Posts Tagged ‘The Seed Company’

A dangerous expedition

Monday, January 9th, 2017 by Camilla

Berki, a member of the Hamer community of southwestern Ethiopia, was a slight child. His father said he was too weak to look after the cattle, so when Berki was 16, he sent him to school. There Berki met an evangelist, who told him about Jesus, and he became a Christian.

Berki completed school and returned home to teach. When Berki told his family about his new faith, his father dismissed the notion. His parents stopped supporting him financially. After eight months of teaching and family tension, he sensed a strong prompting to leave his job and go to Dimeka.

berkiBerki resolved to work full time in ministry. Soon, he accepted a church position.

Berki returned home for a visit. To his surprise, his family welcomed him warmly. He hoped they had softened. Even Berki’s older brother, Gadi, seemed to set aside their differences.

‘Brother, do you want to go with me to cut the honey?’ Gadi asked. Berki loved honey.

They set out the next morning, walking far from home. At dusk, Gadi and Berki walked into a valley. Gadi told Berki to rest while he walked a little way to see where they were.

What Berki didn’t know was that his family had told his brother to kill him.

As heavy rain began to fall, Berki realised his brother had left him. He climbed out of the valley to see if he recognised any landmarks.

Terrified, he sat in the mud and cried. As Berki tried to stand again, he realised a river of sand and mud had swallowed his right leg like concrete. Exhausted, Berki pleaded with God.

Lord, if you don’t take me, help me sleep. I don’t want to be awake if the wild animals attack me.

Sleep overtook him. As dawn broke, he opened his eyes. Praise God!

Berki tugged to free himself. Hyena tracks everywhere but they had not attacked. Berki climbed to the top of a nearby mountain and breathed a grateful prayer. With renewed strength, he began the long walk home.

Later, Berki attended a workshop where he’d learn to tell accurate Bible stories. Today, as a full-time evangelist, Berki wears traditional clothing and rides his bicycle to nearby villages to tell Bible stories where people welcome him. Having access to a Bible in the local language is hugely important to his work.

This story originally appeared on our partner The Seed Company’s blog. To read Berki’s story in full, click here.

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



From gang to God

Monday, November 28th, 2016 by Camilla

When Diego nears the coast today, the smell of salt air takes him back more than 20 years to a time when he was 14 and striking out on his own to find work on the banana plantations.

When he arrived at his destination, the hardworking teen quickly landed a job. Just as quickly, he also landed new friends…in a local gang.

from-gang-to-godHe’d not planned to live a life of violence, crime and alcoholism. But after a time, he didn’t want to hear about any alternative.

‘My mind was just too rebellious,’ Diego says. ‘Many people talked to me about believing in Jesus. I had been in jail in Guatemala in 1994 and even before.’

Finally his lifestyle led to a crisis. Diego became ill. ‘So I looked for some other ways to heal my life,’ Diego says. ‘I never found any. I suffered for a long time. Then I remembered about God. I looked for him to see if he really existed.’

Diego fasted and prayed for three days.

‘Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — I prayed for two hours a day,’ he says. ‘I talked to God and asked him to forgive me. I was in much vice. I was lost and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have any escape. So I said, ‘Lord, if you really exist, heal me, because I can’t take it anymore. Otherwise I will kill myself. I don’t want to suffer anymore.’

On the third day, God answered Diego who gave his life to Christ that day. ‘I automatically quit drinking,’ he says.

That was eight years ago.

As Diego transitioned from gang member to believer, he began attending Spanish language church services. But his heart language isn’t Spanish. It’s the Mayan language K’iche’. As his search to know more about Jesus continued, Diego met lead translator Felipe, and discovered that Scripture was being translated into his language.

Diego eagerly listened as the translators worked on passages. He leaned in closely as they discussed the meaning of each word, each thought, each promise. Diego was captivated by God’s word. Before long, he became part of the translation team.

This post originally appeared on our partner The Seed Company’s website.

Interested in supporting the work of Bible translation? Find out more on how you can go, give or pray.

No longer a lost sheep

Monday, May 9th, 2016 by Cath Macleod

Anita, a Filipino woman from the Batad people group in North Luzon, today has a multi-faceted Christian ministry. She creates websites, leads church services, writes songs and stories and advises other local ministry leaders.

She remembers when it all began.

Her father got a job in Manila as a guard at the SIL* Linguistics Center, a home base for Christian missionaries. Anita was about 11, and was excited to leave her village and visit him in the city.

AnitaWhen a Canadian missionary based at the centre met Anita, she invited her to stay at her home and become a paid domestic helper.

‘I learned how to do housework. They taught me how to cook and how to wash dishes,’ Anita remembers.

The family hosted a regular Bible study. ‘They called me the Lost Sheep because I was not saved,’ Anita says. At night they would say, ‘Would you like to pray with us, Lost Sheep?’

In the morning, Margaret would come to the room where Anita slept and say, ‘Hello, Lost Sheep. It’s time to wake up.’

‘Margaret would always tell me stories,’ Anita recalls. After we worked, we would sit together, and she would tell me stories about Jesus who loves me, and how he died for me.

The time came when Margaret was ready to accept. I just prayed that night and said, ‘I would like you to come into my heart and be my saviour.’ So I told them the next morning that I was not the Lost Sheep any more. And we had a feast!

Anita went on to become a translator of the Ayangan Old Testament. She has written many mother tongue stories and songs that she and others use to teach children in Sunday school.

Now 65, she recruits and trains young people to instruct others in building websites. ‘I am already so old, so I need a young generation to do that,’ she says.

She is a women’s ministry adviser for the 120-member Association of Ifugao Bible Churches. She directs a worship team in her home church, which has mother tongue services in both Ilocano and Ayangan. And she never forgets where it all began — with a little girl known as the Lost Sheep.

This story is from one of our partners, The Seed Company. Read the full story here.

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

*SIL is our primary partner organisation

From death to life

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 by Camilla

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.

A new start in Senegal

Friday, May 2nd, 2014 by Jo Johnson

The Karon language team, Senegal, have just begun work. Over the next four years, they’ll be translating Luke’s Gospel. They hope to be able to use this to dub the JESUS Film too!

The Karon people’s heartland is in southern Senegal, although about half live in the Gambia. The area is isolated, mostly on inland islands only accessible by boat. There are only limited medical facilities and there are high rates of unemployment. However, the Karon are keen to develop their language and preserve their culture, and literacy classes have been running for the last four years.

IMG_1976‘In October 2013, a two-week workshop on biblical translation principles was held for the Karon. Ten participants came together to learn about the translation process. They represented a wide range of the population: Gambian and Senegalese, men and women, evangelical and Catholic, young and old, educated and newly literate.

‘As a result, three Karon people have been identified to form a translation team, working together with an expatriate assistant in Dakar. It is hoped that one of the three can be trained in the future to take over their work of exegesis.

‘The remaining workshop participants will play an important role in the testing and editing process of the first drafts.’

Praise God for the provision of funding by partner organisation The Seed Company for the first two years of the project.

Please pray:

  • For the three translators: Eugène (a Senegalese man), Mireille (a Senegalese woman) and Matthias (a Gambian man).  Ask God to form them into a strong team with a strong sense of unity.
  • For Janet Frésard, the expatriate worker, who will train them to work increasingly independently.
  • For those involved in testing the drafts among the Karon, to get into a good rhythm of receiving the texts, interviewing people and sending the texts back to the team for further revisions.
  • Ask God to protect everyone involved. The project started in March and already they have met with spiritual opposition, health and family difficulties.

Find out more about the work of our linguistic partners in Senegal.

Share these prayer needs with your church or others who will join us in prayer for this young project.

Finding Bible translation in the Bible

Thursday, August 8th, 2013 by Hannah

Some people find it hard to see the precedent for Bible translation in the Bible. Other mission work – things like evangelism, church planting or medical help – has clear Biblical examples, and as we read the Bible we can see Jesus and his followers doing this kind of work when the early church was just beginning. But where’s the example of Bible translation in the Bible?

In his poem ‘Pent Up Cost’, David Bowden focuses on language and translation at three points of the Bible’s Story. It’s chock-full of passion and encouragement. Many thanks to Wycliffe partner The Seed Company for the fantastic video production of it below.

‘To hear the word in your heart language is to hear the word in your heart.’

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‘Yes, our mouths will be reborn, our tongues will be made complete,
and from eternity to eternity it will be with God’s dialect that we all shall speak.’

Before that last, amazing day – when people from every language will be together praising God – we want to see people know God through his word, through the Bible Story he’s given us. Join in with Bible translation.

Praying for spiritual victory

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 by Jo Johnson

The word of God in English is available to us in so many different formats and versions. We don’t even have to pay for the multiple versions of the Bible in English that are accessible online. The Avatime people of south eastern Ghana were introduced to Christianity a hundred years ago but they still have no Bible in their language.

The majority of the Avatime profess to be Christian but traditional religion is widely practised alongside Christianity. The manager of the Avatime project, Divine Munumkum asks us to pray that ‘the people of Avatime, especially the churches, would fully commit themselves to the Avatime literacy and Bible translation programmes.’

Photo from Wycliffe USA

Translation work has begun and several books from the New Testament have been drafted and consultant checked*. Divine rejoices that the published books – Matthew, Mark, John, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and James – are being read in churches and at other occasions such as funerals. The Avatime have a low rate of literacy so

‘the project has printed reading books which include proverbs, health, basic primers, numeracy and more. In all there are 11 titles. We are seeking permission from the Education Ministry to introduce the Avatime language into the primary school so pray that we are able to do so.’

There is a feeling of spiritual opposition to Bible translation in this language. Please pray for spiritual victory. One of the areas the project has known opposition in is the area of health. One staff member, Walter, has had a big wound on the top of his left foot for over 6 months. Please pray for Walter’s healing and the good health of all project staff and their families. The Avatime project staff need our support and right now you can pray for them. Please stand in the gap on their behalf today.

The Avatime Bible translation project is supported by our partner organisation the Seed Company; for more information about the project please visit the Seed Company website.

* Translations are checked by specialist consultants to make sure that they are an accurate translation and are clear and natural to the readers.

In the news this week…

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 by Hannah

The Guardian have written about a man in New York who has been inspired to write out the entire Bible:

“I hadn’t counted on the fact that it would end up being beautiful,” Patterson said. “Or that it would be so exhilarating. And so long.”

Patterson, 63, might seem like an unlikely scribe for the King James version of the Bible. Tall and bald with a hearty laugh, the retired interior designer is neither monkish nor zealous. He goes to church but has never been particularly religious. Health issues – including Aids and anemia – have sent him to the hospital and slowed the work. He relies on two canes and will lean on walls and furniture to get around his apartment near the Massachusetts border. More from the Guardian article.

A translator writes the word. Photo by Søren Kjeldgaard.

A translator writes the word. Photo by Søren Kjeldgaard.

He’s been writing the Bible for interest and for the beauty. But there are people in some part of the world writing for their lives – writing the Bible as the only way to share hope. For example, we’ve shared this account from Open Doors before:

CHINA: “We took shifts copying for 20 days continuously, two copying and two correcting. By the last night, we finished and went to return the Bible. Exhausted, we fell asleep on the way. Morning came and we rushed to return it to the elderly woman, constantly apologizing. We started reading our hand-copied Bible immediately. At the time we had 10 churches, and we used that Bible during meetings. This copy was lent among the churches. This Bible is very precious to us. We hid it at a meeting place by digging a hole, putting it in and covering it with a rock. I used it for 10 years, until it was discovered and confiscated.”

Writing out the Bible in a language that truly speaks to you is a brilliant thing to do, and if you’re interested, we’d encourage you to get on board with the Write the Word programme our partners The Seed Company are running. As you read and write, think about how much we have and remember that there are many people still waiting for their first verse! Give God’s Story.

Make a joyful noise!

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 by Hannah

The word of God is light in my darkness, hope for the hopeless, strong and true. The word of God is strength for the weary, a shield for those who trust in you!

In June last year, the very first Gamo New Testament was released. That’s something worth singing and praising God about!

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This music video was produced by Wycliffe partners The Seed Company with Brenton Brown.

Year on year, the number of people who have God’s enlightening and hope-giving word in a language they understand is growing. It’s worth praising God about!

There are loads of ways you can get involved with praising with Wycliffe: why not try out Get the word out, ideas for inspiring your small group through Bible translation themed activities? Or plan to join with other praisers on 9 November for Frontline Prayer, Wycliffe’s 2013 day of prayer (details coming soon).

How does news about what God is doing around the world get you praising?

Press play for the voice of God

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 by Hannah

As English-speaking Christians, we often forget how much we have: we have easy access to the Bible (in loads of versions) and we know that when we speak, God listens and understands. This account from a worker taking Proclaimers (digital audio players with Scripture recordings) to a people group in Ghana reminds us that not everyone does:

A Konkomba village scene. A woman cooks and her child looks on.

Morgan remembered the early years when he took recorded Scripture to the Konkomba in Ghana. ‘I asked one man if the village wanted to hear God’s word in his mother tongue. He said, “No, no. God’s doesn’t speak Konkomba.”

‘Then I set up a Proclaimer audio Bible and pushed play. The man’s eyes widened. He grabbed a gongo [piece of metal] and rushed through the village… bam, bam, bam! Soon the entire village sat under the trees ready to listen.’

Morgan pushed play again. The genealogy of Jesus rolled out in their language. ‘Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren…’ (Matthew 1:2 KJV) The crowd was riveted. When the story stopped 45 minutes later, they roared, ‘God speaks Konkomba! He’s from among us! We don’t need a translator to talk to God.’

There are many people, all around the world, who still believe that God doesn’t know them and that they can’t speak to him because of their language. Translating the Bible into these languages is a demonstration of the hope, love and grace of God. Give God’s word.

This account was originally published in SeedLinks, the magazine of our partners The Seed Company. Read the rest of the magazine for more about the impact of genealogies, the need for translation, and creative ways people are getting involved with Bible translation.