Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

A day in the life: Michael Greed

Monday, December 19th, 2016 by Camilla

When you think of a typical missionary, what goes through your mind? We’d like to introduce you to a key player in our main partner organisation, SIL, whose workday probably doesn’t look quite how you’d imagine. Michael Greed works from his home in Finland as Communications Director for SIL Eurasia. We asked him what a typical day for him looks like:

The alarm goes off at 7. After breakfast I do half an hour of back, shoulder and muscle exercises, knowing that I will be sitting at a desk for most of the day. My wife and I then share a Celtic morning prayer liturgy together, and I follow this with David Suchet reading a chapter of Jeremiah. I prefer the audio Bible for my personal devotions nowadays.

desk-2-003-3At around 9 I gravitate to my desk. First I check incoming emails. More than 20 new messages have come in overnight. I am copied on an exchange of emails between Global Communications and a team leader in the Caucasus about the website celebrating the language and culture of a particular people group. Sounds exciting! I make a note to follow up with an article in the SIL Eurasia website I am constructing.

As Communications Director for SIL Eurasia I send out a monthly bulletin to all Eurasia staff. I compiled it yesterday. Today I receive a note from the colleague who was reviewing it, giving me a green light… but first check the hyperlinks, some of them don’t work! I correct the links and send the bulletin out. I included in it a request for ‘Welcome!’ in the languages of Eurasia, and before the day is out a number of colleagues have responded with ‘Welcome!’ in the language they are working in. I add these to the home page of our upcoming website. I also add more resources (links to language maps) to the resources section of the website.

Over mid-morning coffee I browse the headlines from The Guardian (online) and read a couple of articles. It’s my turn to cook dinner today so around 12.15 I go and turn the oven on…

The afternoon is devoted to my dissertation. During the summer I interviewed 12 mission leaders, and MissionAssist have transcribed the interviews for me. Today I make mindmaps of these interviews. I am surprised at how helpful I find this, having someone’s thoughts all mapped out on one page. So I write a Facebook post to this effect.

Monday evening I’m at a Bible study (in either English or Finnish) and Thursday evening there’s choir practice. Tonight I realise I’ve not added a new post to my personal website for a while… but I’m too tired to think about that now, so watch Jeeves & Wooster instead.

Are you excited about Bible translation and skilled in IT, finance, teaching, or something else? Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL and our other partner organisations need people with all kinds of skills to help make the Bible accessible to people all around the world. Find out more about how you might be able to use your skills for Bible translation!

Stopping a snowball in its tracks

Monday, July 18th, 2016 by Camilla

When a language dies out, a culture generally dies with it. It’s feared the ancient Nanai language of Russia might be on its way out, as younger generations seem to use it less and less.

But translators believe oral Bible stories may help save Nanai souls and perhaps their entire culture.

As a Wycliffe team of translators began meeting Nanai people in remote villages along the Amur River, some conversations took them by surprise.

church in far east russiaOne Nanai woman was curious about Christianity. ‘Do you read the Bible?’ asked Anton Barashenkov, who works for Wycliffe. ‘Did you try to read the Bible in your language?’

‘Yes, I tried,’ she said. ‘I have this book.’ She showed him a translation of Luke’s gospel – the only portion of Scripture available in Nanai. Next, Anton thought he’d hear the woman say that God’s word came alive for her as she read it in her heart language.

Not this time.

‘In my own language I couldn’t understand anything,’ she told him. ‘Our language usually is not used in written form. If we had something in audio format, or some video, I could hear it and I could use it with pleasure. But we don’t have it.’

Therein lies the reason Wycliffe Russia is working to translate oral Bible stories into a disappearing language. The Nanai people, especially older generations, have their own cultural identity. Their ancient language is spoken only in a few homes, or for cultural display. Just a handful can still read or write it.

The Wycliffe team has been talking with older Nanai people and listening to their stories and family traditions. The work of translating helps Nanai storytellers craft accurate Bible stories to share with their people.

The intent is to help create a bridge for the Nanai elders, so receiving Christ as Saviour doesn’t have to mean rejecting their culture and assimilating into someone else’s.

So why spend time and resources to help preserve a language if the next generation isn’t overly concerned about losing it? Anton has heard a common answer from the elder Nanai people.

‘They understand that their language and culture is dying,’ he says. ‘If their language does not exist, their culture also cannot exist. They’re at a checkpoint in time when they could completely forget their language and culture or they could raise it back,’ he says. ‘What if, he asks, no one around the throne of God is worshipping in the Nanai tongue?’

‘That would be a pity,’ he says.

This story originally appeared on our partner The Seed Company’s blog. You can read the original here.

Want to pray more for Bible translation? Use our Frontline Prayer modules to help you, your small group or your church pray for Bible translation around the world.

Greater diversity required

Thursday, June 9th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

In February we shared some reasons why you should come on the Two Week Stint and so many of you got excited and booked in that we have already had to close the bookings for participants from the UK and start a waiting list!

page-8-tws5The Two Week Stint is a bilingual workshop and retreat in the South of France, running this year from 17th – 29th July. People from across Europe join with Wycliffe Bible Translators UK and Wycliffe France for a cross-cultural and productive holiday, with plenty of opportunity for time spent with God and some adventure thrown in too!

However, at this stage, there are only three non-British people booked in. As in any situation where most people are of the same language and culture, it will be impossible for the camp to be a truly bilingual or cross-cultural experience for everyone unless more people of other nationalities join in. As this is one of the main purposes of the camp it is important that more non-British people decide to get involved in the next three weeks.

The Two Week Stint is a great opportunity to find out more about Bible translation and different ways of getting involved. Some of the participants from previous Two Week Stints are currently in training to work with Wycliffe overseas. We want this year’s participants to have the best possible experience.

So please pray:

  • For at least five or six more continental European participants to sign up in the next three weeks.
  • For the team as they prepare for the event.
  • For God to speak into the lives of everyone who gets involved.

Find out more about the Two Week Stint.

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Myles Coverdale (c. 1488 – 20 January 1569)

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 by Ruth

Myles Coverdale was the translator of the first complete Bible into English, published in 1535. His work followed on from other first mother-tongue translations of Europe – French, German and Dutch – and the work of Tyndale, whose New Testament was published ten years earlier.

Coverdale began his work despite knowing that Tyndale was working on a complete Bible translation. ‘Why should other nations,’ he said, ‘be more plenteously provided for with the Scriptures in their mother-tongue than we?’

Like Tyndale, his translation was written and published in Europe, and was smuggled into Britain. In many ways, though, Coverdale’s translation was very different: he was not as proficient a linguist as Tyndale, and knew no Hebrew. Instead he worked from other translations. However, he was a great executor of the English language, and his translation is greatly admired for its literary, as well as spiritual, significance.

Despite his substantial work and impact, Coverdale was not a celebrated man. He was not born to a great family – in fact, the date of his birth is not even known. He never rose to great position in the church of his day, and died aged 81, in relative obscurity – 447 years ago today. Others thought he was humble and unassuming, a ‘very gentle spirit’. And he was phenomenally industrious: his notes suggest that he began his first translation less than a year before its publication, which meant he translated or revised on average 2,400 words a day – a remarkable feat.

He remained adamant in his belief that God used translations effectively. In response to objections to vernacular translations, he said, ‘The Holy Ghost is as much the author of it in the Hebrew, Greek, French, Dutch, and English, as in Latin… The word of God is of like worthiness and authority in what language soever the Holy Ghost speaketh it.’

Today, while English-speakers are indeed ‘plenteously provided for’, of 7,000 living languages in the world only 554 have a complete Bible. And around 1,800 languages don’t have any access to God’s word in their mother tongue at all. Give the Story.

The Two Week Stint 12-24th July

Monday, May 18th, 2015 by Nick

Do you have holiday plans for this summer? Why not consider the Two Week Stint? What is it? A holiday with an eternal and international impact!

Two week stintJoin Wycliffe Bible Translators and ATB France* along with people from across Europe for a bilingual, cross-cultural and productive holiday. These two weeks will also allow plenty of opportunity for time spent with God and some adventure thrown in too!

We asked Helen, who joined us for Two Week Stint 2014, what she had gained from it:

‘For me, the Two Week Stint was a wonderful time of learning more about cross-cultural mission, and exploring God’s call to serve overseas with Wycliffe. It was a privilege to meet and learn from participants of differing cultures, and to spend time worshipping God and praying together.

Each day we received Bible teaching, which focused on Acts and taught me about the Bible’s model of mission through exploring the experiences of the early Church. I appreciated the many opportunities for reflection, and times to have a quiet space with God.

I was part of the linguistic stream which developed my knowledge and skills in the linguistic area of Bible translation. In interactive sessions which included preparing a group presentation, we explored the processes and challenges involved.

IMG_2400I enjoyed the fellowship of sharing meals together, and welcomed the relaxed atmosphere including free time and trips exploring the beautiful surroundings.Last but not least, I found the leaders to be approachable and fun, and found their testimonies inspiring!’

Going on the Two Week Stint helped Helen decide to apply to join Wycliffe and she is now preparing for training. This year’s Two Week Stint is being held from 12th to 24th July, come along!

Find out more and register for the Two Week Stint.

*L’Association Traduire la Bible

Transition for the Northern Ireland team

Monday, April 20th, 2015 by Nick

The process of Bible translation takes place in many different locations and some of it happens a lot closer to home than you may think! From finance to communications and Excel to Word, here in the UK offices, we work hard to enable this important task and help members who are directly involved. We are also raising awareness of Bible translation amongst the UK church. And like all things, our offices go through times of transition.

wycliffe-logo-colourThis coming Tuesday we will be interviewing for a team leader in the Northern Ireland office. This interview will result in a new team leader being appointed for the next two years at least.

We would greatly appreciate your partnership with us through your prayers for the candidates and for the interview panel in their preparations too.

  • Please pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in choosing the right candidate for the job
  • Pray as well for a successful transition of the new Northern Ireland team leader into the role. The move to the new office will be their first challenge. Their job will be an important one as they seek to help the rest of the team to continue connecting local churches to translation projects globally.

Please also join us in celebration and prayer for the Northern Ireland team, as after 10 years in their current place, the team will  be relocating offices later this year. Thank you for your prayers so far in this.

Join in and be a part of what God is doing both in the UK and globally – pray, go or tell others. Be involved.

The best thing I can do… is to train

Friday, November 28th, 2014 by Jo Johnson

Imagine you’ve decided you want to help people have the Bible in their language, or to help them read, or apply it to their lives. You need training to do what God has called you to. Where would you go?

You would probably go to the Centre for Linguistics Translation and Literacy (CLTL) at Redcliffe College, Gloucester. The foundation courses are taught from August to December and from there usually you would spend 2 years helping in a team overseas. Then you can come back for more training, and possibly finish your MA.

One of the part-time members of staff, Sharon, shares some of her experience of life at CLTL:

2013 literacy‘The staff are teaching others to do what they themselves have already been involved in, in many places around the world. They are committed to helping students learn how to be effective in whichever field they’ve decided to work in.

Some staff live more or less locally, while others come from wherever they work in the world, Asia, Africa, Eurasia specifically to teach on certain courses because, like me, they know that the best thing they can do to get the Bible into the hands and hearts of those who don’t have it is to train people!

For those who don’t live locally, like me, there are challenges. We come and stay at Redcliffe for the duration of the courses we teach on, or for parts of it. This may mean leaving family at home, or leaving other work elsewhere.

In my case, I am normally away from home from Monday morning through to Thursday afternoons. I love my times at Redcliffe, but for my husband, left at home with 2 teenagers, my times away are sometimes challenging! ‘

Please pray:

  • For the current students to finish the foundation training well and as they prepare to go overseas.
  • That God will give grace and good life-work balance for all the students, especially those with families and for the staff, especially those who don’t live locally.
  • That God will continue to provide good numbers of students.

Find out more about training at CLTL

Sharon Morgan head shotSharon Morgan is married to David and has two teenage children. She has worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is now based in the UK.  She teaches at CLTL for 5 weeks in January and February and 11 weeks between September and December each year. She loves gardening and cats.

News from the Two Week Stint

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by Jo Johnson

The Bible often reminds us to remember what God has done for us. A couple of months ago we asked you to pray for the Two Week Stinta holiday with an eternal and international impacta bilingual, cross-cultural and productive holiday, with plenty of opportunity for time spent with God and some adventure thrown in too!’ 

IMG_2380Here are some of the ways that God answered your prayers:

  • With journeys from UK, the Netherlands, Hungary and Sweden to the south of France as well as within France, praise God that everyone travelled safely. Only two people missed connections on the way out and they were able to arrive the same day. On the way home one person missed a connection in London but was able to stay with friends.
  • It was great that the team of staff members worked well together, they sensed the leading and enabling of the Holy Spirit and God formed the  team members into an effective unit, despite different nationalities and backgrounds.
  • The participants too came from many backgrounds and cultures, this added a wonderful flavour to the Two Week Stint.  It was amazing to see that everyone overcame language and cultural barriers to learn together well.
  • God raised many issues in the lives of the participants; it was wonderful to talk and pray with them and see God confirming his call on their lives as he directed them to the next step in their journey. One participant shared, ‘I focused on my call to Siberia but my new focus is my church’s need to have a heart for Siberia!’

Please join us in praying for those who attended the Two Week Stint. Some are already talking to their churches about going overseas and at least one has started the application process to join Wycliffe Bible Translators. Others, however, are still exploring what God is calling them to.  Please pray that they will discern God’s will and timing for their lives.

See the original blog post ‘A holiday with an eternal impact’.

Find out more about the Two Week Stint on the Wycliffe website.

Appointment of the New Executive Director for Wycliffe Bible Translators

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 by Hannah

Wycliffe Bible Translators is delighted to announce the appointment of Rev James Poole as the next Executive Director of the organisation in the UK.

James Poole, Wycliffe's new executive director

James Poole

Poole has been working in cross-cultural mission for the past 10 years, currently on the staff of St Andrew the Great church in Cambridge, where he is Associate Vicar for Internationals.

On being asked about what attracted him to this new role, he said, ‘I believe that the Bible is the living, active, and enduring word of God. It is uniquely powerful to change lives today because God continues to speak through the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit, who transforms the hearts and minds of those who welcome God’s word. Central to this message is that people can gain salvation, and continue in their new life, only through faith in Jesus.’

Read the full press release here.

John Calvin and Bible translation

Monday, May 26th, 2014 by Hannah

Today is the 450th anniversary of the death of John Calvin. The name has become synonymous with Reformation and theology. Given that context, and the significant impact he had on the church, it’s no surprise he had a part to play in Bible translation.

Calvin, second from the left, with William Farel, Theodore Beza, John Knox on Reformation Wall in Geneva.

Although not a Bible translator himself, Calvin had close connections to Bible translators. It was a relative, Pierre Robert Olivétan, who first encouraged him to study the Scriptures when he had changed his mind about becoming a priest. The same Olivétan was the first person to translate the whole Bible intro French from Greek and Hebrew. When it was published in 1535, Calvin wrote the foreword, saying that having the Bible available in the vernacular would allow all believers to know what God has said.

John Calvin, Bible in hand.

When he and other reformers, including John Knox, were established in Geneva, they encouraged the British expatriates there to do a complete Bible translation into English too, what would become the Geneva Bible. One of the key workers on the team was William Whittington, Calvin’s brother-in-law. The Geneva Bible went on to be incredibly popular, even after the publication of the Authorised Version, and was the translation used by Cromwell and Shakespeare.

Why was it that Calvin – busy as he must have been writing his many Institutes – cared about Bible translation, when he knew Hebrew, Greek and Latin himself? In his magnum opus, he said:

For as the aged, or those whose sight is defective, when any book, however fair, is set before them, though they perceive that there is something written, are scarcely able to make out two consecutive words, but, when aided by glasses, begin to read distinctly, so Scripture, gathering together the impressions of Deity, which, till then, lay confused in our minds, dissipates the darkness, and shows us the true God clearly.

If it’s in a language you don’t understand, the Bible stays indistinct and unreadable, as if you’d forgotten your glasses. In your language – a language you really understand – the Bible shows us the true God clearly. Find out what you can do in Bible translation.