Wholeness and healing

May 25th, 2017 by Jo Johnson

We love the word of God; not least because it brings wholeness and healing. Everybody has a time in their lives when they’ve experienced emotional pain and need God’s healing.

In some of the countries in which we work where people have experienced wars, natural disasters, banditry, rape and other severe traumas, this healing is even more meaningful. We help churches work with the emotionally wounded through trauma healing workshops which apply the word of God to these deep wounds.

On 29 May – 2 June and 5-9 June, trauma healing workshops will be held in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea (PNG). The first will be taught in English and the second in Melanesian Pidgin, a language of wider communication in PNG. Participants will learn basic biblical mental health principles related to trauma care, explore their own heart wounds and bring them to Christ for healing, and learn to help others heal from trauma.

Trauma healing specialist Sam Smucker explains that these workshops are not isolated but part of a strategy to support the church and help it to engage with Scripture well:

‘I’ve been running several trauma healing workshops here in PNG. I’ve run four Pidgin workshops already and we are planning two more workshops in June, one in English and one in Pidgin.

During these workshops  I have been teaching and training a few PNG people who have a heart for helping people heal emotionally. I want to continue running these workshops so that the people I’ve been training feel comfortable teaching and running the workshops. I would love to have a group of trained people who could go throughout PNG and run these workshops for different churches and villages. That’s my vision.

Other workshops being run in PNG include Oral Bible Storytelling and Culture Meets Scripture. Together with Trauma Healing, they are making significant contributions in equipping the Church and helping Scripture come alive in peoples’ everyday lives.’

Please will you pray:

  • for the workshops, that each participant will have a significant healing encounter with God and understand the principles well so that they can help others
  • for the people that Sam is training to be well equipped to run these workshops throughout PNG
  • that many others will encounter God’s love and healing as the principles of the workshops are shared in churches and communities

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The new issue of Words for Life is out now!

May 25th, 2017 by Alfred

Our work is not just about producing accurate, clear, and natural translations of the Bible – it is also about enabling all peoples to be able to engage fully with the Bible.

In the new edition of Words for Life we explore the vital Scripture engagement work that some of our members are involved in around the world:

  • equipping people to get the most out of God’s word in Tanzania
  • the wider impact Bible translation can have in countries in Asia
  • and applying the Bible to the whole of life in Nigeria

You’ll also find our prayer diary for the next four months, with one prayer item per day to help you keep praying intelligently for Bible translation projects around the world.

Read it now!

Sign up for a hard copy! We love the online version of our magazine, but there’s nothing quite like a printed copy you can keep on the coffee table, have tucked inside your Bible or take with you to church to show to a friend. Sign up to receive a free copy through your door three times a year.

God’s amazing love drove demons away

May 22nd, 2017 by Camilla

Maricel recalls vividly the day an angry traditional healer threatened her father in their home. The healer was her mother, Carolina.

Carolina was furious because her husband and Maricel’s father, Sotero, had again brought Christian pastors to their home in Palanan, a small town in the Philippines. They tried to tell her about Jesus.

‘I will kill you!’ she shouted at Sotero. ‘If I give up witchcraft, the spirits will come and kill us all!’ She mocked Sotero’s faithfulness.

An evil spirit that controlled Carolina made her weaker day by day, Maricel says. Her entire body ached for two months. The family took her to the hospital, but the doctor found nothing wrong. She was terrified.

Maricel was a teenager at the time. Looking back, she believes evil spirits tormented her mother.

Sotero persisted in sharing Scripture with Carolina. Other Christian friends came to pray. Finally, she relented: ‘I will surrender my life to your God.’

Maricel recalls, ‘When the Christians, including my father, came to pray, the evil spirit still fighting inside of her wanted her dead. Suddenly, God opened my mother’s heart and touched her. She was free at last.’

Maricel recalls that after Carolina accepted Christ, ‘She became a changed person,’ Maricel says. ‘There was peace in the family.’

When Maricel was 9, she asked Jesus to be her Saviour. Nine years later, a church friend who was a Bible translator asked Maricel to check the comprehension level of her work. When she read the story of God calling Samuel in her mother tongue, Maricel thought, serving God is good.

The next year, Maricel joined the Paranan translation team in Bagabag. She lives at the International cross-cultural leadership training centre, where she is working on the Paranan Old Testament.

Everyone at the centre has multiple duties. Maricel helps with information technology, secretarial work and bookkeeping. She helps with farm chores. As a translator, she follows a stringent process of reading, outlining, analysing, drafting and revising Scripture. She writes questions and checks her work with partners and community members.

‘I thank God that he changed my family. I thank God because of his love for us.’

This blog post is adapted from a story by our partner The Seed Company.

For more great stories on what’s going on in the world of Bible translation, sign up to our magazine Words for Life!

Let thy kingdom come

May 18th, 2017 by Jo Johnson

Many of us enjoy the dynamic of being part of something bigger. We love being part of a crowd of supporters at a sporting event or taking part in a sponsored event to raise money for charity. Knowing that we are part of an extensive movement can give us a sense of connectivity and significance.

Something else that empowers us is knowing that God has chosen to work through his people. When we join in with his mission through prayer, God is glorified and we can watch expectantly to see him move in power to do immeasurably more than we ever ask for or imagine!

Because we think being part of a global movement is great and because we know that prayer is a critical part of partnering with God in his mission, we are very excited by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s initiative that is running this year between ascension and Pentecost (25 May to 4 June). Called Thy Kingdom Come, it’s a global call to pray, alone or with others, for our communities and other communities for which we have concern and love, to come to know Jesus.

One way you can pray is to ask God for newly translated Scriptures to impact the people they’ve been translated for, whether whole New Testaments or just portions of Scripture. Since January we’ve told you about the Baka in Southern Sudan, the Beliyan people in Senegal, Kamuku of Nigeria, 11 languages in Papua New Guinea, and the Karon people of Senegal, but there are many others too.

Wherever you are in the world, and whatever church you’re part of – join with Thy Kingdom Come and be part of this global wave of prayer.

To find out more read Join a global wave of prayer by 24-7 Prayer’s International Director, Brian Heasley, or just head over to Thy Kingdom Come to Pledge2Pray.

A confident smile

May 15th, 2017 by Camilla

Under a white bucket hat and blue-tinted glasses, Michael Kativa’s smile is as wide as his face.

The foundation for Michael’s vibrant joy lies within the confidence he finds in Jesus. He sits back, crossing his legs, and explains, ‘I am thankful I am saved and that my life has been transformed because of God’s word. It has brought me peace with God.’

Before he knew the stories found in Scripture, Michael would often get into fights and drink too much. His wife left him many years ago, and he has since experienced the death of his daughter and has become estranged from his son. ‘The Bible exposes what is wrong in your life,’ he says.

Now an elder in the community, Michael says hopes to be a father figure to many of the young people that live nearby. He passionately lives a changed life in order for more lives to change.

Many people in the community do not know how to read. For the San people, the life of Jesus is a story best told orally, around a campfire or under a neighbor’s tree. Michael has been part of the Bible storytelling project in Botswana since it began just over a year ago. Many more young people in his village have started attending Bible studies organised by field coordinator Eben Le Roux. This is a big accomplishment because, ‘the young people are disillusioned,’ says Eben. ‘Many do not believe that the Scriptures bring hope.’

The local village chief also recently started to come to the meetings – a small act that could greatly affect the rest of the village. Michael has welcomed the chief with open arms and glorifies God for the opportunities ministering to the chief will create.

His confidence is not just a character trait, but clearly a work of the Holy Spirit. He is an elder set on changing the world around him because he can proudly proclaim, ‘God is the same, he doesn’t change.’

This post is adapted from a story by our partner The Seed Company.

For more great stories about the fruit of Bible translation, sign up for our magazine Words for Life!

Finally knowing what it means to believe and depend on Christ

May 11th, 2017 by Martin Horton

Many Dukawa speakers finally know what it really means to believe and depend on Christ, whereas before they had not really understood. Over 3,800 Dukawa people have turned to Christ as a result of hearing God’s word in their own language!

In early 2016, after the Dukawa New Testament was completed, a recording of the New Testament and some Old Testament portions was made. Hundreds of audio Bibles with these recordings were given to Dukawa churches, and they have produced an amazing result.

When the Dukawa team first started handing them out they believed they would help believers to grow in their relationship with Christ.

But in practice, the impact of the audio Bibles was bigger than the team could have imagined, and shows the impact of mother tongue translation.

Many Dukawa speakers had been using the Bible in the trade language, Hausa, and thought they understood. But with the Bible finally available in their own language, people started to realise they hadn’t really understood what it meant to follow Jesus.

Even local pastors admitted that they have not understood the Bible in the trade language. One of the pastors even said that some of what he had been teaching was wrong because he misunderstood the Bible.

For many of you reading this, as you may have more than one version of the Bible in your mother tongue, it is understandably hard to grasp how the Dukawa people are feeling. May the testimony of this Dukawa man give you a glimpse of the transformation that Bible translation brings.

When I first heard the audio Bible, I felt as if I was dreaming, but when I heard it 2-3 times, I realised I was not dreaming. Now I can understand…I am going to be…a Christian.’

Here are some ways that you can pray for the Dukawa people:

  • Praise God for his work in using his word in the Dukawa language to draw more Dukawa people to himself in truth and understanding.
  • Pray for pastors to have the courage to be open and honest if they realise, after hearing Scripture in their mother tongue, that what they have been teaching is wrong.
  • Pray that the Dukawa people will grow in their faith and continue to receive fresh revelation as they listen to the Scriptures in their language.

This story is adapted from a post on the Robinson family blog, Impact of Audio Scriptures.

Interested in praying regularly for translation projects? Sign up to receive our magazine Words for Life which is packed full of interesting articles as well as our prayer diary giving daily prayer needs.

The fruit of faithful prayer

May 4th, 2017 by Martin Horton

Prayer is not always easy, especially persistent prayer. May this story give you hope and a renewed passion to see an answer to those prayers that may seem impossible!

Karen’s* heart was captured for mission whilst she was young. At a student mission conference she chose to start praying for a group of nomadic sheep herders. It seemed impossible that the B* people would ever come to Christ, but Karen kept praying for 13 years.

Karen got married and started a family, and all the while kept praying for the B people. She got the opportunity to attend a gathering of Christ followers from different religious backgrounds in Southeast Asia. It was there she met Adam*: a clan leader from the very people group she’d been praying for.

Adam had discovered Jesus through living with and being taught by a Christian teacher and his family. After coming to faith, Adam chose to stay with his people group, the first among them to become a follower of Jesus. Due to his reliability, the way he treated others and his desire to share about Jesus, Adam was later named as the new leader of the whole people group; even above the current leader’s own sons.

Adam has remained loyal to God’s word and led many others from his people group to Christ. Yet Adam has also experienced imprisonment, torture and nearly died in the mountains whilst bringing help to victims of an earthquake. Despite all these challenges, Adam’s love for Jesus remains, as does his passion for helping others.

Karen had no idea what would happen when she started praying for an unknown people group that she thought she may never see, but God has amazed Karen and Adam with the doors that he has opened over time.

Karen and her husband work with Global Teams to assist Adam with his work among the B* people and other people groups in that region.

*names changed for security reasons

This story is adapted from a story that originally appeared on the Faith2Share website. You can read the original here.

Why not commit to pray for a people group with an ongoing translation project?

Further prayer items from Wycliffe’s prayer magazine Words for Life are available daily as Daily Prayer. Download Words for Life or subscribe to receive it by post.

What language is spoken in Syria?

May 1st, 2017 by Camilla

Ever wanted to know what language is spoken in a country? Research is easy – Google will start answering the question before you’ve even finished asking it.

Sometimes, however, you may be asking the wrong question to start with…

New-neighbour-bible.org is a new site sponsored by Wycliffe Bible Translators that highlights both the many languages of different countries and regions and also provides links to Scripture resources such as online Bibles, audio Bibles, and powerful Bible-based films such as the JESUS Film.

Initially new-neighbour-bible.org focuses on the languages of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Over time, the site will be expanding to cover a wider area, and other languages spoken by people coming to Europe as students, workers, and refugees.

The main languages in Syria and Iraq can be divided up into Arabic, Kurdish, Aramaic and Turkmen, but each of these are actually groups of languages, each made up of several distinct languages and many of those having further dialects and variations. The map (used with permission from new-neighbour-bible.org) illustrates a number of Arabic and Kurdish languages.

Some books of the Bible were originally written in Ancient Aramaic, and some of Jesus’ words are recorded in Aramaic even in some English Bible translations (for instance in Mark 5:41). But even though this is one of the primary languages Jesus spoke while on earth, it’s a language not many of us know much about. Aramaic originated in Syria and became a common trade language across the Middle East, and there are now 19(!) distinct Aramaic languages.

New-neighbour-bible.org is also available in German or French, and offers a page of links to other sites that offer resources for refugees in other languages.

Curious about the insider stories of real Bible translation? Sign up for our free magazine, Words for Life!


A book for everyone

April 27th, 2017 by Jo Johnson

Thank you for praying for the launch of the Baka New Testament and Genesis in March (Seeing with blind eyes). God answered your prayers in an incredible way; the event was able to take place, the books containing the New Testament and Genesis arrived and all the visitors were able to travel safely.

The launch celebrations were held in Maridi in the province of Western Equatoria. It was the biggest event held there – ever. Not only was it large but it was high profile; the governor of Maridi State and his wife as well as other dignitaries including a retired army general and bishops and archbishops of various denominations were in attendance.

Over 7000 people came along to join the 5 hour long celebrations which included speeches, singing and dancing, a meal, performances by local choirs and a showing of the JESUS Film in Baka. The film had been shown in Juba late last year but this was the first time it was shown in the Baka homeland.

We are so excited that this New Testament has been endorsed by both the Anglican bishop and the Catholic archbishop of the region. In the speeches it was made clear that this book containing the New Testament and Genesis is for everyone, it is not the possession of one denomination or another.

When the boxes of New Testaments were opened to sell, a big crowd surged towards the tables, waving their money in the air. As people got their hands on their copies they sat down and started reading immediately.

Please join us in thanking God for the amazing way that he answered our prayers. Please pray:

  • that the Baka will continue to read the New Testament in their language and that it will transform many lives
  • that God would bring peace to South Sudan and provide for those impacted by the famine

Does this answer to prayer encourage you to pray for Bible translation regularly? Subscribe to receive our free magazine, Words for Life, which is full of interesting articles and includes a prayer diary with daily prayer needs for Bible translation projects around the globe.

Uncle Cam – William Cameron Townsend (1896-1982)

April 23rd, 2017 by Camilla

Today is the anniversary of the death of William Cameron Townsend (affectionately known as Uncle Cam), founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

When Uncle Cam was just 21 he felt called to take the Bible to the peoples of South America, and set off with plenty of Spanish Bibles. But when he got there, he discovered something that shaped the rest of his life’s work: often the people he met didn’t speak Spanish. They asked Cam something that really made him think – why didn’t God speak their language? Was he only the God of English and Spanish speakers?

Cam thought everyone should be able to read God’s word in their own language. So within a few years, he and his wife were living with the Cakchiquel people of Guatemala, studying their complex language, developing a writing system for it and helping them to translate the Bible so they could understand it.

He became ill, and had to return to the US, but that didn’t stop him. In 1934, he ran the first Wycliffe Summer School. Within 10 years, this had become two partner organisations: the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Cam served for over sixty years(!) in Latin America, working in many countries. He knew everyone, including more than 40 heads of state. He received an honorary doctorate, was decorated by five Latin American governments and was declared Benefactor of the Linguistically Isolated Populations of America by the Inter-American Indian Congress.

What people most often commented on, though, was his humility: when the president of Mexico visited an Aztec village, a local man said of Townsend, ‘He treats us just like he does the President. If President Cárdenas comes, he leaves his dinner to talk with him. If one of us comes, he leaves his dinner to talk with us, too.’

Kenneth Pike, a renowned linguist, once said of Uncle Cam that, ‘Not since the third century has there been a man like Cameron Townsend who attempted so much, and saw so many dreams realised in his lifetime.

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