The first new-look, short-term team for graduates run by Wycliffe Bible Translators has just finished, after a successful nine months of training and support work in the Philippines. Called GradTeams, the programme saw the three-strong team spend time alongside those working in Bible translation with Wycliffe.

GradTeams provides opportunities for recent graduates to find out more about Bible translation, test whether it is an area that God is calling them to work long-term, and grow in their faith. ‘My GradTeam was an unforgettable experience,’ says team member Kelsie. ‘It opened my eyes to the world of Bible translation and the many areas in which people can serve with Wycliffe.’

The team members began with language learning and cultural orientation, before getting involved in practical work alongside those serving with Wycliffe. Peter comments: ‘The six-week orientation course in Gloucester before we departed gave us a great opportunity to get to know each other before heading out to the Philippines. It was very helpful and I thoroughly enjoyed it.’

‘Once in the Philippines, we then had several months of language learning in Tagalog, and gradually got more and more involved in practical work.’

That work was varied. ‘We spent most of our year archiving,’ comments Kelsie, ‘which involved uploading language research documents online to make them widely available. We also had many opportunities to visit various translation projects and explore different areas of the work, such as literacy and education.’

‘On top of that, we received training on how to use a book-making software package, and even had opportunities to train others in using it. There was a lot of variety – organising a photography exhibit, designing a poster to celebrate the UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages, attending a creation care conference. It just goes to show that there is far more to it than just actual translation work.’

GradTeams is also about each person’s journey of faith, helping them to grow more in their relationship with God. Peter reflects: ‘My GradTeam has given me space to reflect on several big life questions, like what love or community should look like practically.’

‘I have learnt to trust God more,’ adds Kelsie, ‘as I have watched him answer prayers and provide for my every need – from support raising, to simply getting a break from the heat.’

GradTeams Coordinator Tim Kovoor sums it all up: ‘This first GradTeam has achieved all we could have hoped for. The three team members have had a wonderful and productive experience, have learnt a lot, and have been able to contribute in a practical way to the work in the Philippines. Whether or not they end up working in Bible translation, they have all grown in their relationship with Jesus, and have had experiences and gained expertise that will equip them for the rest of their lives.’

GradTeams sends small teams of graduates aged between 20 and 25 to work in Bible translation for up to a year alongside those serving with Wycliffe.

Anyone interested in finding out more about GradTeams can do so at wycliffe.org.uk/gradteams/

Notes to Editors

1. For further information, call Jeremy Weightman on the Wycliffe Communications Team on 0300 303 1111.

2. Wycliffe Bible Translators seeks to enable all peoples to engage with the Bible in a language that speaks to them best. It does this through a range of activities, including Bible translation, literacy and Scripture use initiatives. Currently, Wycliffe has 363 people from the UK and Ireland serving 486 million people who speak 368 languages in 71 countries. Of the 7,000 languages spoken worldwide today, only about 700 have the Bible. Around 1.5 billion people (one in every five people) do not have the Bible in their language. As a result, translation of the Bible into people’s languages is one of the critical needs in world mission, to enable the growth of evangelism and discipleship ministries.

3.Images. You can download the following images to accompany the press release, by clicking on the ‘Image’ link:

Image 1 – Kelsie in class

Image 2 – Kelsie in the library

Image 3 – GradTeams offers an opportunity to grow spiritually