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By Hannah Weiand

 

Wycliffe has so many amazing events and opportunities coming this spring! Opportunities include events, trips and internships. View full list

 

TOTAL IT UP!

Discover the field of linguistics and Bible translation at this five-day course. Build meaningful relationships, hear personal testimonies and learn how you can get involved!

 

EXPLORE WYCLIFFE

Here’s a one-day session with long-term impact! Find out more about Bible translation, explore opportunities and meet Wycliffe missionaries who can answer all your questions.

 

RACE TO 2025

Raise your heart rate while raising support for Bible translation! This is the ultimate three-day team adventure, filled with the adrenaline rush of extreme sports and challenges in support of Bible translation.

 

DISCOVER

Discover short-term service with long-term impact through these internships and international trips! Each offers an amazing opportunity to dive in and experience what it’s like to support Bible translation. Trips offer three tracks to match your interest level. Click for details about tracks and opportunities.

Track 1

  • Tanzania, Africa | June 2 – June 25| Focus: Information Technology Click for details
  • Papua New Guinea | July 20 – August 15 |Focus: Education, Medical Service, and more Click for details
  • Southeast Asia | July 20 – August 15 | Focus: Translation, Linguistics Click for details
  • Germany | August 6 – August 25 |Focus: Children’s Education, Linguistics, Translation Click for details

Track 2

  • Papua New Guinea | June 7 – August 3 | Focus: Translation and a variety of service roles Click for details
  • Southeast Asia | June 10 – August 7 | Focus: Linguistics and a variety of service roles Click for details
  • Benin, Africa | June 25 – August 5 | Focus: Linguistics, Bible Translation and a variety of support roles Click for details

 

Internships

By Jon Hampshire with Richard Gretsky

During my years at Bible college, I committed to serve God “anytime, anywhere, and in any capacity.” Accordingly, the Lord led my wife, Cindi, and me on an incredible journey which took us, along with our two little girls, to language study in France, on to cultural orientation in Kenya, and into the rain forest of eastern Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC). The needs were great and the work was intense. And after having been selected to direct the work in the Congo, I became more and more busy, taking on more responsibility and tasks. I saw the enormity of the needs and I knew that the challenges that our Congolese brothers and sisters faced were overwhelming. I just wanted to help in every way I was able, and I did so for many years.

Five years into the director’s role, strange physical symptoms began to affect me: accelerated heart rate, nausea, dizziness, and extreme fatigue. As the symptoms worsened, I got scared, seemingly taken over by an anxiety that I had never experienced before. Visits to the best heart doctor in Kenya, as well as to a neurologist and a general practitioner, only revealed that on paper, I was healthy.

I thought maybe I was going crazy—a fearful thought for a person who felt he always had things under control and whom others looked to for leadership in times of crisis.

The truth is, years of directing translation work in a country that was at war—bringing insecurities, dangers, and numerous unknowns—had taken its toll. I had become depleted in just about every way. (It came to the point where I literally couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without being completely and utterly exhausted.)

Burned Out - Bunyakiri Office

Then, while I was at a conference out of the country, some of my colleagues intervened. They said that I was burned out and in serious danger. I knew they were right.

Changes had to be made. With my family’s support, I began seeing a counselor to help guide me to the path of healing. I started delegating responsibilities that weren’t essential to my job, and even some that were. I rested. I spent time with the Lord.

And God met me in the pit—a fact that moves me deeply, even today. With comfort, encouragement, and love, He was there with me. I knew He was in control in spite of my pain, and I began to see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

With time, I began to heal.

Now that I am stronger and most of my symptoms have gone (though I still deal with some), I am able to reflect on that difficult time with more clarity.

Because I witnessed God’s power and goodness in that time, I recognized that I could trust Him whether He healed me or not, and I realized that it is only by His grace that true healing comes.

Burned Out - Jon and Cindi at Easter

Yes, I burned out, but God, in His deep and never-ending love, was with me at every moment, just as He promised He would be. So I don’t regret having spent some time in the pit, because it was there that I grew to know God more deeply.

And having been there, I am now able to encourage others who find themselves in similar situations—to make wise decisions, to set good boundaries, and above all else, to seek and trust the Lord.

Kate and Mack just finished a long trip around the world, learning how 12 countries celebrate Christmas. Some countries celebrate it much like we do in the U.S., but some celebrate it quite differently. Kate and Mack are here to help your kids and families learn about the diversity in Christmas traditions!

We’re so excited about these lessons, and we wanted to give you a sneak peak of the fun your family can have over the next few weeks.

Want to sign up? Visit wycliffe.org/12-days-of-christmas! And if you love the lessons and want to keep traveling with Kate and Mack, you can stay connected with all their travels at wycliffe.org/a-z. They’re having adventures you won’t want to miss!

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12_days_of_Christmas_2Argentina activity

Bennett is a Sudanese translator who experienced God’s hand of provision in a dramatic and miraculous way.

“God spared my life and the life of my family for translation work,” he says. And Bennett believes that God will make a way for every person in South Sudan to have Scripture translated in their own language.

Bennett’s story began when he dedicated himself to translating Scripture into the Baka language spoken by his people. But soon after, civil war erupted in Sudan and vicious fighting drove Bennett and his family out of their home in Maridi.

Almost everyone in his village was killed in the attack. Many others died on the 100-mile walk through the forests to a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite these terrible hardships, Bennett’s resolve to translate God’s Word did not waver. Soon others in the camp began to share his desire for Scripture translation.

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Word spread and Wycliffe had the great privilege to come alongside these Baka Christians to help provide training and support to move Bible translation forward in their language. With the help of generous partners like you, Bennett’s translation team worked in the Congo for seven years until the war ended in Sudan.

When Bennett was about to return home, he was arrested, torn from his family and forced to witness the execution of eight men. Then the soldiers came to kill Bennett.

That was the day a miracle happened!

“God entered into them,” says Bennett, and the soldiers suddenly changed their minds. In a moment they were transformed from grim executioners into bodyguards that accompanied Bennett on his journey back to Sudan.

With an unshakeable confidence in God’s provision, Bennett has overcome many other obstacles since that day. He knows beyond a doubt that God wants him to bring Scripture to the Baka people in the language they understand best — so they too can experience the transforming love of God.

You can help provide the Bible’s message of hope to war-weary people by mobilizing courageous South Sudanese translators like Bennett. Donations will be matched — dollar-for-dollar — to double in impact and bring God’s Word to more people in South Sudan, and bring it sooner. Visit wycliffe.org/SouthSudan to give today.

By Chris Winkler and Matt Petersen

How to Pray for a Foreign Country

Wycliffe missionaries Chris and Christie Winkler, along with their three children, recently returned to the U.S. after serving in the country of Nigeria for half a decade. During that time they made their home in Jos, a diverse city that in recent years has been a target of terrorism and social unrest.

Moving to Jos brought both challenges and joys for the Winklers. Here Chris shares some things they learned about prayer and perspective.

Wycliffe: Chris, how did your friends and family respond when you first told them God was calling you to Nigeria?

Chris: When we moved to Nigeria a little more than five years ago, it was much to the dismay of our friends and family, because as we all know, when we see things in the news about Nigeria, and Africa in general, it’s usually not things that we’re very comfortable with here in the States.

Not all of our extended family agreed with the call for us to go. They were praying for us not to go because of what they were seeing in the media. And it really impacted us to have people that we loved and cared about not on the same page as us.

Wycliffe: What was your perception of Nigeria before you moved there?

Chris: Before we felt the call to go to Nigeria, I think we lumped it in with all of the other countries in Africa that have issues. We were largely ill-informed, as were a lot of our friends and family. Many people before we left called Africa a country. But Nigeria is just one country on the very large continent of Africa.

Wycliffe: Did you pray regularly for Nigeria before God called you there?

Chris: Not really knowing people there, we didn’t know how to pray. So I would say that we really didn’t pray very much for Africa before we felt the call to move there.

Wycliffe: How did your view of Nigeria change once you were there?

Chris: Right after we decided to go to Nigeria, issues there started showing up everywhere in the news and on social media. But when we moved there, those place names in the media stories had become our home. When we saw the city of Jos mentioned in the news, it was our home. There were villages where we had friends living. Death tolls and casualty statistics were friends of friends and family of friends. Some were colleagues in the Bible translation movement.

Wycliffe: How did that affect your prayers for Nigeria?

Chris: Once we got there, instead of just relying on the news, our sources were emails and phone calls to friends — people who knew what was going on. And in some cases our source for our prayer partners — our friends and family back home — was us.

Some of our family and friends were still not convinced that this was where God wanted us. They were, at that point, praying for us to come home. But there were some prayer warriors who had read the news differently. They had never read news from Africa before, but when we went, they started reading it and engaging with it, posting on Facebook and encouraging friends and family to pray about these things that they were now learning.  The media was informing their prayers for a place (and people) that they now cared about.

Wycliffe: How did the news influence the fears that your family and friends had about you being in Nigeria?

Chris: As we all know, the media doesn’t always report the whole picture. Sometimes they can’t and sometimes they don’t for whatever reason. We would tell our prayer partners “Well, this is what the news said, but this is what really happened. Yes, it said that happened in Jos, the city where we are living, but it really happened a long ways away; Jos was just the nearest large city.”

So to have that firsthand perspective was really helpful for a lot of our prayer partners.

Wycliffe: How did people’s own experiences affect their prayers for you?

Chris: I think it’s really helpful for us to keep in mind that there are different perspectives on everything. When we had a rash of car bombings in Jos in 2012, it was very scary for a lot of our prayer partners who didn’t really know how to pray. But we also have friends from Northern Ireland who grew up with car bombs as a way of life, and they were able to shape that differently. Their prayers were different, because they had different lenses on.

Wycliffe: Any suggestions for ways we can pray more effectively for the world?

Chris: The source of where you’re getting your information for prayer matters a lot. If you know someone somewhere, and you really want to be praying for that country, ask them over the phone or maybe via email how to pray. Facebook can also be a helpful tool for connecting.  Having a real, personal connection is a helpful way to engage effectively in prayer.

Build relationships that deepen your engagement with a place, so that you wind up like we were after we went to Nigeria — making informed prayers, knowing what the full story is, reading the news and knowing that there are things going on there that you can be praying for.

Wycliffe: Any final thoughts for us on prayer?

Chris: God may not have called you to pray for every place in the world and everything in the world, but take what he has called you to pray for and dig deep.

Wycliffe: Thanks, Chris!

Click here for more prayer tips and resources.

Meet Elvis

Photo by Zeke du Plessis

“If we are to understand the Word of God, God needs to translate himself into our language, so that his words can speak deeply to each person,” reflects Elvis. “It’s the translation of the Word of God into my language that is at the base of my own faith.”

When this photo was taken, Elvis was serving as the language program manager for ACATBA (Central African Association for Bible Translation and Literacy in English). His pastor, Georges, says of Elvis: “Elvis is a man of God. His work in translating the Scripture means that all people in CAR can make good use of the word of God.”

According to Wycliffe Global Alliance, there are 83 languages spoken in the Central African Republic, and 54 of those have no Scripture at all. But because of people like Elvis who are dedicated to the work of Bible translation, this number will continue to decrease as the number of languages who have the Scriptures increase.

Elvis is dedicated to bringing God’s Word to the Gbeya speakers in Bossangoa, Central African Republic. You can help fund Bible translation in Central African Republic here.

By Hannah Weiand
Hannah is a Wycliffe USA intern, attending Oral Roberts University. Hannah will graduate with a degree in Writing in May 2015.

People sometimes ask, “Why not just translate the Bible using Google Translate? Wouldn’t that save you a lot of time, money and effort?” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

In today’s world, where technology is advancing rapidly and information is more accessible than ever, it’s important to realize that Bible translation is more than just a process of word substitution. There are approximately 7,000 languages in the world, and just under 2,000 of those languages are completely without Scripture. As intriguing as it might seem to use a tool like Google Translate to provide the Bible for those remaining languages, it simply doesn’t work.

Here’s why:

First, according to Google Translate’s website, Google Translate uses a process called “statistical machine translation.” Google explains this process as the computer detecting patterns in documents on the Internet that have already been translated by human translators. The problem here is that language groups that still need a Bible translation are typically underdeveloped, at best, and some don’t even have an alphabet. So little-to-no material appears on the Internet in those languages. And even for those languages that Google Translate does serve, Google states that “For some languages, however, we have fewer translated documents available, and therefore, fewer patterns that our software has detected. This is why our language quality will vary by language and language pair.

Second, there is a problem with the lack of languages that Google has to offer. While its program continues to grow, it currently only has 80 languages in its repertoire, making its benefits very exclusive.

Mainly, however, there is more to the process of translation than what tools like Google Translate can or cannot do. One thing that a computer tool like Google Translate cannot account for is culture. The process of translating the Bible for people who have never had it in their own language requires an understanding of their way of life. Only through that understanding can we properly communicate the complex, powerful concepts found in the Bible.

Steve Pillenger lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and works as a type setter.

For example, we love God with all of our hearts and accept Jesus into our hearts. But in many cultures around the world, the heart is not considered the center of the emotions. Consider the Awa people of Papua New Guinea, who express feelings and importance with the liver. They wouldn’t say “I love you with all of my heart”; they would say something along the lines of “I love you with all of my liver.”

Cultural context aside, we must also consider the many complexities of language. For example, some languages have multiple ways to describe something that may be a single-word concept in English, while other languages may not have a word for that concept at all. And some languages take entirely different forms, like those that are whistled or signed. (There are nearly 400 different sign languages in the world, and most of them are without the Bible!)

All of these factors help explain why Bible translation takes so much time, dedication and personal investment. And in the end, nothing can replace that personal connection.

This post is part of our Wycliffe 101 series. Click here to read the previous post, or here to start at the beginning.

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