not only brings transformation, it acknowledges God’s power and sovereignty over situations beyond human control.’

Pray, give or go. Be involved in the work of Bible translation.

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*A community – a pseudonym due to the sensitivity of the area.


Learning that LASTS

November 6th, 2015 by Camilla

‘Learning that LASTS’ (LtL) is a week-long training programme which equips teachers to communicate, challenge, inspire and teach their students better. Right now, we want to shine a spotlight on and ask you to pray for an LtL course being held in Nairobi, Kenya from 9th to 13th November.

Ollie Rundell using LTL principles in Tanzania.

Olly Rundell using LtL Principles in Tanzania.

Why is this course important? One participant from an LtL course run earlier this year in Nairobi sums it up:

‘I teach the new believers’ class in our church. Before I took ‘Learning that LASTS’ I just gave people information; it was dry. Now I see transformation in people’s lives.’

Another participant, a literacy worker from Tanzania, reported this:

‘As I promised after LtL Workshop in Nairobi that I will now apply the LtL Principles in my teachings, I did. When I was back home I worked hard to change our planning schedule and put in some other things that were not there. I decided to apply the Learning that LASTS Principles during our event implementation.

Every module followed the LtL Principles so that everyone fully participated. At the closing day we looked back to everyone’s expectations; all of them were met. Finally, during whole week feedback, everyone said that this workshop was amazing because no one was disgraced or hurt and everyone was given a priority to participate effectively.

One participant wanted to know where we learnt how to teach because he had never seen or met such wonderful teaching styles!’


LtL course Nairobi 2015

LtL course Nairobi 2015

Please pray for the workshop starting in Nairobi on 9th November:

  • for the 6 teachers on the course; to be united, sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and to communicate clearly.
  • for the 12 Kenyan participants to travel safely and know health, strength and stamina for the duration of the course.
  • for God’s protection to be over everyone involved including wider families so that they will all be able to be fully focused on what they are teaching and learning.
  • that the participants will be able to put everything they learn into practice.

Find out more about LtL.

Find out how to take Learning that LASTS in the UK.

Clearing the fog

November 2nd, 2015 by Nick

At the heart of beginning and completing Scripture translation work is the hope and desire to see individuals within communities’ relationship and understanding of their creator deepen. This is of course what everyone involved in Bible translation work longs for, but none know this desire more than translators from within the different language communities.

Michael, from the San people group, has a vision to see the truth of God’s word reach into the heart of his fellows. The San are a people group in Botswana who have had a mixed bag of messages from churches who blend local beliefs, ancestor worship and Christianity. Having Scripture available in their heart language will open a way for Michael’s community to truly understand the good news and clear the confusion that is prevalent in the community over the Christian message. This is an amazing video that the *Seed Company have released, opening a window into Michael’s life. Watch him tell his story:

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See some great photography and read more about Michael, or the San people group.

Find out how you can be involved in the work of Bible translation.

*The Seed Company is a partner organisation of Wycliffe Bible Translators.