You may have noticed several changes at wycliffe.org in recent months. One of those is the exciting addition of our new Wycliffe USA blog, with an updated design that creates an improved reading experience and makes it even easier to stay connected to our work.

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We invite you to continue keeping up with our stories, videos and other updates at that new location. As of March 1, 2016 we exclusively send updates to the new blog instead of this WordPress platform. If you’d like to be notified when we post information, you can add the new Wycliffe USA blog to your RSS reader with this link: https://www.wycliffe.org/feeds/blog. You can also learn about new posts and receive additional news and updates by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

We value our readers, and we thank each of you for following along with our updates, praying for us and alongside us, and sharing your heart for this ministry. We hope you’ll continue to stay connected as we make this exciting transition.

Thank You,
The Wycliffe Team

Editor’s Note:

As a reminder, this will be our last post at this WordPress site. You can find all our future updates at wycliffe.org/blog. For additional updates, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for joining us as we continue to bring you stories of hope through Bible translation.

In a small village in southern Senegal, a young woman sits in the shade of a large tree with her son in her lap, watching a man read a small paperback book. It’s printed in their language, Manjak. A smile comes across the man’s face as he slowly sounds out the words in his language for the first time.

The woman, named Famata, listens quietly. She learned to read Manjak for the first time not too long ago, and it has changed her life.


In Senegal, school is taught in the official national language of French. But most people in Senegal don’t speak French as their first language. So kids are being asked to come to school and learn in a language that they do not speak at home. And they’re being taught by teachers who in many cases haven’t mastered the French language themselves.

Understandably, Famata struggled with education from the start — so much so that it took a serious toll on her self-esteem from a young age. Before long she felt like she was hopeless, that school was pointless, and she’d rather give up.

“I had difficulty reading and writing, and I told my mom I was going to leave school,” she said.

Then, at 14 years old, Famata became pregnant. With her spirits already low, money running lower and a baby on the way, she dropped out of school.

Unfortunately her story is not uncommon in Senegal and other developing countries, where girls typically aren’t expected to excel in school. They’re taught that their place is in the home, not the classroom. And since schooling is costly and money is always tight, most families believe it’s more worthwhile to invest in educating their brothers and male peers.

Famata didn’t have high hopes for her future. But that started to change when Wycliffe began funding a Manjak literacy program in her village. Through the program, all the men and women in the community were invited to learn to read and write in their own language.

Suddenly Famata had the opportunity to try class again — this time for free and in the language she knows and loves. She thrived in Manjak literacy, impressing her teacher and her peers alike.

“She spent all her time reading,” said her Manjak teacher, Abdoulaye Ndiaye. “She didn’t find it difficult [to learn Manjak] because she loved what she was doing.”


Often when Famata read out loud in class, her peers thought she was a teacher because her skill level was so much higher. Though she once walked away from her own education, in the Manjak class she helped other students succeed at reading so they wouldn’t make the same choice.

“She encouraged people in class…who were sometimes absent,” Abdoulaye said. “She said ‘Don’t be discouraged!’ She was a great support.”

The changes in Famata’s outlook and self-confidence are evident to everyone, including Famata.

“They [the instructors] have given me knowledge [and skills] by teaching me to read and write in Manjak,” she said. “I am taking hold of that with both hands.”

She had the courage to return to French school where she’s ranked near the top of her class, thanks to the confidence and skills she gained in the Manjak literacy class.

Soon Famata will be writing text for the literacy project. She aspires to be a teacher, and she’s going to start by teaching her own son.

“Since I know how to write Manjak, I’ll teach my child to read and write Manjak,” Famata said. “Pray for my child, that he would have good health and that he would be able to enjoy the richness of his language.”

Today, as she sits under the shade of a tree with her son watching a man read his language for the first time, she can see firsthand how Manjak literacy is growing. And she can know that one day she’ll be helping others in her community gain the ability to read in Manjak too.

Wycliffe Women of the Word seeks to create a community of women who are passionate about improving the lives of marginalized women and children around the world through the translated Word of God. Famata’s story is an example of what that transformation can look like. Learn more at wycliffe.org/women.

A Kinaray-a New Testament Bible.

A Kinaray-a New Testament Bible.

The following is an excerpt from “And the Word Came With Power,” a book written by Wycliffe missionary Joanne Shetler about her experience serving in the Philippines. Here she tells a story about Andrea, the woman who helped her with the translation. Unable to conceive, Andrea and her husband often sacrificed to the spirits in hopes that this would bring them a baby.

The Gospel of Mark was the first full book I attempted to translate. Andrea and I were working on chapter five of Mark, where Jesus was casting out demons from a man, when Andrea interrupted me. “You translated that part wrong … people can’t cast out demons. They come when they want, and they leave when they want. The demons are in control, not people.”

Her eyes widened when I told her that Jesus wasn’t an ordinary man. He was God and he was stronger than the spirits. She looked puzzled and confused, but continued helping me translate the Scriptures. Periodically, she sacrificed to persuade the spirits to give her a baby.

Months later, Andrea casually mentioned that she now believed in this Jesus we’d been learning about in Mark. I made some noncommittal remark and thought, You’re just saying that because you know it’s what I want to hear. I thought it was her kind of Balangao way of telling me she accepted me, strange beliefs and all. I simply didn’t believe her.

Not many days later, Andrea, eyes glowing, made another announcement: “I’m going to have a baby.”

“You’re what?” I said. “H-h-how? What happened?”

She looked straight at me, “I told you I believe now. I decided to ask God for a baby and he’s giving me one.” I was floored. So she really did believe. We were both learning about God.

As Andrea’s due date approached, so did the date for me to return to the United States to visit my family and friends who were supporting me. Andrea pleaded with me to delay my plans and deliver her baby before I left. I stroked her arm and reasoned with her, “But you know God now, dear sister. Just pray and ask the Lord for help and he will indeed help you.”

With that, I flew out of Balangao to Bagabag. … Saturday, an urgent request came over the radio to Bagabag. The United States ambassador wanted to visit a translation project. Psychologically, I was already halfway to California. How can I go back to the village? I thought. … I worked out a deal with our pilot: Bob Griffin never flew on Sundays, but he’d make an exception and fly me to Balangao on Sunday. He’d bring the ambassador on Monday morning and we’d all fly back to Bagabag on Monday afternoon.

That’s settled, I thought.

… That night Andrea went into labor. She had a long, hard labor before I was able to deliver her beautiful baby Melisa. As I sat cross-legged on the floor rocking little Melisa and murmuring to her in Balangao, Andrea got a funny grin on her face. Nodding her head almost imperceptibly, she quietly told me, “I asked God to send you back to deliver my baby.”

The next day … the ambassador changed his plans and canceled his trip. The plane came in to get me.

As I flew back to Bagabag in the little plane, I thought of what King Solomon said in Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart (and the ambassador’s) is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” God used an ambassador to answer the prayer of Andrea, his new child. That’s just how he is.

It’s amazing how God uses faithful prayers to change our lives and the lives of those around us. Consider how you can partner in the work God is doing throughout the world, whether through becoming a part of the Wycliffe prayer team or serving in the field like Joanne did!

Finallig dedication

Kelly Chesnut is director of Wycliffe Women of the Word, an initiative striving to bring hope and wholeness to women and children around the world.

Driving through the winding dirt roads of the northern Philippines, my family and I were part of a caravan headed to Barlig, a small village in the mountains of Luzon. The Finallig Scripture celebration had been in the planning stages for a year and all the surrounding villages were buzzing with excitement. Taking our children to their first New Testament dedication, we didn’t know what to expect. Our experience was beyond imagination.

School was cancelled and businesses closed down so everyone could participate in the day-long celebration. Early the next morning, we made our way to the top of the hill where a festive parade was beginning the day’s activities. Men, women and children wore their traditional attire and waved to the crowds as they made their way to the celebration site. The elderly sat on the tiered cement seating of the outdoor amphitheater. Bands played, children danced and people cheered as the boxes of newly printed Scriptures were carried to the stage.

Finallig dedication2The next several hours were filled with testimonies, stories, dancing and feasting — all in celebration of God’s Word available in the language of the Finallig people. Most of the celebration was in the mother tongue; we were just sideline participants. And although we couldn’t understand their language, we didn’t need someone to translate what they were feeling — sheer joy radiated from every villager’s face.

Tears blurred my vision as I watched the people open their New Testaments and eagerly read the Word of God, understanding anew the depth of God’s love, grace and mercy toward them and the utter joy in knowing him. Not just knowing about God, but knowing God through the truth of his Word in the language that spoke clearly to their hearts.

I was especially excited for Carmen, our Finallig host. I knew that the translated Scripture would transform her heart and mind. It would provide her with wisdom and peace for her everyday life. It would strengthen her and give her the courage to live out her faith. It would shape her perspective and guide her choices. And through reading the Finallig New Testament, Carmen would ultimately come to a deeper understanding of God’s love for her and the Finallig people.

She was a name and a face that made this dedication so much more personal for me, because I knew the impact that God’s Word in her heart language would have on her life. But she wasn’t the only one who would feel it. All the Finallig people were about to experience what I’ve known my whole life — that God’s Word is living and active, transforming hearts and minds and bringing hope and peace. It is the story of God’s redeeming love through Jesus Christ, the hope of all nations.

This is the heart of Wycliffe — that men, women and children, young and old alike, would come to know and believe God. We long for people to experience lives filled with hope and joy because they trust Christ.

No matter where you go in this world, there are people longing for hope and peace. Wycliffe Women of the Word invites you to be a part of bringing hope and wholeness to those who have none. For more information, go to wycliffe.org/women.

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Threads of Hope

Simple, handmade bracelets help provide a brighter tomorrow for families in the Philippines

In 2003, while serving as missionaries with First Love International Ministries in the Philippines, Alex and Chris Kuhlow befriended some local girls who sold thread bracelets to tourists. Threads of Hope5

During one of their visits, Alex and Chris noticed that one of the girls was missing. They learned that she hadn’t been able to sell enough bracelets to support her family and had escaped poverty by choosing the unthinkable — prostitution.

Alex and Chris were heartbroken, and not just for their friend. Sadly, many girls have made the same choice in order to save their families from poverty and destitution.

Alex and Chris knew they had to do something to help the other girls avoid the same fate. So they purchased $100 worth of bracelets. Then they sold the bracelets to friends and family, using the profits to buy more bracelets, supporting more girls and their families.

That’s how Threads of Hope was born.

Today, more than 200 Filipino families have an honest, honorable and stable income through Threads of Hope. Children who were once in danger are now safe. Every month the company purchases more than $20,000 worth of products from these families and distributes them globally.Threads of Hope2

But Threads of Hope provides families with more than just an income. They also seek to meet their spiritual needs by sharing the gospel message of Christ’s love through church services, Bible studies and fellowship. And, most importantly, they give hope for a brighter tomorrow.

All Threads of Hope profits are reinvested to purchase more products that help meet the needs of the community. Buy bracelets today, give hope for tomorrow.

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Hating your enemy back cannot solve the problem. But loving your enemy will disarm your enemy and make him powerless. – Pastor Pius Mbahlegue

Just one week before the Gospel of Luke was to be dedicated in their language, the people of Bambalang, Cameroon suffered great trauma when 300 homes were burnt down by a neighboring village. In the midst of the devastation, many were angry and wanted to seek revenge. But the words of Jesus in the Chrambo language about loving enemies has brought comfort, healing and forgiveness to the people of Bambalang.

We are so excited to share Kate and Mack’s new theme-song video with you! Kate and Mack love traveling around the world, and they want lots of friends to join them. In our video, you’ll get to see some of the awesome places they’ve visited and hear about their adventures in a really catchy song.

If you like traveling with Kate and Mack, you should tell your friends so they can travel with them too. Visit wycliffe.org/kids to learn more. You can also download the video from Vimeo for offline use in our Sunday school lessons and vacation Bible school program.

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