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Last year we hit some exciting milestones—more languages with translation projects started, more people participating in the work, more funds distributed to projects around the world. Listen as Wycliffe USA President Bob Creson shares about God’s goodness and looks toward what God will do in 2015.

By Hannah Weiand

What Version - Reading (Marc Ewell)

It’s a blessing to have many versions of the Bible in our language, but many people want to know which version we use to translate the Bible. We’re happy to tell you!

Actually, we don’t translate from an English translation, because that would be like making a copy of a copy! In order to achieve clear and accurate translations, we train our translators to look to the original biblical Hebrew and Greek texts. They also have to carefully study the language they are translating into in order to understand how it works and how people who speak that language think and communicate.

A good translator does far more than simply exchange Hebrew and Greek words for words in the new language. Their job is to understand the original meaning and discover the best way to communicate that in the new language so people can clearly understand what the Bible is saying, just as if their mother was talking to them. You can read more about that in our Wycliffe 101 post, “Why Not Just Teach People English?”

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

Undaunted

Are you passionate about making Jesus’ name known among the nations? Come get inspired by speakers like David Platt and John Piper during a free simulcast on February 27 at 7 p.m. EST, followed by passionate discussion of the Bible!

Register today

By Forrest Zander

Forrest Zander joined SIL International in 1957. He has served in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and he is presently working remotely for Wycliffe USA.  His late wife, Margaret, started work with SIL in 1954. Margaret and Forrest shared a passion for the ministry of Bible translation and were a team up until her passing in 2013. This is Forrest’s story of how God answered his prayers for comfort in a way he never imagined during the difficult time of losing his wife.

During those dark, dismal, difficult days following the passing of my beloved Margaret, I prayed to the Lord, reminding him that in dark and difficult events, he had shown himself faithful to turn a dark situation into one of light, hope and blessing.

I asked him to do that for me again.

After the memorial service, my daughter and her family invited me to visit them in Wisconsin. During my visit, my grandson, Colbey, asked, “Papa, now that Grandma Margaret is with Jesus, are you going to get married?”

Later, I pondered his question and decided he needed an answer. I told Colbey that if I were to remarry, I would first look for a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart, soul, strength and mind and loves her neighbor as herself.  Next, I hoped that she would be attractive and beautiful. And lastly, I would pray that she would join me in ministry and travel with me — that she would fill that empty seat beside me. I shared this with Colbey and asked him to join me in praying for someone like this. I also asked my children how they would feel if I remarried. All three were supportive and told me they trusted my judgment and wanted me to be happy.

Answered Prayer 1

The Lord directed my thoughts to Wanda Jean Reid. Her husband was our pastor over twenty years ago. Two years ago, her beloved husband Rich passed away after a difficult bout with cancer.

I decided to call Wanda. She agreed to have dinner, and I told her I would like to make it a very special evening, to dress up and go to an upscale restaurant. I brought a corsage and picked her up at her home. We had a delightful time communicating over a delicious dinner. On the way back, I showed her the neighborhood where I grew up.

I had planned to visit Wisconsin for a few days, and I asked Wanda if she would like to travel with me. She accepted.

We spent four wonderful days at the lake — praying, sharing Scripture and devotional thoughts, enjoying the beautiful scenery and walking the wooded trails. As we talked about our values, we found agreement in every area as the Lord began knitting our hearts together. By the end of the four days, we knew this relationship was from the Lord.

A local church had invited me to teach at a special children’s event the following Thursday. Wanda agreed to go with me. The staff had made a video of me telling pilot stories from South America and wanted the kids to meet the character in the video and see how missionaries can serve in a variety of roles.

After the event, encouraged with how our relationship was blossoming, I got down on my knees, looked into Wanda’s beautiful blue eyes, and proposed.

Oh, joy! Wanda said, “Yes.”

We had a small, intimate family wedding. After the ceremony, the group of us celebrated at the same restaurant where we had our first date.

Answered Prayer 2

This October 13 marked the first anniversary of our marriage. Both of us had such wonderful first marriages, and it is a joy to once again be deeply in love and enjoying ministry as a team. Wanda has become the person for whom I prayed. She loves the Lord with her whole heart, is really beautiful, and has become a wonderful ministry partner and asset in our work with Wycliffe. It is a joy to visit ministry partners together and to share in churches, “Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!  What joy!” (Psalm 126:3, NLT).

Bible translation is in Leah’s blood. It started with her grandparents, long-time translators in Southeast Asia. And it continued with her parents, faithful administrators and translators in Kenya, Thailand, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands.

Learning the Value - Family 2

Then it came time for Leah to decide what to do. She began studying at Houghton College, knowing that she wanted to work in Bible translation, but she was unsure of how or where.

Leah turned to internships with Wycliffe and SIL (one of Wycliffe’s primary partners) to help her figure it out.

Her first internship took her to Dallas, where she served the Language and Culture Archives department, helping former linguists archive their untapped resources.

“It was good to get perspective on what happens there,” Leah recalls. “The resources we’re producing need to be made accessible, (but I learned that) archives is not my life’s calling.”

Next Leah signed up for an internship that took her to Northeast Thailand, where she worked in Scripture engagement, facilitated workshops by assisting local Rit people in developing curriculum.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“(There) I got to contribute to the literacy of the Rit people, lending skills that were in demand,” Leah recounted. “It was great.”

But as the internship came to an end, Leah wasn’t ready to finish her linguistics work. She was finally sure of what she wanted to do in Bible translation — linguistics in Southeast Asia, where her family has worked for generations.

“I’m excited to take an interest in peoples’ language in order to communicate love and value to them — primarily, to see communities transformed by the work we do,” she said.

Now, Leah is headed back to a country where she grew up, and the internship process was critical to finding her own place in missions.

“(The internships) kind of exemplified two different sides of what Wycliffe and SIL do,” Leah said. “There’s a diversity of work that we do and it was good to see a couple different perspectives (of that).”

Now more than ever, Leah feels connected to a purpose bigger than herself — and, besides her family, she has her internships to thank for that.

“I want to see the message of the gospel transform society, change the world.”

Click here to learn more about some wonderful similar opportunities this summer with some upcoming deadlines.

Learning the Value - Leah

Will the Job Be Done - Translators (Elyse Patten)

If you’ve been following Wycliffe’s work for a while now, you’re probably familiar with our mission to see a Bible translation program in progress in every language still needing one by 2025. As that date rapidly approaches, some people have asked, “Once you reach that goal, will your work be done?” Definitely not!

You see, our ultimate goal is for everyone on earth to have access to God’s Word in the languages they understand best. That means we’ll have to finish every Bible translation we start. And even after every translation is complete, many will need to be revised. Because of the way languages change over time, Bible translation will continue to be a need until the day Christ returns!

So while starting a Bible translation for every language that needs one by 2025 is a critical goal, it’s definitely not the end goal.

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

Alan and Amanda Halbrooks joined Wycliffe to bring together two of their greatest passions: teaching children and serving in missions overseas. Since then, they’ve seen firsthand how their work not only impacts the lives of their students, but also the Bible translation projects happening all around them.

 

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