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By Melissa Paredes

 

Amanda and Spring* have been sharing the Gospel with their unbelieving family members using portions of Scripture translated in their own language. And they’re finding that when God’s Word is shared in the heart language, people respond better.

One day, the two women went to visit Amanda’s aunt, who is terminally ill. Although Amanda had tried to share the Gospel with her aunt before, she wanted to try again. In the past, Amanda felt like there was a barrier preventing her from truly communicating to her aunt. She thought that it might have been because of the opposition and influence of another aunt who lives nearby and is a shaman in her community. But Amanda had been praying, and friends had also prayed that God would use her and Spring, as a testimony to Amanda’s aunt.

a village in the mountains of south China

So Amanda went and shared portions of her draft translation about the story of creation. During their visit, the women shared who God is and what it means to follow Him. And this time, something hit home.

Amanda’s aunt excitedly told them she wanted to believe and prayed with them, right then! The power of the Gospel had finally resonated within her soul, and the barriers around her heart broke down. When Amanda left, she gave her aunt an MP3 player with the draft version of the book of Mark on it, as well as some songs in the local language, so that she could continue to learn more about God.

Shortly after the visit, Amanda’s aunt’s health began to get worse, and she passed away soon afterwards. But Amanda and her friends rejoice that she was able to respond to the message of the Gospel while she was still able!

Spring has also been able to witness to her family. While her mother has believed for many years, her father has never wanted Spring to share with him. But during one recent visit, where she and Amanda went together, he finally agreed to listen to them.

After they shared the Good News of the Gospel in his own language, Spring’s father told them that he wanted to believe. At first, Amanda and Spring thought that he was just being polite. So they asked if he wanted to take more time to consider such an important decision. He empathically replied, “No! I understand what you have said and I want to believe now!”

God is doing great things among people who are able to hear the Gospel in their own language. Hearts are changed and lives are redirected as the seed of God’s Word takes root. Amanda is continuing to make great progress in drafting portions of the Bible, and the translation team is helping her begin community testing of her drafts. Pray for Amanda, Spring, and others who are working to bring the Bible to their friends, family, and community in the language they understand best.

*Pseudonyms

By Richard Gretsky

Badi Vila is one of the Bible translators for the Tairuma people. Recently, in her home area of Kerema, Papua New Guinea, land has become a hot commodity. Companies from all over the world have been coming into the country to buy up and lease parcels of it, from individuals and from the government.

One day Badi’s landlord forced her off her property, claiming she owed more money than she would be able to come up with. Then he made Badi return and tear down her house so that he could sell the land.

From the Ground Up, Again - Badi Vila

Later that year, the same thing happened to the local translation headquarters. And its loss was a major blow to Bible translation in the area.

Yet, despite the setback, Badi Vila and her translation team pressed on, and the benefits of their dedication to the work began to outweigh the losses they’d seen.

On one occasion, Badi Vila and her translation helper, Gabriel, traveled to the town of Ukarumpa to attend a translation training course. While there, they told about their recent trip to Badi’s home church, where they had read portions of the Scripture (Genesis 22:1–19) they had translated into Tairuma.

After the service, a church elder stood to greet them. He then began explaining why an elderly man who he’d been sitting next to had been crying. This elderly man had been so touched when he heard the Bible read in Tairuma that he was at a loss for words. Only tears would do.

As Badi Vila recalled the event, she said, “for so long, we the Tairuma people have been using the Taoripi and the Orokolo Bibles and hymnbooks in church. So for us to finally read something in Tairuma was a great breakthrough…[that elderly man] was rejoicing with us.” She later gave a copy to her mother—who started crying as well.

Although, the translation team has had to deal with losing their building and numerous other trials, seeing people who’ve been greatly affected by God’s Word makes everything they’ve had to face worth it. Now, Badi Vila and her team will not stop until they’ve translated all the Bible into Tairuma—for they know the value of having Scripture in one’s own language is not something that can be bought or sold, or even torn down. Only built up.

By Katie Kuykendall

 

“I think one of the most frightening days of my life was the day that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was there; no, not just in Memphis; I was at the assassination.”

Bishop J. Delano Ellis, II, solemnly recalls the historic event. He was pastoring a small church in Memphis at the time, and drove a taxi cab to help make ends meet. Walter Bailey, owner of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was staying, called him to drive Dr. King, Jesse Jackson, and Ralph Abernathy to dinner in his cab.

“I was sitting in the cab, waiting, and Jesse Jackson had come downstairs to tell me, ‘Hey man, he’s coming right out! Just wait one minute; don’t go nowhere,’” Bishop Ellis said. “As I went to get out of the cab, I heard this loud ‘pop,’ which I thought was a car behind me backfiring. It wasn’t.”

Chaos ensued. “I was knocked to the ground by the Memphis Police Department,” he said. “I was beaten with billy clubs. I asked, ‘Why are you beating me?’”

The officer broke Bishop Ellis’s glasses and told him to get out of the parking lot.

“Is that your cab?” the officer asked. Bishop Ellis replied, “Yes,” and the officer hit him in the mouth.

“Say, ‘Yes, sir,’” he said.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. —Romans 12:18 (NLT)

Today, nearly forty-six years after that grievous day, Bishop Ellis is the founding general overseer of the Pentecostal Churches of Christ, a founding father of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops, and senior pastor of the Pentecostal Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio. While visiting at Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, Bishop Ellis issued a challenge to the Church. In the face of discrimination, persecution, and other cultural trends that affect us deeply, what will your response be?

Ellis (1)

“Living the doctrine of love … living it out in the middle of adversity and persecution, unfair treatment … you have a big job,” he said. “How do we do that? It’s not easy to live out the love doctrine. Living the message of Christ is virtually impossible for us, but it’s possible for Christ.”

For a long time after the assassination, Bishop Ellis struggled to recover mentally and emotionally from the trauma. It started with profound fear, which gave way to anger, and then ultimately determination.

“[The persecution] didn’t affect my relationship with God negatively,” he said. “It empowered me. You learn in those circumstances to credit some things to trial. Where wickedness abounds, grace much more abounds. Trouble informs faith. Trouble teaches you who God really is.

“Lord, I’m in Your hands,” he prayed. “Your will be done, whatever that will is. Get glory!”

As a pastor, Bishop Ellis responded to persecution by becoming “an advocate for excellence.” He devoted himself to teaching his congregation to combat oppression with dignity, information, prayer, and the power of Scripture.

“It’s my lifeline,” he said about the Scriptures. “It’s all I live by, and it’s all I live for. And I live to walk up on somebody and introduce it to them. I’ve got to read it every day. It has new meaning, new life every time I go back to it.”

Wycliffe was honored to present at the Joint College of Bishops 2014 Congress in Cleveland, Ohio recently. Click here  to read about it. It has been our pleasure to enjoy Bishop Ellis’s wisdom and friendship, and we look forward to continued relationship with him and the Joint College of Bishops.

 

Wycliffe 101In the early 1900s, a young man named William Cameron Townsend (known by friends as “Cam”) was concerned that many people didn’t have the Bible in a language they could understand.  So in 1934 he started a small linguistics school to train people for Bible translation.

Cam named the school “Camp Wycliffe”—a tribute to John Wycliffe, who did the first Bible translation in English. By 1942, this tiny school grew into two partner organizations—Wycliffe Bible Translations and the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).

Today, Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL, and many other organizations around the world are working together on more than 1,500 translation projects. More than 500 languages now have the entire Bible and almost 1,300 have the New Testament. About 1,900 languages are still waiting for a Bible translation to start.

To learn more about Cameron Townsend and the start of Wycliffe, read A Man with a Vision.

 

By Catherine Rivard

 

“Ready? Go!”

Chad pressed the record button as Menseng, an Ura speaker, glanced once more at his script and began reading. Outside the booth, Chad watched the computer waveform of Mengseng’s voice while a second screen flashed the accompanying crucifixion scenes from the Luke Video. Boas, the Ura voice coach, along with half a dozen others, crowded close.

“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with [Jesus] to be executed,” Menseng read from Luke 23 in Ura. “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him.”

The room was silent. Not a man moved, each choking back tears as they watched a bloodied Jesus hang on a cross and whisper to them in Ura, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Watching Jesus captivated them.

For nearly ten days, the recording team had gathered in Gualim village to dub the audio for the Luke Video series in the Ura language. They’d had just three weeks to create fifteen episodes, a summation of the work, and an audio-only version. And they wondered if they’d be able to complete it all.

But it was soon obvious their worries were unfounded. Actors arrived excited and well-prepared, technicians kept the technical difficulties to a minimum, and the language experts worked with precision. The result was a record-setting pace!

“Is this [speed] normal?” Chad asked, worried. “Are we doing something wrong?”

“No!” the others laughed incredulously. “This is just a miraculously good recording session!”

Energized by their progress, the team spent the extra days refining the material until it was ready to show to the community—much earlier than normal! After the showing, one man approached Chad, wringing his hands enthusiastically. “I’m very happy about this video!” he said. “I’m very pleased with the work that has gone into it, and it is a good film!”

With God’s help and the diligent work of the translation team, the Ura people are now able to hear His truth in their own language!
Click here  if you’re interested in helping others hear the Easter story in their language!

 

By Bob Creson

 

“Don’t shove 1951 down their throats!”

This was Bishop J. Delano Ellis’ way of asking the bishops in attendance at the Joint College of Bishops to treat kindly the younger members of their congregations who may have new ideas. He said, “I was told dancing wasn’t biblical! Even Chapstick was suspect!”

He went on to say, “You think everybody’s dead who knows your sins … they may be, but they told me!”  This was his humorous way of letting each of us know that we are to approach our lives as believers with humility, not thinking we’re better than anyone else.

“The lines are blurring in our lives between what is holy and unholy,” Bishop Ellis said. He urged us to live holy lives, and to remember the things that never change:

  • God is holy.
  • God is without competition
  • He has no assistants.
  • He has made and sustains everything.
  • Jesus is the visible manifestation of the one God.
  • Jesus was born of a virgin.
  • He was the only sacrifice for our sins.
  • We are to live a holy and separated life.

Encouraging words from a pastor to pastors.

Bishop Ellis extended Wycliffe a great privilege by dedicating a portion of his address at the 2014 Joint College of Bishops to us and allowing us a prime-time presentation. Each year a special ministry is invited, but never has the ministry been given this much profile at the Joint College. We were there, at Bishop Ellis’ invitation, to politely suggest that we could add value to their own missions efforts because reaching unreached people should include Bible translation.

We opened with this video presentation that included a statement from Bishop Claude Alexander, a Wycliffe USA board member who also serves on the executive committee, giving leadership to the Joint College. If you have five minutes, I would urge you to take a look at our video! It will give you a snapshot of what we would love to be able to offer to these brothers and sisters.

JCOB

Cameroon Cessna

Photo Credit: Rodney Ballard

A pre-flight check was in order for this Cessna 206 airplane, which—soon after— delivered 672 New Testaments to a people group in remote Cameroon.

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