Archive for the ‘Literacy’ Category

God’s Push and Pull

Thursday, April 13th, 2017 by Martin Horton

When Rebecca* was sent, by the voluntary organisation she joined aged 18, to a country in Southeast Asia, little did she know that she was destined to spend a significant portion of her life in that country.

She later returned there to serve as a literacy worker for minority language groups. Rebecca has recently reached her ten-year milestone with Wycliffe.

God uses many ways to direct our path. Here’s a glimpse of Rebecca’s experience:

In my case, God used a combination of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors to get me to apply to become a full-time missionary. The ‘push’ factors included dissatisfaction with my career and prospects, and a lack of desire to settle down into what I saw as a mundane life. The ‘pull’ factors included longing to see the country where I had spent my gap year; hankering after adventure, travel, challenge and excitement; and my training at Bible school which had focused on missions.’

 Working overseas isn’t always easy. Here’s Rebecca again:

By nature, I am an individual pioneer type. However, God had plans to mould me into more of a team player. He sent me to a highly group-oriented culture, and I had to adjust. One small example of this is having colleagues who love to seek an occasion to all dress the same. Even if the prescribed outfit or colour everyone agrees upon looks awful on me, I still have to wear it!’

Praise God that Rebecca has known God’s peace and abundance though the past decade:

‘The Lord has enabled me to weather many storms during my time on the mission field and I have discovered the peace that comes with personal and spiritual growth. This is part of what Jesus meant when he said that he has come to give us “life, and life more abundantly” (John 10:10).’

Please pray:

  • for Rebecca to continue to become a better team player, recognising and maximising her strengths
  • for what God is doing through literacy work amongst the people of South East Asia
  • for us all to be receptive to the different ways that God speaks to us; that we may hear and obey whenever he calls and however he asks us to serve.

Why not subscribe to our free magazine Words for Life. It’s packed full of interesting articles and it contains a prayer diary with daily pray requests to help you pray specifically for Bible translation around the globe.

*Names changed for security reasons

Full steam ahead for the Kamuku project

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Martin Horton

Your prayers make a difference, even from a long-distance. One of the featured projects in our prayer goody bag Finishing in God’s time is the Kamuku project in Nigeria. A lady in Scotland started praying for Bible translation to begin there, in the early 1980s. She carried on praying until 2009 when the project had started.

The Kamuku project started slowly in order to establish strong roots and has faced many challenges so we asked you to pray. Praise God, exciting things are happening; God is answering your prayers.

On 7th April, the Gospel of Luke will be launched in Kamuku both as a book and as audio recordings on SD-cards. This will be great for those who have not yet learned to read or just prefer to communicate orally.

To help the Kamuku people use Scripture well and understand it, listening group leaders have been specially trained. They have audio players to use and gospel Scripture materials with which they hope to engage the group members.

That’s not all. The Gospel of Mark has been sent off to their translation consultant for checking and the team is now working on Acts and some of the shorter epistles. They feel that they are experiencing a major boost and that it’s full steam ahead!

Here are some ways that you can pray for the continued progress of the Kamuku project:

  • Praise God for the printer who is printing 1000 copies of Luke. Pray that they are good quality and available in good time for the launch.
  • Pray that the launch will boost interest in learning to read and write and that the project will be able to meet any increase in demand.
  • Pray that many will come along to the listening groups and that many lives will be changed as a result.
  • Pray the committee has wisdom as they use funds raised from the sale of the books. It is hoped that there will be enough money to employ a full-time translator.

Check out our goody bags and pray for significant needs faced by Bible translation projects.

Subscribe to receive our free magazine Words for Life. It’s packed full of interesting articles and prayer information.

Trusting God who is bigger than our obstacles

Thursday, January 5th, 2017 by Martin Horton

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIVUK)

Education is such a valuable gift and there are many ways around the world in which you can be educated. Here in the UK we are taught to learn facts but also to question, discuss and work towards what we feel is the right answer. There are many others however, who are taught in a different way.

Charlotte* works in a country in SE Asia where she trains school teachers. These teachers have never been encouraged to think for themselves. Instead they are taught that there is one correct way to do everything; how to think, to read, even how to clap their hands. So this is the way that they teach the children. Charlotte faces the obstacle of trying to train these teachers in a new way of learning that will better meet the needs of their young students.

Charlotte also faces obstacles in getting to these villages where she trains the teachers. She has to travel along unpaved country roads, often in the rain, meaning she often falls off her motorbike, sometimes up to 11 times in a trip, so she arrives at her destination feeling tired and bruised.

In addition to this, frequent travel means that Charlotte has the challenge of feeling disconnected from her local community. Often she finds herself in one province for two weeks and then a different province for another two weeks. This causes her to feel that she is unable to lay down roots and build connections and relationships.

Yet despite these setbacks, Charlotte thinks this is where God wants her to be. So she prays and thanks God when she sees a breakthrough, no matter how small, as she knows that means that he is doing something here and she can trust him for bigger breakthroughs.

Please stand alongside Charlotte* by praying:

  • Praise God that a few of the teachers think that what Charlotte and her team are sharing could be an interesting and helpful way to teach. Ask God to open the minds of more teachers and trainers to see the possibilities and benefits of different ways of teaching.
  • Thank God that the materials that they are using are starting to make a difference in one village school. Ask God for a ripple effect into other classes.
  • For safety and dry weather as she travels
  • Ask God to give Charlotte several more significant relationships in the different communities where she lives, so that she can feel more settled.

*name changed for security reasons.

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Bible translation 101: Why is literacy important?

Thursday, September 8th, 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

Pray for literacy around the world!

  • Pray that God would inspire Wycliffe workers as they work to unlock opportunities for people groups through literacy.
  • Pray for harmony and consensus as teams develop intuitive writing systems for previously unwritten languages.
  • Pray that literacy would open doors around the world not only for people to engage with the Bible, but for large-scale community change.

Want to connect with or start supporting a specific project or missionary? Get the ball rolling on our Connect page.

Hope in a hard context

Thursday, June 30th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

Jackie originally worked as a literacy specialist. Now as director for the work in South Sudan she doesn’t have much time to focus on literacy work but she is able to support literacy work with one people group, the Keliko. She recently let us know some exciting developments that are happening with this project in a nation that until recently was ravaged by conflict.

Jackie and her husband Wes
Jackie and her husband Wes

‘The Keliko are in the last stages of their New Testament translation but since the beginning of their project around 2000 they have also been doing literacy work both with primary schools and through churches. One of the men who has been involved from the beginning and leads the work in the home area is called Elisa Ayan Cosmas. He gives part of his time to literacy work and the rest of the time he farms with his family in order to support himself.

The school system is now facing many challenges because the government has virtually seized up, but since 2011 Elisa and another team member have run a literacy and Scripture use workshop for different kinds of church leaders (pastors, women’s groups, and other lay leaders). Each year they helped build the skills of the same group of people, helping them to be better readers, spellers and writers of Keliko and to use different methods for Scripture engagement, Bible study, dramas etc.

Elisa teaching a big book
Elisa teaching a big book

Last December Elisa gave this same group some introductory teacher’s training which covered how to teach the ABC book and use big book Bible stories. Now most of this group have either added a literacy component to their Sunday school class or added adult literacy classes during the week (but using these easy reading Bible stories).’

Join us in praising God for each person who is now able to read Keliko and therefore have access to the word of God in their heart language! Please pray:

  • for these church leaders as they minister to their people in different ways.
  • that they might be encouraged by the refresher training they are about to receive.

Watch Obura Bible Reprint by The PNG Experience to find out the difference literacy made to a community in Papua New Guinea.

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