They had been working on the New Testament translation for many years. They were consultant checking the final book – Revelation. The consultant said, “That’s it!”
What happens next? Anti-climax, exhaustion, relief, celebration..?
One of the national translators was asked to pray.
That was it: he choked up, started to cry, and we all joined in! There were prayers, but I’m sure the Lord listened to our overflowing thankful hearts more than our words.
Revelation 3:7 says that no door God opens can be shut; it may start to creak as it closes but it is only for a while and it never fully closes before he fully opens it.
And so we rejoice with this translation team; we give thanks to God; we pray for the typesetting and printing; we look forward to the day when this language group will dedicate and celebrate God’s Word in their heart language… and we continue to remember 1,967 languages that are still waiting for the translation to start.
Posted in Bible translation, Wycliffe Bible Translators | Tagged Bible translation, God, languages, wycliffe bible translators | Leave a Comment »
On Wednesday 21 March 2012, hundreds of tee shirts proclaimed in the Kouya language that the Word of God is living and powerful. Kouya Christians and their neighbours gathered for the dedication of the Kouya New Testament which had been delayed during a decade of civil unrest and violence in the Ivory Coast.
Philip Saunders presented a copy of the Kouya New Testament to the chief of Dema village. That photo now adorns the front cover of the new edition of No Ordinary Book, the story of the Kouya New Testament.
No Ordinary Book, revised and updated to include the dedication, has just become available on Kindle
It was a privilege to live alongside the Kouya Project for 8 years in Ivory Coast.
It was a privilege to become friends with Kouya Christians including the translators.
It was a privilege to be asked to write the foreword for No Ordinary Book.
It was a privilege to have been at the dedication of the Kouya New Testament in March 2012.
It is a privilege now to recommend that you upload this great story to your Kindle!
If you want to see a few of the many photos that I took at the dedication, you can see them in my Facebook photo album
Posted in Bible translation, Church, languages, Wycliffe | Tagged Bible translation, Church, Ivory Coast, Kindle, languages, new testament, Wycliffe | Leave a Comment »
Tonight I am attending a concert in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, Newtownards…
… I am very happy to be there and I’m doing a brief presentation about the Oku Bible translation and literacy project in the NW of Cameroon to encourage a generous offering which will go to this Wycliffe Bible Translators supported project.
This is my first slide – the map hangs in our Belfast office and daily reminds us to pray that the Lord of the harvest will provide the workers for his harvest field.
But what, I will ask, is the harvest filed of Bible translation..?
Yes, I’ll be glad to be there… but I’m going to miss this! Ulster’s semi final against Llanelli Scarlets
Then again, I am delighted that the Oku people, whom I have twice visited, will be dedicating their New Testament in October this year – and the proceeds from the concert offering will finance the completion of the project!
Posted in Africa, Bible translation, harvest, Wycliffe Bible Translators | Tagged Bible translation, Cameroon, Lord of the harvest, Oku, Ulster Rugby, wycliffe bible translators | Leave a Comment »
Just to satirise a little bit more…
Following my discovery of Daniela Papi’s BBC magazine article, I remembered Jamie’s blog which has appeared in a recent Global Connections Sphere magazine. I’m including it in its wonderful entirety…
You know what I really want to do?
I want to fill a rental van marked “Tourist” with unbelievably rich people and then I want to bring them to your middle-class neighborhood to take pictures of you and your kids and your house and your cars.
I’ll act as the unofficial tour guide to their trip, walking them slowly down the street, pointing out the shocking differences between their lifestyle and yours. “This man,” I will say with a gesture of my upturned palm, “cuts his own lawn.”
“These kids share a bedroom.”
“Many of these families require two incomes… just to survive.”
I’ll tell them bluntly, “Most of these people will never ride in a helicopter, meet the president, or own a show horse.” And they will glance at each other with looks of angst and sadness, they’ll shake their heads at the injustice of it all.
And then I’ll let the details of your simple life sink in as they snap pictures of your no-thrills mid size SUV and your quarter acre lot. I’ll stand aside so they can get pictures of each other, smiling, with their arms around your kids in hand-me-downs. Ooh, and maybe they can take turns helping you cut your hedge or clean your bathroom, and then you could show some of them how to make a sandwich – That would be so great for the video they’re gonna take back to show at the Super Elite Rich People Church.
But don’t worry. There will totally be something in it for you. The rich people are going to paint all of the houses on your block. For real. They’re going to pay for it and do all the work and everything. Also? They’re gonna do a puppet show for your kids, and give them candy and crap.
It’s a win-win.
Even if you’re extremely uncomfortable while all of this is going on, in the end, you will look at your freshly painted house and it will make you feel good about what just happened. And when the rich people go home, they’ll get to tell their people about how they painted your house and learned to make a sandwich, which, of course, will make them feel good, too.
So, like I said, win-win…
And Jamie’s conclusion…
Are short-term missions teams sent to impoverished communities helpful…? or harmful…? or maybe neither…? Whadayathink?
Check out Jamie the Very Worst Missionary and her wonderfully thought provoking blog here
And, oh yes, in the meantime, here’s a Wycliffe UK suggestion for a trip that probably won’t do anyone any harm, but might help you think about your future. Two Week Stint in France this coming summer
Posted in Bible translation, Short term mission, Summer teams, Wycliffe Bible Translators | Tagged GAP year, short term volunteering, Summer teams | 2 Comments »
Volunteering abroad to build schools or dig wells might make people feel good about themselves – but it can be detrimental to those who are supposed to be helped.
I can’t remember how, but I came across this article by Daniela Papi on the BBC News Magazine 1 May 2013 entitled Is gap year a bad thing? It has prompted me to blog on short term mission again, but first…
Here are some of the things she writes…
I feel that the growing practice of sending young people abroad to volunteer is often not only failing the communities they are meant to be serving, but also setting these travellers, and by extension our whole society, up for failure in the long run.
We must stop volunteering abroad from becoming about us fulfilling our dreams of being heroes. The travellers are not just missing out on learning the lessons that lead to more sustainable changes in themselves and in the world, but they are also often negatively impacting the people they are meant to be “serving”.
Volunteering to take care of orphans might not sound too bad at first – at least I didn’t think so on my initial orphanage visits. Imagine if an orphanage near your home had a rotating door of volunteers coming to play with these children who have already been deemed vulnerable.
People often say, “doing something is better than doing nothing”. But it isn’t. Not when that something is often wasteful at best, and at worst causing a lot of harm.
Daniela is highlighting the same issues that Christian mission short termism continues to debate. It’s not that it is bad or wrong or always a disaster… but it is a continuous challenge to assess the needs of the people we claim to serve, not the self-satisfaction of Gappers, short termers with misinformed intentions and unrealistic expectations.
In short, the short term trip that you are planning to advertise or to go on… what will it achieve in the context of God’s mission to the people he created?
In the meantime, here’s a Wycliffe UK suggestion for a trip that probably won’t do anyone any harm, but might help you think about your future. Two Week Stint in France this coming summer
Posted in Bible translation, Short term mission, Summer teams, Wycliffe Bible Translators | Tagged GAP year, short term voluntering, Summer teams, wycliffe bible translators | 1 Comment »
Recently I read this quote from British politician Vince Cable in his memoir Free Radical written before he achieved a Cabinet position in the Conservative / Liberal Coalition government. He was reflecting on his period as acting leader of the Liberal Democrats in opposition during a tricky time of party leadership transition.
I have always moved effortlessly from the spotlight to the shadows and there is a particular pleasure to be had from enjoying prominence and (in my case, modest) power without feeling the need for them.
Free Radical: A Memoir Vince Cable
I thought… thanks, Vince, that’s encouraging.
You see, I was contemplating a transition myself.
My big change came just after Easter as I handed over my role as Wycliffe Bible Translators UK’s N. Ireland Coordinator to my colleague John Young. John is now UK assigned after six years in the Philippines where he ended up as Acting Philippines Director. So I’m happily handing over to a capable and experienced successor.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not comparing my role in Wycliffe Bible Translators UK with Cable’s role in British politics. Politicians often talk about serving, but to be successful it seems that they must ambitiously seek power and influence. I see my various roles in my 25 years with Wycliffe as a privilege that God allows me to be part of His Mission to His World. All the power and all prominence belongs to God.
I have never in my various roles with Wycliffe seen myself as enjoying prominence or power, modest or otherwise. But I was struck by the idea that a politician could contemplate a step down in position and accept it honestly and graciously. It was an encouragement to read Cable’s words as I know only too well that leadership transitions, whether in politics or in the church and mission, are not always smooth and can sometimes be rather messy.
So I have stepped down from the Wycliffe NI Coordinator role. I am not however retiring. John, my successor, wants me to stay on as part of the N. Ireland Church Engagement Team.
I am looking forward to my new role. I am fairly confident that I can step down and work within the team under John’s leadership.
I look forward in God’s strength to this new role with the same aim and passion that God’s Word will become available to everyone in their heart language.
For those of you who have ever visited the WBTUK office in Belfast, we’ll see about posting a few photos of how we have re-arranged it recently…
Posted in leadership, Wycliffe Bible Translators | Tagged Bible translation, leadership transition, N.Ireland, Philippines, Vince Cable | Leave a Comment »
Mary Steele MBE at Buckingham Palace
In a recent blog about the impact of the translated Bible on the Bimoba people group in Ghana, I referred to Mary Steele who was involved in the translation of the Bible into the Bimoba language.
Mary is planning to spend her summer back home in N. Ireland but is currently consultant checking the Book of Acts in the Avatime language. A few days ago she sent me a request for prayer for this work imbedded in a touching story about the Avatime people’s wait for the Scriptures in their heart language…
They have been Christians for a hundred years but still have no Bible in their language. The Avatime people live in the Volta region of Ghana, in the southeast of the country. The majority of them profess to be Christians, but as yet they do not have a Bible or even a New Testament in their language. The Gospels have been translated and we are now checking the book of Acts.
There is a feeling of spiritual opposition to the work of Scripture translation in this language, and it seems to go with difficulty. Please pray for spiritual victory, and that the Word will be a blessing to the team, Divine, Jacob and Gershon, and myself, as we work just now on checking the book of Acts in the Avatime language (pronounced Avateemee – but the Lord will know who you mean no matter how you pronounce it.)
Also please pray that the work of translating and publishing the New Testament, and eventually the whole Bible, in this language, will go ahead smoothly and quickly. A hundred years is a long time to wait.
Thank you for helping to bring the Bible to the Avatime people, by your prayers.
If you Google Avatime, you can read things like this on Wikipedia…
Avatime is a tonal language with three tones, has vowel harmony, and has been claimed to have doubly articulated fricatives.
Avatime has nine vowels, /i ɪ e ɛ a ɔ o ʊ u/. It is not clear if the difference between /i e o u/ and /ɪ ɛ ɔ ʊ/ is one of advanced and retracted tongue root (laryngeal contraction), as in so many languages of Ghana, or of vowel height: different phonetic parameters support different analyses.
Avatime has vowel harmony. A root may not mix vowels of the relaxed /i e o u/ and contracted /ɪ ɛ a ɔ ʊ/ sets, and prefixes change vowels to harmonize with the vowels of the root. For example, the human singular gender prefix is /ɔ ~ o/, and the human plural is /a ~ e/: /o-ze/ “thief”, /ɔ-ka/ “father”; /be-ze/ “thieves”, /ba-ka/ “fathers”; also /o-bu/ “bee” but /ɔ-bʊ/ “god”.
… all of which gives some insight into the work of a linguist translator like Mary!
If linguistics turns you on – read more. Whether it does or not, please pray for the Avatime team in their work right now.
Posted in Africa, Bible translation, Culture, languages, Wycliffe Bible Translators | Tagged Bible translation, Ghana, languages, linguistics, wycliffe bible translators | Leave a Comment »