Josh Oldfield (above) shares how God unexpectedly gave him a passion for Bible translation.

Is global mission a passion of yours?

It was never one of mine.

When I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators, I was convinced I wasn’t the right ‘type’. I very clearly remember saying to my interviewer: ‘I was always useless at languages in school and I hate international travel; are you sure you want me?’

They did.

My job is to raise awareness of the need for Bible translation today. Most people are surprised that’s a job that needs doing. They assume Bible translation has been finished. The reality is there are still 1.5 billion people without the full Bible in their language. One in five people cannot know him like I know him – at 6am with an open Bible.

My first passion still isn’t Bible translation.

Bible translation isn’t even the primary passion of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Jesus is our first passion.

We want Jesus to be known. We want to equip his Church to preach the gospel, see the lost saved and bring glory to the name of Jesus.

People praying together on the Aru Islands in Indonesia

After four years in this organisation, I am totally and utterly convinced that Bible translation is the best way to reach the world with the message of Jesus. I simply don’t know how you would plant a church, serve the poor, disciple believers or share the gospel without the Bible in the language of those around you. My passion for Jesus has created a passion for Bible translation I never had before. Now I see it as absolutely vital – and there is still so much more to do.

Is global mission a passion of yours?

For some of you it already is. Amazing!

Or maybe you’re more like me – unconvinced you’re the ‘type’.

Either way, there is a place for you in Bible translation.

I think some people feel very clearly called by God to serve overseas. There is a girl in my church small group. She has always known God is calling her to Africa one day. I don’t feel the same way, but I have become convinced that it doesn’t let me off the hook. I cannot ignore global mission because a passion for global mission is not ultimately an issue of calling – it is an issue of discipleship.

In other words, whether you feel that God is asking you to serve overseas or not, this is for you. God has designed a passion for global mission to be close to the heart of every one of his people because it is close to his heart. Our Father wants the knowledge of his Son to be spread to the furthest reaches of his world. The Creator and Redeemer must be known!

Josh leading a session at Experience Wycliffe in Austria

Experience Wycliffe is our endeavour to grow in passion for global mission. It’s a two-week summer training and retreat camp. We study the book of Acts together, share stories of what God is doing through Bible translation today, and give you space for God to speak to you about how you can get involved. Some of those who come will be fascinated by language and will have known forever that translation work is for them. But others will be geographers, newly-qualified teachers, software engineers, theologians, accountants – all wondering how God might use them in his global mission, and whether Bible translation might just be their way to serve. For all of those different people, it could be.

Is global mission a passion of yours?

It can be.