Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Giving attention to prayer

Monday, November 9th, 2015

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

Friday, November 6th, 2015

‘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

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

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.

Keep praying for CAR

Friday, October 16th, 2015

At the end of last month we asked you to pray for peace in the Central African Republic. Specifically, we asked you to pray:

  • that our colleagues in CAR would be able to leave safely on the flights they were booked on
  • that God would bring a quick end to the violence and unrest, and restore peace to the city of Bangui
  • for God’s comfort for all those living in fear or mourning for loved ones.

So what happened? Our colleagues landed safely in England just a few days after our urgent prayer post. We are so grateful to God for their safe return!

deserted roadThe situation in Bangui is somewhat calmer than it was but there is still a huge need for prayer. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, since the violence in Bangui began late last month, 77 lives have been lost, and more than 400 people have been injured. Tens of thousands more have been displaced.

It was hoped that CAR would hold elections this year that should restore democratic governance, and the international community is encouraging the nation to go ahead with them, despite the violence. Unfortunately, the president of CAR’s election commission said he was resigning this week and it is now even more uncertain what will happen.

Every time there’s another round of violence and looting, more emotional energy, time and resources are lost by the translation teams whose only desire is to be able to get on with the job God has called them to and enable their fellow citizens access to God’s word as soon as possible. Time after time, resources and infrastructure are depleted or destroyed. After almost three years like this, translation teams’ continued vision for the work and their courage in one terrifying situation after another is remarkable. Let’s not forget them as they struggle to hold fast to their vision and find ways to keep their work moving forward.

Let’s keep praying for CAR!

  • Pray that God would bring lasting peace to the people of the Central African Republic.
  • Pray for the safety of our national colleagues who are still in Bangui.
  • Ask God for his comfort for all those affected by the violence – remembering those who have lost loved ones, suffered trauma or been displaced. Several Trauma Healing workshops have taken place in CAR this year. Pray that those who have received the training will bring many others to God to receive his healing.
  • Pray that the elections would be able to go ahead as planned, and that God would put the right people in power.
  • Pray for encouragement and protection for translation teams in CAR.

Read this article about exactly what has happened in recent weeks in CAR and use the information to fuel your prayers.

Pray right now for peace in CAR

Monday, September 28th, 2015

For nearly three years there has been fighting and unrest in the Central African Republic (CAR). Recently there had been a measure of security return to the country. However, the situation has significantly worsened over the weekend with fighting in Bangui, the capital city.

IMG_4616Here’s the most recent update that we have received:

‘The fighting in Bangui has escalated greatly. Sunday night a number of  NGO’s were broken into by armed bands and pillaged, including the Red Cross. Today the unrest has spread to the whole city. We are working on a way to remove our people and other missionaries from Bangui.

For further news on CAR, see:

Please join us as we pray for CAR:

  • Pray that our colleagues will be able to get on the flights they are booked on and will be able to leave safely.

Pray for the population of Bangui:

  • Ask God  to bring a quick end to the violence, pillaging, and unrest and restore peace to this city.
  • Pray that God will comfort everyone mourning for loved ones killed in the fighting, and for those experiencing fear to encounter God’s perfect love.

From death to life

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

God’s word is powerful, and it has been doing extraordinary things.‘ – Berki Banko

Check out this great video from our partners The Seed Company about one man’s commitment to follow Christ even when it cost him dearly. Berki Banko is an evangelist and storyteller from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia. After accepting Jesus into his heart, Berki’s faith became more important to him than the traditions of his people group.

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Find out more about what God is doing in the Omo Valley and discover how God’s word has changed lives in Ethiopia.

Access, engage, understand, be changed.

Friday, September 18th, 2015

It’s great for people to have God’s word in their heart language. However, sometimes that’s not enough. Those who’ve never had access to God’s word before often need help to know how to use it. This is where Scripture engagement specialists come in.

Katherine, a Scripture engagement specialist working in Tanzania, explains why her role is so important:

‘In parts of Tanzania you can find a church on every corner – while there is much faith, there can be, at times, little knowledge of God’s word and many people who go to church do not img73have a Bible. Helping people to access God’s word and then to engage with it, understand it and be changed by it is therefore vital.

In my Scripture engagement work I am often involved in training Sunday school teachers and find that many do not know the Bible well themselves, some don’t have a Bible, and a large number struggle to find the main teaching point of a story or think how to apply it to the lives of children.

Sometimes I visit Bible colleges with my colleagues to encourage the students to consider using their local languages more in churches. We often challenge these trainee pastors by asking if they understand what ‘phylacteries’ are, but they have no idea as the word used in the Swahili Bible makes people think it is referring to a magic charm. This highlights again the need for deep engagement with Scripture in a language that is clear and meaningful.’

  • Please pray that God will give many a passion to see translated Scriptures transform hearts and lives.
  • Ask God to prepare both Tanzanian and expatriate workers to come alongside the local church, helping them to grow in Christ through the use of mother-tongue Scriptures.
  • Pray that God provides workers for these specific vacancies around the world.

Pray for Scripture engagement activities around the world using our prayer resource ‘Encountering God’s word’.

Rhythm and celebration

Monday, September 7th, 2015

‘Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.’ Psalm 149:3 (NIV)

wycliffe-logo-colourAt the recent dedication of the Bandial New Testament in Senegal, a timbrel (similar to a tambourine) and harp may not have been used, however, for the speakers of the Bandial language, singing and dancing is definitely where it’s at! With praise and celebration, they welcomed in Scripture that they can read in their heart language. This short video captures some of the celebrations that happened that day and highlights the importance of being able to read or hear Scripture in your mother tongue.

‘When it was read in French, nobody understood anything and people were just repeating words. Now everyone who goes to church understands what the word of God says.’

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Pray, give or go. Find out how you can be involved, both locally and globally.

Transforming lives

Friday, August 28th, 2015

The Bible, in the heart language, transforms lives. Lives can only be changed however, if the translated Scripture is read or listened to, interacted with, understood and applied.

It’s easy to think that once the translation into a particular language is finished we do not need to continue praying. Yet this could be the most crucial time to pray because it is from here that the Scriptures can impact and transform lives. This focus has been picked up in Nigeria:

Picture1‘Earlier this year, at a Bible dedication in Nigeria, Justin Mbam Ogodo, a member of the Abakaliki Literacy and Translation Trust, welcomed a crowd of people who had come to celebrate the complete Bible in the Izii, Ikwo and Ezaa languages. “Today is a special day,” he began. “It is a day that proclaims the faithfulness of God.” Justin talked about the history of the translation projects and the challenges they faced. He thanked many people who were involved. And finally, he looked out at the crowd and said,

“Above all, we encourage you to ensure that these books are not for cobwebs, but for the use of the Holy Spirit as two-edged swords into the hearts of Izii, Ikwo and Ezaa people.”‘*

Wycliffe and our partners are involved in many activities to support engagement with the Scriptures as they are translated. From Sunday school teacher training to song-writing, Trauma Healing workshops to the JESUS Film we are working to provide God’s word in a form that is accessible and understandable to all, as well as all the helps that are needed to ensure that Bible translation truly results in transformed lives.

Will you keep on praying for the impact of the Scriptures on the lives of those who have not yet heard? To inspire you we’ve produced a new Frontline Prayer module Encountering God’s Word. It’s available now and free to download. Using videos and a PowerPoint to share information about Scripture Engagement, it provides about an hour’s worth of material to inspire prayer for people groups around the world as they receive God’s word in their heart language and engage with it. It’s easy to use and suitable for groups of any size.

Download ‘Encountering God’s Word.

*This story was first published by Wycliffe Bible Translators USA in The Intercessor.

Changing the course of history

Friday, July 31st, 2015

I recently read an article written by my colleague Alisha Carr who mobilises prayer for Bible translation in Nigeria. She laid down a challenge: to recognise that if we partner with God and the work he is doing through prayer, the course of history can be changed. I hope that you will be as inspired as I am.

IMG_2029Jesus’ prayer partnership with our Father changed the course of history. Jesus saw it as his job description to fulfill the will of his Father, who sent him. From him, we learn the lifestyle of obedient submission to our Father’s will, and also to welcome his will through our prayers. All of our horizontal partnership efforts in the Kingdom are built primarily upon this vertical partnership with God.

As we accept the invitation to join God in prayer partnership and see the world through his eyes, we begin to see how overwhelming the task is.

I hear his call going out over Nigeria, ‘…”The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” ‘ (Matt. 9:37-38, NLT). With hundreds of languages in Nigeria waiting to receive even one verse of Scripture, there is an urgent cry for more workers.

The Spirit of God is waiting to birth fresh joy, life, hope and purpose through all parts of the Bible translation and language development process. From initial surveys and assessments to establishing an alphabet and writing system, to making dictionaries and primers, translating God’s word into written, audio, song and dramatic form to engage communities with practical training and tools to learn how to apply God’s word to all aspects of their lives.

This is all so that more people would come to know Jesus and worship Jesus in fulfillment of God’s will that none would perish and all would come to repentance, to the glory and honour of the Father. Through your prayers the Spirit of God is breathing fresh life over Nigerian language communities!

Joining God in prayerful partnership is always an honour and blessing. It is a partnership that can change the course of history.

May God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’

Alisha has applied these truths to Nigeria, a country with enormous needs for Bible translation. However, the principles are the same for every country where people are waiting for the Bible in their heart language.

Please join us in committing today to pray for God to send workers. Discover specific vacancies you can pray for God to fill or find out how you can get involved.