Posts Tagged ‘Eddie Arthur’

In 1962 Mary Steele arrived in Ghana to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Moving up to the north of the country, which was very under-developed at the time and had few schools, Mary started work on the Konkomba language.

Mary with her MBE at Buckingham Palace

Mary with her MBE at Buckingham Palace

When the Konkomba New Testament was completed and local language literacy well underway, Mary started work in another language, Bimoba.  Then when the Bimoba NT was translated, she returned to help the Konkomba team work on the Old Testament.

Readers of this blog may recall that Mary received the MBE at Buckingham Palace in May 2006 for services to linguistics, literacy and Bible translation in Ghana.

Just last week the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT) recognized Mary’s long service with them.

Mary at the British High Commission in Ghana

Mary at the British High Commission in Ghana

Wycliffe Bible Translators UK executive director Eddie Arthur was present at the event.

Last Thursday 20 March 2014 I attended a reception at the British High Commission in Accra to celebrate Mary’s 52 years of service to this country. Perhaps the most remarkable intervention was from a former government minister from the Konkomba area who said that he and other successful Konkombas could not have received an education and done as well as they did without the work of the woman they call their mother.

Eddie quoted a recent blog by Rollin Grams.

The local church can support a missionary perspective by separating the recent concept of ‘short-term missions’ from ‘missionaries.’ Missionaries are called into a life-time of cross-cultural ministry. They are skilled in cross-cultural interaction, Biblically educated (or should be!), able to share the Gospel clearly, and working to evangelize, plant churches, and nourish people and churches in the faith through training in the Scriptures and for ministry. Their example is Paul the apostle and his missionary team, not the Peace Corps or the Red Cross.

Mary is rather unique in having been blessed with the health and strength to serve for 52 years. Her career illustrates that mission work – and especially Bible translation – is by its nature a long-term venture. Perhaps this is something our short-term church culture needs to grasp.

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Mary Steele in Ghana

Just a few minutes ago, Wycliffe partner in Ghana GILLBT published this on their Facebook page

The work of Mary Steele is being celebrated at the British High Commission today!
Mary Steele has, through a period of over 50 fifty years, contributed significantly to the intellectual, material and spiritual life of Ghana. Her contribution to language development and the spiritual transformation of language groups in Ghana was recognized by Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain and was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of British Empire) at the Buckingham Palace in London in May 2006.
GILLBT congratulates Mary Steele for the great work the Lord has used her to do in Ghana!

Wycliffe UK director Eddie Arthur travelled to Ghana yesterday to be with Mary Steele at the British High Commission in Ghana today, celebrating the work of Bible translation partner GILLBT and Mary in Ghana.

As referred to in the GILLBT statement above, Mary was awarded the MBE at Buckingham Palace May 2006 for services to Bible translation, literacy and language development in Ghana. I had the privilege to be there with Mary, her neice Linda and former GILLBT Director Justin Frempong.

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At least according to someone who spoke to Eddie Arthur, Director of Wycliffe UK.

A few years ago a prominent British Christian leader (names withheld to protect the guilty) told me that he couldn’t take Wycliffe Bible Translators seriously because we wasted so much time translating the Bible for tiny little people groups.

I might just have ignored this as the ramblings of someone who didn’t know what they were talking about, but the person in question had just given the weekly missionary talk at a well known summer gathering.

So what was the problem with this Christian leader’s opinion?

Eddie has just posted a blog setting the record straight. Here’s how he starts…

Well, firstly, it was a rather ignorant caricature. We do work with some very small groups (the Kouya number not much over 10,000), but we also work with some groups of several millions.

However, and much more importantly, the person in question really hadn’t grasped the nature of God’s mission to the world.

These Koiuya women and girls were pretty excited at the dedication of their New Testament; I should know - I was there!

These Kouya women and girls from Ivory Coast were pretty excited at the dedication of their New Testament; I should know – I was there!

So were this Oku couple from Cameroon, studying their New Testament as soon as they received it!

Read the rest of Eddie’s excellent apologetic for Bible translation as central to God’s mission. He concludes…

…in the upside-down world of the Kingdom of God, we simply can’t say that some groups are too small to deserve our attention. Our God is a God who continually reaches out to people wherever they are; we, his people, can do no less.

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Actually to be more accurate, it’s me and another 400+ Wycliffe UK and Ireland members, employees and volunteers, looking for a new boss.

Boss Chair

Nice shiny new office.

Lovely people to work with.

A great vision…

By the year 2025, together with partners worldwide, we aim to begin a Bible translation project for every language that needs one.

Just 1,919 languages to go.

For more details, see the Wycliffe UK website

And as we look forward to the new boss that God will choose for us, I want to say a personal thank you to my good friend and colleague Eddie Arthur who has led us for the last number of years. Well done, Eddie!

Eddie speaking at Bangor Worldwide 2011

Eddie speaking at Bangor Worldwide 2011

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