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Yesterday I posted that members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland have been praying for South Sudan. Please keep praying for Sudan but also give thanks for what God is doing through Bible translation!

Every fourth week the Wycliffe office in Belfast gets the chance to post prayer news and requests on the weekly PCI Prayerline – today this week’s edition heralded dramatic progress in Bible translation

636 languages have a full Bible2016-stats-english

1,442 languages have the New Testament

1,145 languages have Scripture portions

Here’s what I wrote this week…

Wycliffe Global Alliance website has just published the latest Scripture and Language statistics.

This means that perhaps 111 language communities may be hearing the Christmas story this year in their heart language for the first time.

  • Please celebrate with us as we thank God for what he is accomplishing through His power and through many partners involved in Bible translation.
  • Pray that all those people, who now have some or all of God’s Word in their heart languages, will respond and follow Jesus.

There are an estimated 7,097 languages spoken in the world today.  The research indicates that over 160 million people, speaking up to 1,800 languages may need a Bible translation programme to begin.

  • Pray that Wycliffe Bible Translators and our partners in Ireland and around the world will be guided by God to complete the task.
  • Please continue to pray with us for people with no access to God’s Word.  Our prayer is that more PCI congregations will join with us to #endbiblepoverty.

Find out more at www.wycliffe.org.uk and www.wycliffe.net/en/statistics

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PCI logo

Once every four weeks, Wycliffe Bible Translators UK & Ireland has the opportunity to submit prayer items for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland weekly Prayerline.

In Prayerline, published today and covering the next 7 days, Wycliffe focussed on some current events in N. Ireland…

On Sunday past our Wycliffe NI Church Engagement team leader Ricky Ferguson was back in his old stomping ground speaking at Fahan Presbyterian Church in Donegal. His topic was “Bible Translation: what’s it all about?” We give thanks for how Ricky was taught and mentored in Fahan as he grew up and for the work he is now doing sharing his passion for Bible translation worldwide.

Fahan

Fahan Presbyterian with Ricky & Marlene Ferguson middle front

This coming Saturday, Ricky’s wife Marlene is taking a team of five to Union Road Presbyterian Church, Magherafelt who have invited us to put on a primary children’s missionary adventure day. They are expecting at least 100 children from the area to explore the theme “Let Your Light Shine!”  Pray for Marlene, her team, the children and all the local helpers involved.

We are excited in the Belfast office that by the time you are reading this, two new applicants will have been interviewed.  Pray that all will go well and that we will be able to share good news in our next contribution to Prayerline.

Please pray with us and our Presbyterian partners…

To view the whole Prayerline published Wednesday 13 April 2016 with the Wycliffe item at the end Click here to download Word file

wycliffe-logo-colour

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“Wycliffe Bible Translators are vital in supporting the life and witness of the worldwide church, so to this end I would like to encourage congregations to support them in any way they can,” said Dr. McNie in a news release from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

On Monday morning 25 January 2016, the Presbyterian Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Ian McNie, joined us in the Belfast office of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK & Ireland. Ian met five of the staff over tea and scones, then spent most of his time in conversation with the Church Engagement Team – see below.

John Hamilton, Ricky Ferguson, Marlene Ferguson and Rev Dr Ian McNie

In a wide ranging conversation, we presented the biblical basis for Bible translation: debated current Scripture access statistics; discussed how together we might address the issue of Bible poverty in today’s world; and answered Ian’s perceptive questions.

As of October 1st 2015, estimates suggest between 165 and 180 million people speaking up to 1,800 languages are understood to ‘likely need Bible translation to begin’

For example from his knowledge of East Africa, he was interested to know whether the Turkana people from the north of Kenya yet have Scripture in their heart language. Having consulted The Ethnologue, we were able to assure him that the Turkana New Testament was completed and published in 1986.

We were also pleased to show him photographs of 22 Presbyterians supported by their home congregations throughout Ireland. They are working in 10 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe engaged in a wide range of Bible translation, linguistics, literacy, Scripture engagement, IT and administrative roles.

As he left us for other engagements, Ian received an invitation to First Steps on Saturday 6 February 2016 at Ballyhenry Presbyterian Church. I wonder if his schedule will allow a brief drop-in..?

Below is the full text of the PCI news release on 28 January 2016

The Presbyterian Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Ian McNie, visited and encouraged those who work in the Belfast branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK and Ireland earlier this week.

Wycliffe Bible Translators believe that the Bible is the best way for people to discover and understand who God is. Their vision is that by working with churches, organizations and individuals from across the world, all people will be able to access the Word of God in their own language.

Located in east Belfast, the Moderator had the opportunity to talk with those involved in Bible translation locally. He heard about their work and meeting the staff and volunteers, discovered first hand what it means to translate God’s word into another language.

“I discovered that around 180 million people, speaking at least 1,800 languages, need a Bible in the language they understand best. Without this incredible work taking place those people will never be able to read the story of God’s love for themselves.

“Wycliffe Bible Translators are vital in supporting the life and witness of the worldwide church, so to this end I would like to encourage congregations to support them in any way they can,” said Dr. McNie.

Along with other agencies involved in Bible distribution and Christian broadcasting, Wycliffe Bible Translators play a crucial role in supporting the life and witness of the worldwide church. Of the 6,887 languages in the world today, only 554 have a complete Bible.

As a result, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) has identified Wycliffe Bible Translators as a Specialist Service Agency. This special relationship with PCI recognises the fact that the valuable service Wycliffe is doing is something that no one church or denomination can easily do.

John Hamilton, of Wycliffe Bible Translators in Belfast said, “We had an enjoyable and encouraging time with the Moderator. He already knew a lot about Bible translation, but also confessed that the visit had widened his perspective.

“We told him how much Wycliffe values the partnership with PCI and that together we can work to alleviate the Bible poverty that still exists in the world. Our staff would be delighted to visit congregations to tell them more about Wycliffe’s work and to encourage them in their global mission.”

To find out more about the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators visit their website (www.wycliffe.org.uk/) or contact the Belfast office at 028 9073 5854

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Kenny Woodrow, myself and the Moderator Michael Barry with Bill Bailie behind the camera

 

On Tuesday morning 9 September 2014, the current Presbyterian Moderator Michael Barry visited the Belfast office of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK and Ireland. As one of the SSA partners of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, we like to invite Moderators along to get a fresh insight into what goes on in Bible translation and to meet and chat to some of our local staff.

Whatever we were talking about, Kenny and Michael look quite happy; I’m obviously chewing something nasty…

It was good to help Michael get a better understanding of what Wycliffe Bible Translators is all about – and we certainly discussed how to develop the SSA partnership. A visual presentation gave lots of opportunity for questions and discussion and the Moderator quizzed us on how Bible translation was done and the statistics of which languages have and don’t have availability to the Scriptures in their heart languages.

One of the issues raised was that of Bible poverty. While PCI as a church gives generously to relief and development projects – as we should – we wondered how much the denomination as a whole is aware of the need to resource the alleviation of Bible poverty though the complementary work of Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Bible Societies north and south in Ireland, FEBA Radio and SAT7 television.

We also talked about the possibility of Michael visiting a Bible translation project during his Moderatorial visit to Kenya this autumn – another wee task to get sorted out soon. The possible language project is Samburu which would be reasonably accessible when the Moderator’s party visits Stephen and Angelina Cowan in Tuum.

Some Samburu people in traditional dress

Some Samburu people in traditional dress

During the visit Dr Barry met several Wycliffe people:

  • Kenny Woodrow is assigned to a communications role with Uganda Tanzania branch but working remotely from a desk in the Beersbridge Road office.
  • Bill Bailie, one of our invaluable volunteers, was present along with Alistair Bill, vice chair of our Wycliffe N. Ireland Council.

As always with these visits, it re-emphasised the idea that mission is all about partnership and we pray that God will bless our partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and with the other SSAs – and that these partnerships will be mutually beneficial.

This is the first of the three significant events in September that I referred to at the end of a previous blog here.

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Our July News and Prayer to our Wycliffe supporters…

As I wrote in May, I now work in Wycliffe’s Belfast office two days a week. My main focus is relating to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, building contacts with congregations and ministers – and with individuals interested in serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators.
I appreciate having more time to give to Saintfield Road Presbyterian Church where I lead some brilliant people in the Mission Coordination Group, working hard to enthuse the whole church about God’s mission to his world.
Last, but not least, I have more quality time with mum and dad who have both celebrated their 92nd birthdays this year.

A snapshot of my week at the PCI General Assembly in June

A snapshot of my week at the PCI General Assembly in June

Partnership in mission is central to what Wycliffe does and so I am glad to be part of a multi-mission team presenting the Kairos Course in World Mission in N. Ireland

BBC FlyerI will be involved in two Kairos Courses in the autumn: the first for Belfast Bible College new students and the second as part of the BBC Tuesday evening Access Learning Programme.

Kairos is a Nine Week Course
Tues 7-9.30pm  7 Oct-16 Dec 2014
Cost £110 including course materials
Completion of the Kairos Course at BBC counts as 18 hours of class time towards the Access Learning Certificate. Spaces are limited, so early booking is recommended.
​Book through Belfast Bible College – www.belfastbiblecollege.com/study/application/php
Phone:
Maybe I’ll see some of you there!
And now it’s July – and in N. Ireland, the church goes on holiday. Well not quite: on Sunday 20 July I will be speaking at Macosquin Presbyterian Church when David and Janet Wilkinson (and little Joel) will be commissioned for a new assignment in Senegal.

As schools are on holiday, Ruth has a break from her work as a school counsellor. During the summer she will be debriefing adults and families from different mission organisations. This is with HealthLink360 who provide support for people working cross-culturally. HealthLink360 now has an office in Belfast as well as in Edinburgh. Find out more about HealthLink360 – whole person care for a global generation.

Coming up… lots of World Cup and Wimbledon still to watch (aww…Andy Murray just got knocked out!) and a wee break in Portstewart with Stephen, Rachel and Ellie – and hopefully Cathy too.

May you all know God’s presence this summer. After all, unlike the N. Ireland church, God doesn’t go on holiday.

With our love and thanks for your support

With Mum and Dad after lunch at Malone House, Belfast

With Mum and Dad after lunch at Malone House, Belfast


Wycliffe Bible Translators UK, The Clare Charities Centre, Wycombe Road, Saunderton HP14 4BF
Belfast Office: 342 Beersbridge Road, Belfast BT5 5DY N. Ireland
http://www.wycliffe.org.uk

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Moderator Rob Craig welcomed by Wycliffe UK's NI Coordinator John Young

Moderator Rob Craig welcomed by Wycliffe UK’s NI Coordinator John Young

Last Monday morning 13 January 2014, the Presbyterian Moderator Rob Craig visited the Belfast office of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK and Ireland. As one of the SSA partners of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, we like to invite current Moderators along to get a fresh insight into what goes on in Bible translation and to meet and chat to our local staff.

Celebration of Global Mission official team photograph

Celebration of Global Mission official team photograph

 

Back in October 2013, I had shared the platform with Rob at the Board of Mission Overseas Celebration of Global Mission in Cookstown so he had heard something of our work recently.

 

 

Rob’s previous overseas mission experience with OM in India and his recent Moderatorial trip to Ruanda fed into our conversations about the role of Bible translation in God’s mission to his world.

A visual presentation gave lots of opportunity for questions and discussion and the Moderator quizzed us on how Bible translation was done and the statistics of which languages have and don’t have availability to the Scriptures in their heart languages.

Rob was very honest when he talked about the range of visits that he has experienced in his Moderatorial year. Each organisation, each cause that he hears about, becomes the thing that is important… until the next one. We got a renewed appreciation of how many requests parish ministers receive from a wide range of mission and other organisations and how no one church can respond to them all.

For our part we were able to say that the ability to access and understand God’s Word in the heart language is foundational to evangelism, discipleship and church planting in every culture.

Talking with colleagues this morning, the idea we’re taking away is that mission is all about partnership and we pray that God will bless our partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and with the other SSAs – and that these partnerships will be mutually beneficial. We look forward to continuing our friendship with Rob when he returns to Kilfennan in due course.

Rob Craig with some of the Wycliffe team in Belfast

Rob Craig with some of the Wycliffe team in Belfast

Along with office staff – clockwise from left: Lynda, Bill, John, Rob, John and Marlene – Rob met Clare Orr from Newtownbreda Pres (front left) who leaves shortly for a literacy assignment in Senegal. He also heard about Lydia Hunter from Trinity Pres Bangor leaving very soon for a linguistics assignment in the Philippines and Stuart Campbell from Saintfield Road Pres currently on his GAP year in Cameroon helping in the IT department.

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… a whizz of a tour of global mission at the Meeting House on Loy Hill in Cookstown – otherwise known as 1st Cookstown Presbyterian Church.

On Thursday 24 October…

PCI Transforming Mission 2

PCI Celebration of Global Mission

… the Transforming Mission roadshow hit Cookstown after a successful first night on Tuesday at Assembly Buildings, Belfast.

First up we had the team photograph…

Celebration of Global Mission official team photograph

Celebration of Global Mission official team photograph

… followed by local minister Isaac Thompson’s gracious welcome to everyone – possibly ever so slightly embarrassing a veteran Mission Africa missionary who arrived as we were starting.

There were a number of double acts on the bill:

Uel and Cheryl: coordinated the programme beautifully, introducing and praying – and Uel reprised his excellent WISE SSAs comment from GA2013

Elizabeth and Sandra: took us on a trip to Transylvania, which as everyone knows is in Romania, but where lots of people speak Hungarian.

Rob and Karen: with Moderatorial poise and a well choreographed reference to Strictly Come Dancing, gave an excellent account of their trip to Rwanda and set us all up nicely for the upcoming World Development Appeal 2013 Let Justice Flow: Transforming Lives

The first solo spot was from Stephen from the Samburu Awareness and Action Programme in Kenya: Stephen mixed humour with pathos, Chinese roads with mud bound trucks, sensitivity with taboo subjects – and earned much respect for 25 years service in remote rural Kenya

Finally, if not chronologically so, John (that’s me) reliably informed the audience that Elvis was alive and well and translating the Bible in the Central African Republic; quoted from Nelson Mandela and Pastor Modibale; and showed the Wycliffe and Vision 2025 video

I’m looking forward to the next one!

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