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liffe Africa

Words and photo by Heather Pubols

Yonathan Zeamanuel explains to the Guji-Oromo team how to use Proclaimers* in listening group Bible studies. Yonathan and his wife, Tizita Zenebe (sitting to the right of him), are Wycliffe Africa members who are working to promote the use of Scriptures in the minority languages of Ethiopia.

*Faith Comes By Hearing works with language communities to produce dramatized audio Scriptures in local languages. These are played using a device called a Proclaimer. “Listening groups” are small groups that use the proclaimer to study the Bible together.

By Hannah Weiand

Hannah is a Wycliffe USA intern, attending Oral Roberts University. She will graduate with a degree in writing in May 2015.

a woman reads her Bible to her friend

Photo credit: Marc Ewell

Here at Wycliffe Bible Translators, we believe everyone needs the Bible in a language they can clearly understand. Well-meaning people sometimes ask, “Why not just teach people English?” Well, that would be like asking a native English speaker, “Why not just teach you Latin?”

It sounds funny put that way, but before the late 14th century, when John Wycliffe and others translated the Bible into English for the first time from Latin, that’s exactly what English speakers had to do if they wanted to read the Bible.

John Wycliffe believed the common person should be able to read and understand the Bible in their own language. But at that time in history, many people thought English was a vulgar language, unfit for God and his holy Word. So when Wycliffe and others translated the Bible, many church leaders were angry. Years after John Wycliffe died, they were still so angry that they dug up his bones to burn and destroy them. And they took one of his followers, John Huss, and burned him at the stake for telling people that everyone should be able to read the Bible in their own language.

Today, thanks to the sacrifices of John Wycliffe, John Huss and others, we can read the Bible in our own language. And we believe other language groups around the world should be able to have that opportunity too.

When Wycliffe Bible Translator’s founder, Cameron Townsend, went to Guatemala to sell Spanish Bibles in 1917 — before he ever started thinking about Bible translation — a number of people asked him why God didn’t speak their language. Cam was troubled to learn that they couldn’t clearly understand the Bible in Spanish. Their need inspired him translate the New Testament into Cakchiquel, and ultimately, to found Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Rose Henry working on checking the Nukuoro Bible translation.

Photo credit: Elyse Patten

That’s why we think Bible translation is so important — because we want people to fully understand what God is saying. When people learn a new language, they usually don’t understand it as well as their first language, so it’s difficult to fully grasp the power and the meaning of the Bible in that language.

Bible translation is important because of the way it transforms people’s lives when they can clearly understand God’s Word. It’s not just about being able to read the Bible – it’s about being able to connect with what it says. Having the Bible in their own language allows people from around the world to make that connection.

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

“We would like to find the [Dâw] tribe. Where are these [Dâw]?” missionary Valtier Martins said when he first arrived in the Amazonas town of São Gabriel, Brazil.

He was answered with a laugh.

“Ok, the first person you find there in the street, fallen down, drunk—that’s a [Dâw],” was the reply.

Valtier finally located the Dâw and began living among them, teaching God’s Word. Several of them were wary of the foreigner. They had long been exploited by the plantation owners they worked for, and they assumed the missionary would do the same.

But this outsider was different. He and nearly a dozen others taught them God’s Word over the course of many years.

“Everything began getting better little by little because we were listening to the Word of God,” deacon Célio Dâw said. “And God kept giving us more and more strength.”

Click here to watch a video in which Célio and three other Dâw men tell their stories of how God spoke to them, drawing them out of despair and drunkenness to spiritual leadership. Today, the Dâw have grown from sixty to one hundred and twenty people who are respected in their community.

Hope

 

 

We often underestimate the power of prayer to change the world around us. But as the examples in this video show, our prayers can help change people’s lives in significant ways. And just by praying, you can help people get a Bible translation in their language.

Visit wycliffe.org/prayer to learn how you can start impacting lives through prayer today!

cover

 

We’d like to give you a sneak peek of the Wycliffe calendar — check out these beautiful scenes and imagine yourself there. Each month has a different image and verse specifically chosen to help you visualize the beauty and truths of the Bible.

 

januaryoctober

 

For over 30 years Wycliffe USA has created a calendar for the upcoming year, and for the last six years we’ve created a special theme for the calendar. This year’s calendar gives a glimpse of cultures and communities around the world. The theme is best summarized in the closing paragraph of our intro: “Our God is the God of all cultures and communities, and he is calling each of us to himself. And just as he promises, we will one day join together singing his praises for all eternity.”

This is a great way to be reminded of God’s heart for his people, and you can easily share this reminder with your friends and family. Purchase yours today!

By Melissa Paredes

Have you ever wondered if what you’re doing with your life is making an impact? If what you’ve chosen as a career will last longer than just a couple years, giving you the chance to make a mark on the world? We all have a desire to leave a legacy, to make a difference in this world. And sometimes we get a glimpse of that impact.

A Legacy 25 Years in the Making3That’s how it was for Dave Schutt, a teacher at Faith Academy in Manila, Philippines. On January 10, 2014, students, alumni and faculty put together a surprise event to commemorate the 25 years that Dave dedicated to countless students. And what a surprise it was!

In the months leading up to the event, Faith Academy faculty had created a hidden Facebook group, requesting that former colleagues, alumni and current students share something about Dave — a favorite memory, an old picture or a thank-you expressing how their life has been directly impacted by his commitment to teaching.

Dave’s legacy at Faith Academy goes all the way back to 1989, when he and his wife, Tammy, moved to the Philippines. That August he began teaching, and he has continued to do so ever since then. A Legacy 25 Years in the MakingHe’s taught multiple classes throughout the years, depending on what has been needed — Algebra I and II, pre-Calculus, AP Calculus, physical education and weights. He’s also coached wrestling, boys’ volleyball, track and field, boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball.

I myself was privileged to have Dave as a teacher for several classes throughout high school. In fact, he’s probably the only reason my algebra classes were bearable! Somehow he made math fun, and I could see that he genuinely cared for us — both as a class and as individuals.

That genuine care was clearly noted by many students and faculty throughout the years, as the overwhelming response to Dave’s 25 year celebration attested. The impact he’s had on so many people was evident by the countless comments and pictures that were shared.

A Legacy 25 Years in the Making2But what’s kept him teaching for so many years? “God has been faithful,” Dave shared. “And Faith [Academy] is such a great school for us and our kids!”

“I have no regrets!” Dave said about his tenure at the school. “It’s a great ministry and Wycliffe and SIL have also been a great support to me as I teach and support their children.”

Teaching is a wonderful way to touch many lives — perhaps countless more than we could ever even begin to imagine. And for Dave Schutt, it’s been a legacy 25 years in the making.

Learn more about how you can touch lives and make an impact by serving with Wycliffe through teaching.

By Melissa Paredes

The Advocating ChiefJohn Sethy is a husband, a father, and the chief of his small village of Nivenue on the island of Epi in Vanuatu. Those responsibilities all keep him busy, but recently he took on a whole new responsibility—becoming the advocate for the Bible translation in his own heart language of Lewo.

It took several years for John to reach this point of helping his people receive God’s Word in the language they understand best. In 2010, members of the Vanuatu Building for Tomorrow group (VBT) and the SIL* team came to John’s home village to hold a literacy workshop and record some of the Lewo New Testament. They came in response to a request from Kapiapo, one of the village’s church elders and long-time lead translator for the Lewo project. Kapiapo wanted his people to become more aware of the translation work in their language—work that had been ongoing for the last twenty years.

While in the area, the team members attended a Sunday church service. During the service, John stood up and read fluently from 1 John in the Lewo language. Everyone was impressed with John’s abilities, his humble attitude, his cleverness, and his passion for God’s Word.

Three years passed. VBT and SIL planned to host a workshop that would help equip people across Vanuatu to read, understand, and teach the Scripture. As they thought of potential participants, John was one of the first people who came to mind.

John would be difficult to get in touch with, because his village is in a hollow, and contacting him by mobile phone would be a challenge. But the team decided to try, so they called another man from John’s village to see if he could help them get in touch with John.

Amazingly, John was standing right next to the man when the team called. He accepted their offer with excitement.The Advocating Chief 3

With great enthusiasm, John attended the workshop and absorbed as much as he could during his time there. He was particularly enthralled by the study of God’s Word through learning more about the historical and cultural context of the Scriptures, and ways to deepen his understanding of it. With this approach, he’d be able to help learn about the true meaning of the Scriptures and could then help teach his people about what the Bible was saying.

John returned to his village, excited to test out his new skills with members of his community. People really enjoyed the new insight he could provide. John shared, “I started [using my knowledge] with my family and that was good. But I am a chief, and I see that these skills in working through problems directly apply to my work. … I can help people to analyze the problems now as I ask them questions. It makes my job much easier!”

Since the first workshop, John has attended several more. He’s also taken over the Lewo translation project with another man. Elder Kapiapo chose John as his replacement on the project team when he learned that he had liver cancer. He passed away in 2013—the same year the team first asked John to attend their workshops. But John has faithfully taken up the torch in Kapiapo’s place, helping to bring the Scriptures to the Lewo people.

John is continuing to learn more about God’s Word and how it can impact both his life and the lives of people in his village. “I see that people are mixing belief and traditional thinking, but I have seen through this course that everything depends on belief in Christ,” John said.

???????????????????????????????It’s that belief that is helping him deepen his knowledge of God’s Word. The Lewo New Testament is still waiting to be published, so pray that it would be printed quickly and distributed among the people. John isn’t just the chief of his village; he’s also working to teach and explain the truths found in Scripture, and to help his people learn how to really use it for themselves.

*One of Wycliffe’s primary partners

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