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Nigeria is one of three areas with the greatest remaining need for Bible translation in the world. With 512 languages spoken across the country, more than 300 languages still need a translation started. If the goal of seeing a Bible translation in progress in every language that needs it by the year 2025 is to be accomplished, Nigerian Christians will have to play a critical role. The biggest need centers on training and equipping Nigerians to serve in key roles as translators, linguists, recording specialists and more.

In 2005 the Theological College of Northern Nigeria established a four-year bachelor of arts program in Bible translation. Several years later a two-year advanced master’s program and a one-year postgraduate diploma were added. Currently, more than 35 Nigerians are enrolled in these programs.

In addition to specialized courses targeting Bible translation, the linguistics and translation department has provided reliable Internet connection, back-up generator power, printers and a well-stocked library. To date, graduates from the program have had an impact in more than 33 Nigerian languages, and are ready to assume leadership roles in all aspects of Bible translation.

One of the second year students in the Linguistics and Translation Department, Samuel*, was struggling with the question of whether doing Bible translation in minority languages was really worthwhile.

During the Field Assignment part of his training, he was stranded in the village in which he was working due to unrest, unable to communicate with the outside world. He saw one villager killed and another forced to flee for his life; these were men who had helped him on translation.

God used this situation to renew Samuel’s vision for the work of Bible translation. He realized that he had to complete the work God had called him to, so that every people group has the hope of God’s Word in a language they understand. Now his wife desires to join him in this ministry and plans to complete the same degree when Samuel has finished his studies.

In addition to degree-level training, another project offers up to 20 workshops per year, providing training in translation, Scripture use, literacy and language software topics. These workshops serve our partner organizations in Nigeria and help provide better quality support for Bible translation projects as well as allowing flexibility to respond to specific training needs as they arise.

Support Wycliffe’s translation and literacy efforts.

*pseudonym

A vegetable market

A vegetable market

There are 196 countries in the world and almost 7,000 different languages. Most of us will never have the opportunity to visit even half of those countries and we probably won’t be fluent in more than a handful of languages (if that!) in our lifetimes. But even if we’re tucked away in our own corner of the world, we can all still find ways to immerse ourselves in different cultures. We don’t have to travel halfway across the world in order to experience another culture; we can live cross-culturally in our own backyards!

Want to experience this for yourself? Here are five simple ways that you can leave your comfort zone behind and become more cross-cultural without needing a passport:

  1. Try an authentic ethnic restaurant.

A lot of us are creatures of habit — we drive the same way to and from work, we get pizza from the same place each time we order and we shop in the same grocery stores. But what if we stepped outside of our comfort zones long enough to try something new, like an authentic ethnic restaurant? What if we had the chance to talk to the owners about their cuisine? We could make new friends by showing genuine interest in their culture. (And what better way to be united than through a shared love of food?) You might be scared to intrude, but in our experience, most people love to be asked about their home country, culture and language!

  1. Get to know your neighbors.

We’re often surrounded by people in our neighborhoods from different backgrounds and cultures, so why not get to know them personally? Invite their family over for dinner and ask about their lives. Learn about their culture firsthand while building relationships. Encourage your children to build cross-cultural relationships at school too by sitting next to someone at lunch or inviting someone to play during recess that they don’t usually spend time with.

  1. Learn how to cook with new ingredients.

At our grocery stores, we probably skip the ethnic-specific aisles. Why not try a new recipe using ingredients from another culture? Visit an international market (like an Asian or Indian market) and learn how to cook an ethnic dish. Or, if that seems a bit too intimidating, simply look up a recipe online and purchase the ingredients at your store! You can even share this new recipe with your family members and friends so they can have a new cultural experience too!

  1. Visit another culture’s church.

It may seem intimidating to visit a church that is influenced by a different culture. But since God speaks all our languages and touches the hearts of people from all over the world, a great way to live cross-culturally and also know the God of the universe more intimately is to visit a church where he’s worshipped differently. And who knows, maybe you’ll pick up something that you like and want to use as you worship God!

  1. Support cross-cultural products and arts.

Take an interest in and learn more about the art and history of other cultures. Visit a craft fair or shop where another cultures’ art is on display. Talk with the shop owners and artists about their work. You’ll be surprised at how quickly relationships can form (and how much you’ll learn, too)!

We’re surrounded by different cultures every day, and sometimes it just takes a little effort and thought to step out and try something new. There are numerous other ways you can choose to live cross-culturally without leaving your home, but these five can help you get started.

Being cross-cultural right here at home can also be a first step towards living missionally. Pray for the people you meet as you reach out to other cultures. Ask the Lord for opportunities to talk about him. And above all, be ready to listen and learn. If you take an interest in the people around you, you might be surprised at what doors he will open and what he will show you about his people all around the world!

Backpacks hang outside of classrooms at the Imara campus of Jabali Schools in Nairobi Kenya.

Backpacks hang outside of classrooms at the Imara campus of Jabali Schools in Nairobi Kenya.

By Melissa Paredes

Have you ever asked a question and then instantly wished the words would fly back into your mouth? Yeah, me too. Sometimes we just say the first thing that comes to mind without really processing it, only to regret that we didn’t pause a moment longer to think it through. While I’ve experienced my fair share of regrettable questions, I’ve also been on the receiving end of them. It’s what happens when you’re a missionary kid and people try to understand what your life is like in another country.

Some of my favorites have been: “What was it like to grow up with the Philistines?” (Side note: I grew up on the Philippines, which is nowhere near Philistia.) Or “What was it like living in the Bahamas?” Well, I wouldn’t know, since the Philippines is in Asia, the opposite side of the world from the Bahamas. I’m sure you get my point. There are far too many more anecdotes to share, and some of them would either make you groan in shame or, maybe, actually answer a question that you’ve secretly wondered.

Questions like, “How do missionary kids get an education if their parents are living in the remote jungles of some foreign country?” I’m here to help set the record straight. No matter where a missionary kid lives, they’re receiving an education somehow. Parents want their kids to grow up to be successful and have an impact on the world. And there are actually a lot of different options for schooling, such as:

  1. Homeschool — This is a great way for kids to learn, especially if they either (a) live in a remote village and their parents don’t want to send them to boarding school; or (b) have a mom who wants to invest in her children by teaching them at home. I was homeschooled for many years, and it was great! (And no, I’m not an awkward homeschooled missionary kid, thank you very much). Wonder what this might actually look like? Let the Pehrson family give you a glimpse of what it’s like to raise their kids in a remote village in this video.
  2. Local schools — Some missionary kids go to school in the community they live in, which can be awesome! They get the cultural experience as well as an education, though it is at the country’s pace and not that of their passport country.
  3. Boarding schools — Not all parents want to send their kids to a big city for schooling, but depending on the situation (like parents living in a remote village and kids needing to learn more than their parents are able to teach them), they might get sent to a boarding school.
  4. International schools — Sometimes there’s not a school within the country that can give kids the education they need, especially if they’re planning on attending college in their passport country (like the U.S., Australia, England, etc.). That means a student might get sent to another country to go to school, or might be lucky enough to attend an international school in the same country they live. Take a look at what international school is like through the eyes of Alan and Amanda in this video.

That’s what happened for me — I went to an international school (Faith Academy) that doubled as a boarding school. Thankfully, my family was living in the Philippines, so I neither had to board nor go to school in another country, but received all of the perks of an international school, like having classmates from different countries.

So don’t worry! We missionary kids aren’t just a bunch of hooligans running around barefoot, eating bugs and climbing trees. Chances are we’re doing all that while getting an education (and a pretty great one too, if I do say so myself!).

Interested in teaching missionary kids overseas? Learn more here. And to read more about Melissa’s life as a missionary kid, go here.

It’s easy to think that the only way we can impact missions financially is through donating money. But gifts don’t always have to be monetary. Gifts in Kind is a great way to make a difference through donating non-cash gifts.  Items can include used cell phones, electronics, jewelry, real estate, cars, and even … dental chairs.

Amy Hauschildt grew up in Papua New Guinea, raised by parents who worked with Wycliffe as schoolteachers. In high school, Amy went to a career day and decided to shadow the Wycliffe dentist in his daily activities. She became so inspired by what she saw that she made the decision to become a dentist as well.

And so she did. After college, Amy went to dental school and she’s currently living out her dream career in Arizona. The clinic where she works was downsizing their office and needed to get rid of three dental chairs. Amy picked up the chairs and, rather than sell them, decided to contact Wycliffe to see if they could be of any use through the Gift in Kind program. She talked with a man named Wade who connected with the dental clinic at the Ukarumpa Center in Papua New Guinea. It turns out, the clinic needed three chairs because out of the chairs they already used, one was broken and the other two were worn out.

dental chairs

The donation was perfect. The Papua New Guinea clinic received beautiful chairs, and Amy was able to help out through something that was very familiar and close to her heart. She also decided to donate 1,000 toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes to be sent over with the chairs, and another woman who works for a national dental care company donated a case of dental floss.

Today, the dental chairs have been used so thoroughly and continuously that they need to be repaired! They’re a blessing not only to the missionaries who live there, but also the local people.

Sometimes it’s the items that we give away or sell that can make a surprising impact for God’s kingdom throughout the world. So whether it’s donating money or non-cash gifts, all that we have can be used for God’s glory. Even dental chairs!

Have your own stuff to donate? Visit wycliffe.org/donateyourstuff to learn how you can get involved.

featured photo

Words and Photo by Katie Kuykendall

In a dimly lit church, this young Senegalese man studies his Bible intently by the light of a single window. The members of this congregation speak Creole, Manjak, and the national language – French. Though French is not the language most of them know best, many only have access to French Bibles and glean what they can from the text despite their limited understanding.

One Manjak pastor said, “Sometimes people don’t understand the Bible in French. Sometimes we read it in Creole [in church], and only some understand. But when we read it in Manjak, everybody understands.”

Another Senegalese man said, “God’s Word is something of greatness, and it’s for all.”

As a team translates Scripture into Manjak, it’s already transforming hearts. Watch the story of one man whose life changed as a result of the Gospel in his language.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.02.50 AM

By Melissa Stillman

I’d seen the statistic before — 90 percent of an American’s assets are non-cash. And, throughout my work with Wycliffe’s project marketing team, I’ve had to ask myself: “What does that statistic really mean?” After some research I can tell you, it means “stuff” — mountains of it! I read once that there are 300,000 items in the average American home.

The more I thought about it (and walked around my house counting things), the more it started to make sense. We’ve made a national pastime out of shopping, from malls the size of theme parks to warehouse stores for groceries. Even as kids, we learn that more is better with “collect them all” kid’s meal toys and Christmas wish lists longer than our arms. We love stuff.

And dealing with all this stuff we’ve accumulated can get stressful. A quarter of us can’t park in our two-car garages because they are bursting at the seams (yep, that’s me). And since our closets, attics and basements are also full, nearly 10 percent of us pay to rent a storage unit to house our extra stuff.

It’s estimated that we spend the equivalent of one year of our lives looking for lost items (!), and whole industries are built around helping us organize our stuff. Each January, I buy magazines that share advice on cutting the clutter, but 12 months later (… or maybe three), I’m right back where I started.

THE STORY OF THE GREEDY FARMER

We may think this is a new-to-us, “first world problem,” but in Luke 12:15-21 Jesus tells a story about a farmer in a similar situation. This farmer found himself #blessed by a terrific crop — so big he didn’t have enough room to store it. But instead of sharing the abundance of food, he decided to tear down his existing barn and build a bigger one to store his goodies. As often happens in parables, this didn’t end well for the farmer. He was busy congratulating himself, not knowing he would die that very night.

A BARN FILLED WITH GOD

How can we learn from the farmer’s mistake? It wasn’t the bumper crop that got him in trouble; it was the decision to hoard it. Scripture packs three big life lessons into these seven verses.

  1. Our stuff isn’t really ours.
    It was God who caused the farmer’s crop to flourish and God is still our source of provision today. When we change our perspective to see our stuff as God’s generosity, it makes it easier to understand how we should steward it.

  2. What we do with our stuff matters.
    We aren’t measured by how much we own. In fact, stuff was of very little importance to Jesus during his time on earth. Instead he invites us to give the resources he provided to help build something eternal — his kingdom. We know it’s “more blessed to give than to receive,” but what if we truly understood what it meant to share what we’d been given? To forgo our wants and help supply the needs of others?

  3. Stuff can fill a barn, but not a heart.
    Possessions can’t meet the needs of your heart, but it can sure create a false sense of security, driving a wedge between you and the one true Provider. The Message ends the passage in Luke 12:15-21 this way: “That’s what happens when you fill your barn with self and not with God.” How are you filling your barn?

DONATE YOUR STUFF

A young woman using her cell phone.

If you want to make room in your “barn” by sharing what God has entrusted to you, please consider giving those items to Wycliffe. We love stuff, too, because lots of items valued over $75 can make a difference in the work of Bible translation.

The jewelry you aren’t wearing could help introduce people around the world to the beauty of God’s Word in their language.

The boat you didn’t take out this summer, the RV in storage, the ATV or motorcycle taking up half your garage or the car you were thinking of trading in — giving your vehicle will make a lasting impact for Bibleless people groups.

You stashed old models of your electronic devices in the back of your desk drawer. Dig them out and give them to Wycliffe. Donating your laptop, smartphone or tablet means more funding for urgent translation projects.

Surplus inventory from your business can be donated and either placed in a translation project or sold, with the proceeds going to support the work.

To get started, you can visit www.wycliffe.org/donateyourstuff or call 1-800-992-5433. If you decide to give your stuff, we’d love to hear your story. Please email us at catalog@wycliffe.org.

Brandon Walker

“I like to describe my call to ministry as a leaky faucet,” he said. “That is to say, if you’ve ever had a leaky faucet in your home, you can ignore it for a little while, but eventually it just drives you bonkers.” In the same way, Brandon was able to ignore the feeling that God was calling him to a new adventure in life until he simply couldn’t it anymore.

Brandon had his dream career, working as a fire fighter. He’d started young, it had good pay and hours, and he was content with life. But one day, Brandon came to work and discovered that the thrill was gone; the passion just wasn’t there anymore. It was in that moment that Brandon felt God was making it very clear that he had other plans in store for him.

Like the story of Abraham and Isaac, Brandon felt that God had given him what he wanted most of all, but was now asking him to give it back. That was difficult for Brandon to accept, but he did. He gave up his career as a fire fighter and began attending seminary.

Still, even though he felt he was obeying God, Brandon didn’t know what life after graduation would hold. All he knew was that he was where God asked him to be. Missions was nowhere on Brandon’s radar, until one day near graduation, Wycliffe President and CEO Bob Creson spoke to the student body about Wycliffe’s ministry, missions and values. That sparked Brandon’s interest, so he began to look into what joining Wycliffe could mean for him.

After attending Wycliffe’s Total It Up program, where people get a taste of translation and linguistics for a week, Brandon began to understand God’s plan. “All of the sudden, at long last, I could see how all the puzzle pieces fit together –– why God has wired me the way he has, and why he has given me these passions but not these, or these experiences but not these. I had total clarity, and it all became clear to me.”

Around a month later, Brandon applied to Wycliffe and now he’s looking forward to starting the next chapter of his life as a language program intern in Papua New Guinea. God had answered Brandon’s prayer from years earlier: “Use me. Lord, I want you to use me.”

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