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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.

By Chad Owens with Richard Gretsky

Upon arriving in Papua New Guinea (PNG), one of the things I first noticed was that most of the children weren’t smiling. I asked someone about it and learned that the children learn to not smile at a young age. Although they have hard lives, I didn’t find out exactly why smiling isn’t prevalent.

Since I had worked in children’s ministries in the US for years before moving to PNG, I went to work trying to make those kids laugh. I tried everything I could to engage with them so they’d laugh, giggle, whatever. I wanted them to hear me and be challenged to be more joyful.

Smiling's My Favorite - Kids Dressed Up

And while I have had some major successes in bringing smiles to children’s faces (none better than when we heard thunderous laughter erupt from a crowd of a seven hundred kids at a puppet show we performed to tell the story of the Gospel), I have also learned a crucial lesson.

In the people group I have lived with, it’s not always considered culturally polite to smile.

Why? I’m not exactly sure, but that’s not as important as the truth that things are just different here. If someone else came to visit, it would likely be the same for them: seeing a smile is rare, furrowed brows are common, and staring is utterly normal.

But, remember, all of that may not mean to them what it means to you. They don’t see those things as impolite. They’re not necessarily done in anger or lack of joy—in fact, in some tribes, showing teeth while smiling is considered an act of aggression.

Smiling's My Favorite - Kid Dressed for PNG Independence CelebrationTake that into consideration the next time you notice the differences between your culture and the culture of another group of people. They likely don’t have a similar perspective as you do. Actually, you can bet that being the case…but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. When we choose to learn from one another, we can grow and become stronger and happier—though, depending on where you’re located, that happiness may or may not be accompanied with a smile.

by Bob Creson

Guido is a ten-year-old Matsés boy from the Peruvian rainforest who is visiting the big city of Lima for the first time. After a long and arduous trip—three days in a small boat, seven days in a larger riverboat, and an hour and a half by plane—he is standing before a roomful of Wycliffe USA Board members and executive leaders that includes my wife, Dallas, and me.

Dressed in crisp new blue jeans and shiny white tennis shoes, he takes the mic and begins to recite from memory, and without hesitation, passages from Matthew and Luke in his mother tongue. This is his language; these are God’s words for him, and he is confident in sharing them. Verse after verse after verse, he goes on and on. The group listening is awestruck! When asked where he learned to do this, he says he learned it from his parents and his grandfather, who are all believers. Guido is a third generation Christian, and these words from the Bible transformed his family and his community.

The foundation for this transformation was laid in 1969 when translators Harriet Fields and Hattie Kneeland first made contact with the Matsés. Described as “fierce,” they lived deep in the Amazon rainforest. Guido’s grandfather was watching from the edge of the forest the night Harriet encountered the two Matsés who stepped into the clearing to meet her. He watched as they hesitantly walked toward Harriet, bridging the huge gap between their worlds.

Harriet and Hattie moved into the Matsés community and, amongst other things, were the incarnational representation of the words they started translating. Lives began to change. Guido’s grandfather became a health promoter. Others left raiding, killing, and kidnapping to become Bible translators, teachers, dentists, and pastors.

When the Book of Ephesians was printed, Scripture Use promoters Glenn and Linda Smith, along with their children, were living in the community. Glenn remembered some Buck knives used for hunting that had been sent to the village by mistake. They’d been lying at the bottom of a barrel for two years, and Glenn believes God gave him an idea. He told the people, “I’ll give a hunting knife to anyone who memorizes the whole book of Ephesians.”

Bible memorization quickly became a passion for the Matsés—with or without prizes. Children recited chapters to their parents at bedtime. Wives recited to their husbands, and husbands to wives. Guido’s other grandfather (his mother’s father) memorized fourteen New Testament books, including Romans. People quickly discovered that getting close to God’s Word affected their lives. Glenn says, “It changed all of us.”

Matses

As Guido so powerfully demonstrated, the Matsés are still memorizing Scripture, and some have literally worn out their Bibles. That evening in Lima, Guido’s father showed us his tattered Bible. “I need a new one,” he said, “but there aren’t any more.” Matsés translators are eager to continue working long-distance with Hattie to finish revising the New Testament so that it can be printed soon along with the Old Testament portions that are completed. Please pray for them as they deal with the challenges of long-distance collaboration.

This story of the impact of Scripture on the Matsés is just one of many we heard in Lima. Since 1946 the vision of Cameron Townsend—every man, woman and child has the right to hear the Scriptures in a language and form they relate to best—has left its mark on the previously unreached peoples of Peru. Working in partnership with mother-tongue speakers all over the country, cross-cultural workers from Wycliffe USA continue promoting this vision and are now working alongside Peruvians who are leading Peruvian organizations doing Scripture translation and engagement projects.

Most of us have not worked in Peru, but we, too, are the inheritors of this great vision. It’s an injustice for people not to have access to this living and eternal Word. Thank you for your part, wherever you are and whatever your assignment, and your contribution to the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation ever witnessed by the Church.

By Melissa Paredes

Easter is an exciting time of year. New life is everywhere, seen in the budding of flowers and growth all around us. The promise of warm weather and summer days begins to stir within us, and the sleep of winter falls from our eyes.

But there is a bigger promise that is celebrated at Easter—that because Jesus Christ rose from the grave, death has no victory and no sting.  Each spring we are reminded that in Christ, we are redeemed.

This is not just a nice story to tell year after year; it’s the truth, found in God’s Word; and we want kids to understand that at an early age.

This year as you prepare for Easter, take your kids on a journey through the story of Christ’s death and resurrection using this free curriculum resource. They’ll read the biblical account and have an opportunity to ask questions, as well as make a delicious snack that helps portray the empty tomb.

Download Jesus is Alive! today!

Flowers on the side of the road.

By Matt Petersen

After twenty-six years helping to complete the Wanca Quechua New Testament in Peru, Dr. Rick Floyd and his wife, Melanie, headed back home to the United States so Rick could begin teaching linguistics at Biola University. Meanwhile, the Wanca team that had worked so hard on the translation was now ready to tackle the Old Testament!

Although they had lots of valuable experience under their belts, none of the Wanca team members possessed the linguistic training and theological expertise that Rick brought to the table. So with him far away in La Mirada, California, they needed a way to connect long-distance so he could help answer the more difficult questions and check their work for accuracy.

Skype was just the ticket.

Rick Floyd story photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many translation consulants now use Skype to stay connected to translation teams in other countries, but Rick may be the first to use this as a classroom teaching opportunity. He makes a point of scheduling his weekly consulting meetings with the Wanca team during class time, so his college students can apply what they’re studying to real-life situations.

During these sessions, Rick and the students review the Wanca team’s latest work, identifying any spots that seem problematic and brainstorming solutions.

“What would you do?” Rick asks the students. “How would you solve this?”

The answers are often creative and sometimes unexpected.

Rick says his class loves the real-world interaction, and four of his former students continue to attend these sessions.

It’s an exciting opportunity for everyone involved. The translators come away with great solutions to their challenges, Rick gets new energy from the class, and the students are now able to participate in a process that was once only theoretical. Everybody wins, and Bible translation moves forward. Now that’s a solution everyone can appreciate!

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