Is God calling you to serve him overseas? Have you considered Nigeria?

A family farming their land in southern Kaduna.
Photo by Tim Kempton

When Nigeria is mentioned in the Western media, the focus is often on its struggles or upon negative aspects of life here. Nigeria is certainly a place of need, and yet it’s a beautiful and diverse country characterised by community, creativity, and fortitude. It’s also a land of opportunity, especially when it comes to language development and Bible translation. As one of our colleagues says, ‘Nigeria is a linguist’s paradise’ – there are over 500 languages. Sadly, there are still many communities longing for the Bible in the languages they understand best.

Nigeria is a linguist’s paradise… but the skills we need are not just in linguistics and translation

Nim with her husband Tim. Photo by Ben Kuwitzky

We work with Wycliffe in Jos, the main city in Plateau State. My husband Tim is a linguist, helping communities develop reading and writing in their own language so that the Bible can be translated. I work with the Scripture Engagement team to train, support, and resource communities in using the Bible in their languages. Both roles deal with key stages in Bible translation, ensuring that the Bible can be written down accurately in an alphabet that can be easily read, and that communities engage well with their ongoing Bible translations, are equipped to use them, and can be transformed by what they read and hear. Yet these are just two jobs in our diverse Nigeria team, which includes roles in language surveying, literacy, linguistics, translation, publishing, media services, teaching at Nigerian seminaries, Scripture engagement, administration, project management, human resources, and more!

Partnership makes us more effective as we pool our gifts and strengths

Tyap believers listen to the Tyap audio Bible.
Photo by Nim Kempton

For everything that we sacrifice by living and serving in Nigeria, we receive so many benefits in return. Great beauty and diversity in the hundreds of ethnic groups, cultures and languages, in their music and arts, and in the plants and animals. Genuine community, delicious food, and the gracious attitude many Nigerians have towards us as cross-cultural learners. Not to mention getting to be at the front line of what God is doing through language development and Bible translation in Nigerian communities.

Another great feature of our work is the 50/50 partnership between expatriate and Nigerian missionary staff, which makes us more effective as we pool our gifts and strengths, while enabling expatriate staff to learn from Nigerians and richly experience life in community.

Can you help us?

It’s always a blessing when people with linguistic and translation gifts join the team, yet when we’re asked what the current needs are, we’re quick to emphasise that the skills we need are not just in linguistics and translation.

Currently we would also love to recruit people with administrative and human resource skills. This is a key area in an expanding organisation where we are recruiting and developing both Nigerian and expatriate staff.

We need help in both our Literacy and our Language Technology & Publishing departments, and we’re looking for a Linguistic Coordinator – preferably someone gifted with both linguistic knowledge and management skills.

Our growing team would also benefit from the skills of a group nurse and a coordinator for short-term interns.

If you have questions or you would like to know more about working with Wycliffe in Nigeria, we’d love to hear from you. Just email initialinterest@wycliffe.org.uk.

Nim Kempton