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Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’

“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

 

 

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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!

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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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By Bob Creson

When most of us think of Panama, we think of the Canal. Built 100 years ago at an enormous financial cost and with many lives lost, it remains one of the amazing wonders of Central America. The canal saves each ship that uses it almost 8,000 miles of sailing around the tip of South America. Almost there locks‘Widening’ of the canal is underway to accommodate post-Panamax ships that are more and more dominating the shipping industry. These ships are of such enormous size and capacity that the existing canal and locks cannot accommodate them.

While most of us don’t think about the minority people groups in Panama, they exist. The Kuna are one of those people groups. The Kuna people number around 165,000 and their homeland is the San Blas Islands — coral atolls that hug the eastern section of Panama’s Caribbean Coast. In addition, there are several Kuna villages in the jungle areas of Panama’s interior. In recent years many Kuna have moved to Panama City to take advantage of work and educational opportunities.

The translation of the Kuna Scriptures began almost 40 years ago. A Kuna pastor, Lino Smith, asked for help to provide a New Testament for his people. Kuna co-translatorsWorking alongside Pastor Lino, Keith and Wilma Forster began work amongst the Kuna. After the publication of the New Testament in 1995, the spiritual walk of believers significantly deepened. But the Kuna church wanted more! They wanted the whole Bible! So work on the Old Testament began.

The Kuna Bible — the 531st complete Bible (Old and New Testament) in the entire world — was dedicated in late September of 2014 in three locations. My wife, Dallas, and I attended the largest celebration held at Comunidad Apostólica Hosanna Church in Panama City. Celebrating with us were SIL Executive Director Freddy Boswell and his wife, Bekah, as well as several colleagues from Wycliffe USA.

It was an awe-inspiring moment when the Bible was brought into the auditorium. The ceremony, designed by Kuna Old Testament translators, reflected the way God’s people brought him offerings in the Old Testament. First came a man wearing a Jewish rabbi’s scarf and blowing on a shofar (a Jewish ram’s horn trumpet).   Then came four Celebratingteenage boys carrying an elaborate box supported by poles balanced on their shoulders. In the box was the new Bible, which the Kuna were offering to God as a gift, asking him to use it for his glory. The pastor leading the event proclaimed, “The Word of the Lord has arrived in Kuna!” With thunderous applause, the audience of 3,200 welcomed the Bible!

At a dinner following the celebration, Keith, Wilma and Bob Gunn (Wycliffe USA member and pastor) gave glory to God for the completion of the Scriptures and reminded those in attendance that they were ALL Bible translators! All contributed to the Kuna Bible and this celebration! The Scriptures would not have been completed without the prayer, financial and administrative support from the whole team.

The following morning, Sunday, we attended a much smaller worship event held at Crossroads Bible Church, where Bob is associate pastor and his son Steve is pastor. Bob led the morning service honoring Keith and Wilma and four Kuna translators who did the heavy lifting on the translation of the Old Testament. Crossroads is proud, yet humble, to have had the privilege of Choir with pianosupporting the Kuna translation project for 40 years. Outlining the history of the translation program, Bob mentioned that Keith and Wilma – as well as some in the congregation – were tempted on occasion to quit…but they didn’t. They persevered, and the Bible was completed.

Over the years, Crossroads has invested heavily in Bible translation for a number of people groups. As a reminder to the congregation, the church keeps copies of all the Scriptures they’ve helped produce in a glass-covered wooden cabinet. At the conclusion of the Sunday service, in unison, the four Kuna translators got up from their seats on the front row, went to the stand at the front of the church where the Kuna Bible rested, picked it up, carried it over to the cabinet, opened the glass cover, took out the Kuna New Testament that had lain there for 18 years, and replaced it with the just-completed whole Bible.

Many of us were in tears by this point. We recognized that we were witnessing something that had never existed before — the Word of God, the full counsel of God, available to the Kuna church. The work of translation is done; it is now in the hands of the Kuna church and the Holy Spirit of God…a good place to be.

Today there are about 30 Kuna churches on the San Blas Islands, 18 churches in and around Panama City, and several more churches scattered throughout Panama’s jungle mainland. God will be faithful to his Word — He always is. It is now firmly planted in the Kuna community and will accomplish all He wants it to accomplish.

You, too, are a vital part of the Bible translation ministry — a part of the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation starts ever witnessed. Thank you for your efforts! Your persistent investments are building God’s kingdom here on earth.

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By Catherine Rivard and Richard Gretsky

Early in life, Kristina lost two of her three children during childbirth. The emotional pain devastated her, but she was also very physically wounded. In the attempts to save the children and repair her ravaged body, Kristina underwent four agonizing surgeries. The trauma from these events lingered in her life for many years.

Later on, she was introduced to Christianity. And though the hurts from her life persisted, after a time, she placed her faith in Christ and began to follow Him.

Soon after that, she and twenty-nine other participants from seven languages were given the opportunity to attend an Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) workshop in Wewak, Papua New Guinea.

The courses at the workshop—divided into four modules that took place throughout the year—were designed to teach Papua New Guineans how to memorize and retell Scripture in a way that’s familiar in their culture where storytelling is an art.

After the first module, Kristina returned home and shared the Bible stories she had learned, but her husband was extremely unsupportive. He wouldn’t let her share the stories publically or attend the next training session. Kristina was disappointed, but instead of becoming angry, she humbly submitted to her husband and began praying that the Lord would transform his heart. Over time, God did soften her husband and, this past April, he allowed Kristina to attend the next phase of training.

In this phase, the participants listened to a recording of the Bible stories in the local trade language and then were recorded saying it back in their own. Kristina gently closed her eyes as the recorder played. As she listened to the story of Moses and the burning bush, she softly repeated what she heard into a second recorder—this time in her mother tongue.

Comforted by Story - Kristina and Friends

Kristina (left) and colleagues take part in an oral Bible storytelling session.

But Kristina was not just repeating those stories; she was uplifted by them.

“Listening to these stories about the Israelites has really encouraged me,” she said. “They were in difficult times, but God was bigger than that and rescued them. I know He’ll bring me through my Red Sea as well.”

Retelling Biblical stories has provided great comfort to Kristina, who now knows that God was with her during the loss of her children, her rough childbirths, and even during the period she had to wait for her husband’s blessing to attend the training.
That is why Kristina is dedicated to teaching Scripture, because she knows that hearing Bible stories can help change other people’s lives—no matter how deep their hurt.

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When Luke Elliott graduated high school, he didn’t know what he wanted to study in college, but he had a strong interest in missions. So after talking with his pastor, he decided to spend a year working with Wycliffe missionaries in Papua New Guinea, learning more about overseas missions and discovering his own strengths and interests.

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On Saturday, Sept. 27 Bob Creson presented Bobby Gruenewald with the 2014 Scripture Impact Award at LifeChurch.tv’s Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, campus. Bobby is a pastor and innovation leader at LifeChurch.tv, where he explores new ideas and searches for practical ways to leverage them for the global church. In that capacity, he founded and oversees YouVersion, a smartphone app that provides free access to more than 1,000 versions of Scripture in more than 700 languages. Since it was launched in 2008, YouVersion has been downloaded more than 153 million times.

Bobby received the award in recognition of his contributions to Scripture engagement and to bring an end to Bible illiteracy.

“As Wycliffe USA advances rapidly toward our goal of seeing a Bible translation project in progress in every language still needing one by 2025, we’re increasingly mindful of the importance of finding innovative ways to expand access to and opportunities to engage with those translations,” Creson said. “Bobby Gruenewald and his team at LifeChurch.tv have revolutionized the way people all around the world access Scripture in the language they know and understand best. We’re honored to recognize their contributions to the global church with the 2014 Scripture Impact Award, and we look forward to continuing to work with Bobby and his team.”

IMG_6523Wycliffe USA created the Scripture Impact Award in 2003 to honor the late Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International (now Cru in the U.S.), in celebration of his love for the Lord and the Scriptures. The award commends men and women who have a passion for the Bible and demonstrate a personal commitment of mind, will, resources and influence to see that God’s Word reaches, engages and changes people.

“Bobby has a unique passion and vision for using technology as a tool for missions and for building Christ-centered relationships,” said Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv. “His gifts and his commitment to using them for God’s glory are a blessing not only to LifeChurch.tv but to the global church.”

In celebration of the Scripture Impact Award to Gruenewald and YouVersion’s partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators, LifeChurch.tv wrote a devotional for YouVersion called “The Impact of Scripture.” LifeChurch.tv and Wycliffe translated the devotional into five additional languages – Spanish, Chinese Traditional & Simplified, Korean and Brazilian Portuguese - some of the most popular languages in the Bible app.

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