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FollowingGodsMarkers

For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. —John 6:38 (NLT)

In Alaska’s frozen north lands, there are no natural landmarks like mountains or streams, so it’s easy for people to get lost and freeze to death in a snowstorm. To help mark the trails, they build tall tripods and attach a piece of reflective tape to the top of each one. Even at night, light reflects from that tape, marking the way.

One language in this area has a word that means to “follow” or “obey.” People follow these trail markers, “obeying” them when they can’t see the trail ahead.

When the Bible translators in this language came to John 6:38, where Jesus says that he came “down from heaven to do the will of God,” they realized they didn’t have a good word for “do.” So instead they used the word for “follow” or “obey.” The verse reads something like this: “For I have come down from heaven to follow, or obey the will of God who sent me; not to follow, or obey my own will.”

As both fully God and fully man, did Christ know ahead of time every detail the Father had planned for his life here on earth, or did he have to obey one step at a time? The Bible isn’t clear on this point. But one thing is clear — our Father does ask us to trust and obey him even when we can’t see the way ahead, just as Alaskans trust and obey trail markers in a snowstorm.

How are you obeying God’s markers in your life even when you can’t see the way ahead?

winter

Photo and words by Craig Combs, communication consultant, Wycliffe Global Alliance

Winter is displaying a fresh face of new-fallen snow here in southwestern Oregon, U.S.A., along the banks of the scenic North Umpqua River. Living here in remote Oregon, I am geographically distant from most people and activities associated with Bible translation. But the Internet allows a kind of connectedness to God’s global mission that would have been impossible just a few years ago.

I have the privilege of working virtually with colleagues from many nations, to help communicate the things God is doing to bring His Word into the hearts of people in their own language — for the encouragement of his Church and the revelation of his glory — glory that images like this can only provide a hint of.

Highlands Landscape

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. —Mark 10:45 (NLT)

Bible translator Neil Anderson and six Folopa men were working hard translating the Gospel of Mark in the Folopa language. But when they came to Mark 10:45, where it says that the Son of Man came to “give his life as a ransom,” they hit a roadblock. How could they translate “ransom”?

Neil explained to the men that a ransom is a price that must be paid before a captive, whose life hung in the balance, can go free. As he explained, Neil could see they understood.

“We need to ransom people all the time,” one of the Folopa men said. “When a man is felling a tree and it falls the wrong way and kills someone, the clansmen of the dead person demand payment. If the relatives of the offender’s clansmen don’t pay, the relatives of the dead person demand the life of the offender. To save his life, we make an exchange. Pigs, shell money and other things of value are given to the relatives in exchange for the life of the offender.”

Bursting with excitement, Neil used their phrase to help him translate Mark 10:45 into Folopa. When he was done, he read it aloud. Translated back into English, the finished verse read, Jesus came to affect an exchange whereby He took the punishment of the evil deeds of many people. He came so that many people could go free and He died.

When they heard these words, the men were deeply moved.

“We give a lot to make an exchange for a wrong,” one man said. “But we have never given a person for the exchange price. Jesus did a great work for us.”

Isn’t it staggering to know that Christ gave his life in exchange for yours?

Last week staff of InterVarsity Campus Ministry and other national ministry leaders honored Dr. Sam Barkat, Wycliffe’s chief organizational development officer, for his role and legacy in making Intervarsity a successful multiethnic ministry. The ceremony was part of InterVarsity’s Multiethnic Staff Conference (MESC15.)

Sam Barkat1

Dr. Sam Barkat spoke during a time honoring his legacy and contributions to Intervarsity’s multiethnic ministry. He also called several staff members of various ethnicities on stage to address them.

Sam was appointed InterVarsity’s first vice president of its Multiethnic Ministries department in 1986. He served under former InterVarsity President Steve Hayner, who passed away in January and who was also honored at the conference. Together Steve and Sam paved the way for InterVarsity to become a multiethnic ministry.

Sam held the first Multiethnic Staff Conference in March of 1992, in which staff met each morning for worship and teaching, and then split into ethnic-specific groups to work on issues facing their particular communities. Many of the people who currently lead InterVarsity and its ethnic ministries are beneficiaries of Sam’s leadership, encouragement and mentoring.

Sam Barkat2The ceremony included a dinner in which leadership from Wycliffe and InterVarsity blessed Sam with prayer and testimonies. Speakers included Wycliffe USA President/CEO Bob Creson, Wycliffe USA Chief Operations Officer Russ Hersman and InterVarsity President/CEO Alec Hill.

InterVarsity holds its Multiethnic Staff Conference every three years, gathering campus staff and national leaders from ethnically diverse communities to engage the biblical vision for multiethnic missions on college campuses. This year the conference focused on reconciliation as being core to the gospel. Click here to learn more about Sam.

Can you believe it’s already March? Almost three months have passed since Christmas. And speaking of Christmas, you know those gift cards you got that weren’t exactly your thing? Yeah, the ones you still have stuffed in the back of your wallet or in a drawer at home. Well, did you know you could turn those gift cards back into cash for Bible translation so more people can hear the Good News about Jesus? You can, and it’s easy! Take a look:

iDonate

So what are you waiting for? What better way to re-gift than to pass that gift on to others through Bible translation!

Easter is a month away still, but now is the perfect time to start talking with your kids about the meaning of this holiday. After all, Jesus’ sacrifice is the whole reason we can one day live in heaven with God. And that’s worth teaching your kids, no matter what age they are.

That’s why Kate and Mack are taking the next five Fridays to share with you and yours kids how Easter is celebrated around the world. You’ll learn a few fun facts and your kids will have a simple activity they can do each week. Most importantly, Kate and Mack will share different portions of Scripture about the days and weeks leading up to the crucifixion and the resurrection. And they’ll ask questions that will help your kids prepare for Easter, even now.

Sign up at Wycliffe.org/A-Z  to participate in “Easter Around the World with Kate & Mack.” You’ll receive an email every Friday from March 6 through April 3. They’re a great way to count down the days to Easter.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!

kate_mack_easter

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.

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