Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Praying in new members for the team

Thursday, April 6th, 2017 by Jo Johnson

A large nation, dominated by rainforest, where infrastructure is generally poor and the repercussions of long years of unrest and fighting are still significantly impacting daily life. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in central Africa is a poor nation which faces many challenges.

I was surprised to find out, however, that the greatest personnel needs are not for skilled linguists or translators, as national staff are doing a great job with the nitty-gritty of translation. What the translation projects here need is more support staff.

We praise God for what he is doing. After years of struggle in the eastern part of the country, in March 2016, three language communities celebrated the launch of their New Testaments (see our blog One New Testament? How about three?). Another New Testament is due to be launched this August but there are still over 100 languages that need the word of God and where translation has not yet even started.

However, without workers the harvest can never be gathered in. The greatest needs at the moment are for an assistant for the language programmes manager, and a finance mentor to support nationals in the bookkeeping and finance systems. Both of these roles will significantly increase the capacity of those involved in training and translating.

Please ask God to send the right people to fill the following urgent needs:

  • A finance mentor, short or long term but available for a minimum of 5-6 months. They must be able to speak French well and willing to live in Bunia, eastern DRC.
  • Assistant to the language programmes manager to support the various translation projects around this large nation. Long term involvement is preferable but even a 6-12 month commitment could make a significant difference. Again a good level of French and willingness to live in Bunia is required.

Find out how your specific skills can be used to support Bible translation.

Go along to The Next Step and find out more about Bible translation and serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Sign up for our free magazine Words for Life, which is packed full of interesting and informative articles as well as a daily prayer need for Bible translation around the world.

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

Saturday, February 18th, 2017 by Alfred

On February 18th we commemorate the death of priest, theologian, and Bible translator Martin Luther (b. November 10, 1483 – d. February 18, 1546).

Luther is most famous for nailing his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg – 500 years ago this year – which many people cite as the primary starting point of the Reformation.

Yet Luther’s later work translating the Bible was also fundamental to the Reformation.

Luther loved the Bible but knew that, at the time, the Bible was not accessible to everyone. So he concluded that a new translation, in the common language of the German people was necessary.

His focus as he worked on the translation was to enable the ‘tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons’ to be able to read God’s word for themselves. Indeed, he was so committed to the ordinariness of the language in the translation, he would take trips into local towns and villages to listen to the way people spoke.

Luther’s translation marked a shift in the church’s approach to the Bible, as Philip Schaff notes:

“The Bible ceased to be a foreign book in a foreign tongue, and became far more clear and dear to the common people. Hereafter the Reformation depended no longer on the works of the Reformers, but on the book of God, which everybody could read for himself as his daily guide in spiritual life.”

It spurred on Bible translation in Europe, especially in French, Dutch and English.

Yet now over 1.5 billion people – more than the entire world population when Luther was alive – still do not have the Bible in the language they speak and understand best. Wycliffe Bible Translators is working so that all peoples around the world can engage with the Bible in the language they most understand.

Find out how you can be part of Bible translation.

John Wycliffe: c. 1328 – 1384

Saturday, December 31st, 2016 by Ruth

For God louede so the world, that he ȝaf his oon bigetun sone, that ech man that bileueth in him perische not, but haue euerlastynge lijf. *

Today commemorates the anniversary of the death of John Wycliffe.  He believed that ‘it helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence’.

He was adamant that the Scriptures should be read in the mother-tongue of all people, as it had been for the original hearers:

You say it is heresy to speak of the Holy Scriptures in English. You call me a heretic because I have translated the Bible into the common tongue of the people. Do you know whom you blaspheme? Did not the Holy Ghost give the Word of God at first in the mother-tongue of the nations to whom it was addressed?

So, he and his team, translated the whole Bible into the common English of the time.  Every word was written by hand.

Wycliffe suffered fierce opposition.  Even after his death, great hatred towards his work continued, leading the Church to declare Scripture translation a heresy in 1412.  To suffer the punishment due to heretics, Wycliffe’s remains were recovered and burnt in 1428 (44 years after his death)!

Over 600 years after Wycliffe’s death, and 160 million people, speaking 1700-1800 languages, still do not have a word of Scripture in their language and may need some form of Bible translation to begin.  At least 1.5 billion people don’t have a complete Bible in the language they understand best. Find out how you can be involved in the continuing work of Bible Translation.

*John 3.16 in the Wyclif Bible.

A season to train

Thursday, November 24th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

Autumn is the season for training new members! Those who are getting ready to go overseas for the first time with Wycliffe Bible Translators are now well into their Assignment Related Training at the Centre for Linguistics, Translation and Literacy which is part of Redcliffe College in Gloucester.

Training finishes just before Christmas and the new members will be heading overseas in the New Year.

You can find more details about our two new members Sharon and Rachel on pages 22-23 of the new edition of Words for Life which is out now online and should be arriving through your letterbox in the next few days, if you have subscribed to receive a print copy.

Please also remember to pray for two other new members Nathan* and Becky*. As they are planning to work in two sensitive parts of the world, we can’t introduce them or their plans to you fully for security reasons.

Please join us praying for:

  • The staff training these new members, that they may communicate clearly and rachel-robinson-picture-d7k_5491support them well during this time of preparation.
  • Ask God to help the new members grasp new concepts well and learn all they need to know to tackle their first assignments successfully.
  • Pray that each one will find ways to stay close to God during this busy time of training, preparations and saying goodbye to family and friends.

Wendy and Jennifer, members of the Wycliffe UK personnel team, will be in Gloucester from 12th–14th December, to help these new members prepare for their work overseas. At this point they will have completed their technical training (for linguistics, literacy, or helping people to use the Bible in their daily lives). Wendy will be helping students to explore what it means to be ‘resilient’, how to survive transition, ways of preparing for the unknown, and the challenges of moral purity.

  • Please pray especially for these final few days of preparation – that Wendy, Jennifer and the new members will all enjoy their time together and that God will challenge each person where they need to be challenged and give peace where they have fears or concerns.

Subscribe to receive Words for Life free. It contains a daily prayer guide with prayer needs shared by personnel and projects around the world as well as articles and information.

*names changed for security reasons.

Behind the scenes

Monday, July 11th, 2016 by Camilla

‘I don’t think I have a lot of skills that would make me a good traditional missionary; my contribution lies in technical behind-the-scenes work, so it’s really satisfying knowing that my day-to-day work facilitates Bible translation in a very real, very tangible way.’

In last Thursday’s prayer post, we asked you to celebrate with us that we’ve got so many new members, and pray with us for more volunteers as well as members. Jo also wrote that we’re not just looking for ‘traditional missionary types’ – God loves diversity and the pool of people who serve overseas is no exception!

Check out this video from one non-traditional missionary serving with Wycliffe.

Click here if the video is not visible.

Want to know more about how you could get involved? Check out our roles page!

Volunteer to make a difference

Thursday, July 7th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

If you read Standing in the Gap regularly you will know that one of our strategic prayer goals for this year is for more workers. In our blog post More workers we focused on the need for more members, but not all the gaps need to be filled by someone working full-time or giving a long term commitment.

We are so excited that record numbers of people are applying to join us as members! However, we also need volunteers to serve both in the UK and overseas.

Fishing Benin 6It’s easy to feel that to be involved in Bible translation you need to have a very specific linguistic skill set. However we need people with all sorts of strengths: accountants, IT experts, administrators, and teachers to name just a few.

As we look to God to expand our ability to partner with churches and support projects both financially and in prayer we also need to increase our capacity to steward our resources well and we need volunteers to help us do that.

Remember, volunteers can play a significant role. At the moment one of the most urgent needs that we know of is for a qualified accountant to go and support Bible translation in Papua New Guinea. This role could be filled by a volunteer, and would provide much needed relief by filling a long-standing but crucial vacancy.

As you have been praying for more workers, will you also ask God to send us more volunteers?

  • Praise God that we are seeing many people joining as members.
  • Please pray that God will enable us to work more efficiently and effectively by providing volunteers to fill some of the gaps.
  • Please ask God to provide an accountant to go to Papua New Guinea and work with the team there.

Find out more about how to pray for our strategic goals.

Contact us if you are interested in volunteering!

Why not encourage a small group you are part of to pray for Bible translation? Use one of our prayer goody bags and check out Focused prayer: Kingdom results for some creative ideas.

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.

Want to pray for Wycliffe more often? Sign up for our daily prayer email.

Remembering the ordinary

Friday, March 11th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

For a number of years we lived in Africa. Once, a friend said to me that it was important we visit the UK often because the longer we were away the higher she put us on a pedestal. Face to face she remembered that we were just ordinary people with hopes and fears, successes and failures.

Medium_DSC_1856Today I want to remind you, as you pray for missionaries you know, that they need prayer for everyday aspects of life as well as the big stuff. Recently as I have read prayer letters from colleagues around the world it has struck me how much the everyday things really matter.

One family serving overseas shared their joy at the eviction of an unwelcome houseguest:

‘One of the scenes in the classic movie The Wizard of Oz shows a gaggle of munchkins celebrating as they sing about the demise of the Wicked Witch. We had a similar scene in our house on Monday when we discovered we had successfully captured our (previously) resident rat. Of course, we did not have quite as many munchkins in attendance, and the joyful song was about a rat instead of a witch, but the essence of the moment was the same. Nearly every morning for the past month or so we would awaken to find its most recent depredation (gnawing or pooing or both), but not anymore! We used peanut butter for bait and rat glue (we are not making this up) to apprehend the not-so-little vermin (8 in/20 cm from nose to butt, plus the tail).’

Why not rejoice with them?

In another newsletter the teenage son of one missionary couple expressed the struggles he was facing as the only Christian in his class.

Do you know other Christian teenagers facing those types of challenges?

Another family shared that the school their children attend is spread over five sites. On each of the sites the headteacher is leaving at the end of the academic year.

How would you feel if the whole leadership team at your child’s school was changing?

So when you pray for cross-cultural workers, by all means pray for their work and the spiritual impact of what they do but also remember to pray for them in the everyday challenges they face:

  • Ask God to bless them with a good living situation which is not infested with rats, bats, insects or other unwelcome guests; that your missionary friends may have a secure and clean environment in which to live.
  • Challenges that their children face. These are often much the same as the challenges that children and young people in the UK face: friendship issues and peer pressure to name just a couple. Use your imagination and pray that above all they would grow in their relationship with Jesus.
  • For good solutions to education needs, church and community involvement. I can guarantee that cross-cultural workers want to live ordinary lives in an extraordinary context.

Get some other ideas to help you pray for missionaries.

Kasem Scripture launch

Monday, January 4th, 2016 by Nick

This is a very special story of two Wycliffe members, Philip and Judy Hewer, who spent time working with the Kasem language group and who recently had the joy of being able to join in and celebrate the completion of the Kasem Bible along with colleagues and old friends.

Back in 1962 when Wycliffe first started work in Africa, the Kasem language group was one of the first language groups to receive a Wycliffe team. With around 366,000 speakers, Kasem is a language that is spoken in both Burkina Faso and Ghana and November 15 saw the long awaited completion of the Kasem Bible!

Photo by Otabil ArthurPhilip and Judy joined the Kasem project 10 years after its start, settling in Paga, a Kasena* village on the northern border of Ghana. After getting to grips with local language and culture, they facilitated translation of the New Testament, as well as preparing literacy materials and training volunteer teachers for adult classes. The Kasem New Testament was published as early as 1988!

Though they have been back in the UK for many years now, this November Philip and Judy returned to Ghana to celebrate the launch of the whole Bible in Kasem. On the day, people pressed forward to buy a Bible in their own mother tongue and once they had their hands on one, many were so deeply engrossed that they paid little attention to further proceedings.

Representatives of supporters from the UK were also able to travel to Ghana to join in these celebrations. Tony came to represent Philip and Judy’s original sending church in Maidstone, who have faithfully supported their work with the Kasena by means of a monthly gift for 43 years! So many people and churches in Ghana, in the UK and around the world have been part of bringing the Bible to the Kasena people in the language of their hearts.

Now they may respond to God’s message in a way appropriate to their own culture without the need for interpretation by outsiders.

Kumasi 018 Presby music group ota (2)   Kumasi 068 a Bible at last ota (2)   Kumasi 083 Bible reader 4 ota (2)

For further information on the Kasem, including sound samples of the language(!), visit

Interested in supporting the work of Bible translation? Find out more on how you can Go, Give or Pray.

*Kasena is the adjective form of Kasem

Photos by Otabil Arthur

‘I was praying, but the answer was me.’

Monday, December 28th, 2015 by Nick

As a young man, Wilfred Bero, a Solomon Islander, dropped out of school and with friends, drank and took marijuana. God however, had greater plans, both for him, and his language community, the Touo. Wilfred is now looking to become a translator to help bring God’s word to the language of his people group.

After the devastating tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands in 2007, God spoke to Wilfred through a number of sobering dreams. ‘I woke up and I was crying and praying to God. And I began searching to find the best path for me. There is no such thing as a half-Christian or a quarter-Christian. I had to go full-time.’ From here this young man’s path to Bible translation began.

Leaving his home village in 2008 to join YWAM (Youth With A Mission), Wilfred completed a six month discipleship training school, and it was during this time away that he came to know God. Later Wilfred returned home and in 2009, challenged by the need for a Touo Bible translation, Wilfred pressed on with his education.

‘We have been waiting and waiting for a translation adviser to come and help us translate the Bible into our language. I was praying, but the answer was me.’

Wilfred is currently training at Islands Bible Ministries preparing to become a Bible translator. To help fund his education, he drives a taxi, which also allows him to share Bible stories with his passengers. ‘I think of Bible stories like the way a doctor has different medicine for different people. I like to share the right message with the right person and tell them a story that speaks to them.’

When qualified, Wilfred will join his father, SIL Solomon Islands and Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership of Solomon Islands (BTLP) to help complete the Touo Bible.

You can read more of Wilfred Bero’s amazing story, Big Plans, here.

Find out how you can be involved through prayer, financial support or by going.