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Category Archives: Wycliffe Bible Translators

A Word from our President

We are sharing a beautiful letter from Wycliffe Bible Translator’s USA president. As a parent and in-law of people of color, he speaks from the heart.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].”

— Romans 12:15, AMP

Sisters and Brothers,

Like many of you, I have watched the heart-wrenching narratives of one injustice after another that have become all too common in our country these days. We have witnessed tragic unnecessary deaths, false accusations of innocent people and insensitive public racial comments, just to name a few.

We have watched as personal pain and anger has boiled over into the streets of cities around the U.S., Canada and Europe. Kelly and I have read the words of friends on social media who have shared their pain of being black in the U.S. It’s been hard to read. We grieve for them and weep with them! I wish I could say I understand — but I can’t. I have never experienced the reality that African Americans and generations of their family have gone through and continue to encounter today.

At times, I’ve been given a mere glimpse into the pain. As you are aware, we have a multi-ethnic family, some joining by adoption and some by marriage. I recall a day when one of our kids was quite young. We were at a playground and two young boys began to make derogatory comments about our child with brown skin. I remember the emotions that Kelly and I felt — shock, pain, anger and tears.

I have heard our other kids of color talk about things that have happened to them at school that have caused pain simply because of the color of their skin. I’ve listened as another one of my kids who works in law enforcement has struggled with the brutality carried out by others in law enforcement. And now his agency wonders if,because of public outrage, they too might be targeted.

While these situations have been painful, I realize they are nothing compared to what our African American brothers and sisters regularly encounter.

I am proud to be part of an organization that believes that all people are made in the image of God. We believe it is unjust for people to not have God’s Word in a language and form they can understand. We send people to the ends of the earth so that those who are often viewed as the least of the least — not by their choosing, but simply because of the language they speak, their socio-economic position, or the color of their skin — may understand that they are of great worth and made in the image of God.

But with all my focus upon those around the world, have I neglected to focus upon the reality that in my own country, state, city, neighborhood and workplace, there are those who are unable to live fully today in the freedom that comes with the value God places on them as his crowning creation?

I am convinced that the only true solution is transformation in our hearts and minds that can only come from the one in whose image we are created. This is true for us as individuals and as a nation. We must ask God to renew our minds, giving us his perspective and aligning our thoughts with the truth of the full context of his Word.

We must also ask that our hearts reflect the mind of Christ. In turn, our attitudes, words, actions and posture are unified in Christ. I pray to that end and ask God to heal our nation. And yet, I can’t leave it there. So much of what needs to change in our country is beyond my control and even influence. However, I don’t get a “pass” in this area. In fact, I believe it has to start with me.

In Psalm 139:23-24, the Psalmist David cries out, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Lord, what needs to change in my life — my words, my attitudes, my actions? Help me have eyes to see what I do not. Help me to know what needs to change in my own life so that I can lead well — in my family, with our neighbors and in our Wycliffe community. And then help me to act upon what you show me.

As a Wycliffe community, we are diving deeper into what it looks like for us, as Wycliffe USA, to truly love one another as Christ calls us to so that the world will know we belong to him and to one another. I pray that God would give us wisdom and eyes to see how we can be a redemptive community where all women, men and families can live fully in the reality that they are made in the image of God. I pray that we would be a community that others see and want to know what makes us different. I pray that such a community would begin with me — as God continues to transform me day by day, moment by moment. Together, may we as a Wycliffe family intentionally pursue being a community that reflects God’s heart for all people.

To our African American brothers and sisters, I see you, I love you and I am so very sorry for the pain you experience because of the color of your skin. I’m so grateful for you! We stand with you during this difficult time, and we are thankful to count you as part of our Wycliffe family.

To all our staff, and particularly our staff of color, I want to affirm my commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging in our organization. May we truly become a community that together Loves God and Loves People as he intended!

Serving with you, John Chesnut President/CEO

 

Say What? 30 Years???

In August 1990, Ken and Anne took a trip to Dahlonega, Georgia to check out Wycliffe Bible Translators. One month later, we signed on the dotted line and joined this organization dedicated to translating the Bible in to every language on earth so that ALL may know God and choose to take His offer of GRACE and MERCY.

Thank you for standing with us. Together we have traversed many miles and served in a number of roles. It’s one of the best decisions we made in our lives! Time flies when you are having fun!!

 

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Spoiled and Loved

Worship, sharing stories, lessons on dealing with stress and “How to say ‘No'” were just some of the highlights of our 5 days at Wycliffe Bible Translators’ (WBT) headquarters in Orlando, Florida last week. Wycliffe’s “Stateside Connection” is a short program aimed at members who serve primarily in the USA. The purpose is to provide us with organizational tools and resources enabling us to become more efficient and to reconnect us with the home office staff, the people behind the scenes who serve so that we can serve.

Three to four times a year Ken goes to these meetings to consult with those that attend, just like we just did. He and/or one of his team members give a departmental presentation and then set up one-on-ones with people that desire it. It was great to receive training, learn more about our organizational resources and tools, and be pampered!

Anne met with the insurance and tech departments and received some great responses to her questions. Ken was able to utilize his free time and meet face-to face with colleagues from other departments.

We’re so grateful for a mission that sees the need to take care of its members! We feel ready to tackle our jobs with joy!

There were 13 of us all together as well as a few teenagers.
 

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When did you last rush towards your Bible?

Baka NT dedication - readers

Reading immediately after receiving the New Testament in their own language!

Sudan, Africa has had a rough history. Coups, civil war, terrorism, famine and other turmoils have rocked its people.

But in spite of these difficulties, many people have worked on a Bible Translation for the Baka people over the last 30 years. One such person was Rev. Bennett Marona. Invited to help translate the Bible into his mother tongue, it became a priority for him. He worked as a pastor and a translator at different times.

When war came to his village, he like thousands of other people, carried their children to what was then the country of Zaire. They walked for 7 days. Children died, people became ill, and they were hungry and thirsty.

But even while living in a refugee camp, Bible Translation continued!! What tenacity for this job!!

“I continued in this work because I wanted the Baka to hear God’s voice with their own ears, “ says Rev. Marona.

In the Fall of 2017, the Baka New Testament was finally dedicated!

At the ceremony to celebrate, Rev. Marona reported, “God is not far from us now….He is not a foreigner.” 

As the boxes of New Testaments were opened at its dedication, people rushed to the books, not wanting to wait another minute to start reading!! They immediately opened their Bibles and started reading in their own language!

When was the last time I rushed to my Bible?

Your support of Bible Translation has made this possible. Praise God with us today!

Click Shine to see a video of this fabulous story!!!

 

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Two Actions=One Watch

Graduation watch

I lifted the side flap on the canvas lunch bag. The pocket was empty. I had stashed my phone, car keys and watch in there when we went to the beach. I unpacked the trunk of the car. Soggy, sandy towels, sandy beach toys, and sandy half-eaten lunches rounded out the contents. Where was my watch? I know I had put it carefully in this pouch, but now it was no longer there and no where to be found.

I dumped out my entire purse and pawed through wallet, receipts, gum wrappers and warm lip sticks. No watch! I guess it’s possible I put it somewhere else….but I knew I hadn’t.

We all showered the salt water off of our bodies, wrung out our bathing suits and got dressed for dinner. When I told my family about the missing watch, everyone jumped up and helped me search through the car trunk and under the seats, several times asking about the last time I had seen the watch. The watch had been given to me as a graduation gift from my family for finishing my degree just last year. It was special to ALL of us. My eyes filled with tears thinking that it might be gone forever.

The tide had been coming in when we had left the beach a few hours earlier. Upon arriving to the beach we had placed our towels about 100 feet from the edge of the water. By the time we left, it was a mere 5 feet away from our gear. No one remembered anything being left on the sandy beach. If it was on the beach, it was now under the salty water and undoubtedly ruined.

The only place it could be was the parking lot where we had left our car. “Let’s drive back before getting dinner. It’s only 15 minutes away,” my husband said. I was relieved that he had suggested it knowing how hungry everyone was and not wanting to delay our dinner any more.

We drove the 15 minutes in silence. I was silently praying for a miracle. When we arrived at the parking lot, three people on bicycles were resting at the entrance of the parking lot where we had recently parked. All three were in our way, in the exact spot where we needed to stop. Ken courteously waved them by and two of them moved on. The third person waved us through. Ken pulled in to the left of where we had parked our car. The parking lot was nearly empty. We all anxiously jumped out of the car, heads down, frantically scouring the ground for the watch.

At the same time, the woman on the bicycle came driving over toward us. “Are you looking for…..” Her sentence was cut off as I pounced on my watch, its gleaming silver edge protruding from the sandy driveway. The watch had been run over and was on level with the soil which was, thankfully, sand! I couldn’t even speak! I just held it out in disbelief and joy!! “I saw it just as you arrived“, the woman shouted, joyful as well that we found my prize possession! We yelled our thanks as she drove off.

Our eight-year-old grandson was so pleased and surprised. Unbeknownst to me, he and his Papa had prayed together that the Lord would lead us to the watch minutes before we departed on our search. He was able to see the answer to his prayer in 15 short minutes.

We prayed AND we looked! Two actions. What would have happened if we had only prayed? What if we had just looked? I’m not sure what the results would have been. Had we delayed even 30 seconds later the watch would have been innocently picked up by one of the bicyclists and carried home. We would never had known its story.

This reminds me about the woman in the Bible who had 10 coins and loses one. She lights a lamp, searches for the coin, then rejoices when she finds it. We don’t read that she prayed, but she looked and she celebrated as we did. Luke 15:10 says “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” 

Every month several people groups receive the Bible, newly translated, in their own language. It may not previously been prayed over by the people, since they didn’t know what they were missing, but someone prayed over that language. Someone worked and gave them the ability to find out the way of salvation. It is theirs for the choosing. And when they find it, there is rejoicing in the presence of angels.

Thank you for making that possible. You do it month after month. Your prayers, your gifts, your hope, your action.

 

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A Terrorist is set Free

On Friday morning, 33 AD, the Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, set known terrorist Barabbas free from prison. Barabbas, an insurrectionist of the Zealots and a murderer, had been due to be crucified by local Roman authorities, but after a strange turn of events, was allowed to leave prison after having his sentence commuted.

Barabbas, known only by his first name, means Son of the Father. When asked about his freedom upon leaving the filthy prison, Barabbas, looking gaunt and dirty, had a surprised smirk on his face. “I have no idea why I was let go. But who cares! I’m ready to go and meet up with my friends and celebrate!”

When told that a man name Jesus was set to be crucified instead of him, Barabbas asked, “So, what did HE do?”

After hearing that Jesus had claimed to be the king of the Jews, Barabbas said, “It’s strange. The name Jesus means ‘Savior’. Man, I wish I’d known Him! We could have worked well together!”  Jesus, a former carpenter from the little town of Bethlehem, had made statements such as, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” as well as, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Barabbas had been convicted of killing several Roman citizens and causing riots in the city in order to overthrow the Roman government.

“Oh well,” he replied. “Better him than me!”

No word was given as to Barabbas’ future plans other than a statement of “back to my previous work” said with a wink. Jesus is set to be crucified later this day.

References: Matthew 27:15-26; Mark 15:7-15; Luke 23: 18-25; John 18:39-40; John 3:3, 14:6

 

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The Look

Everyone parent and every child knows “the Look.” You know, when the child is fidgeting in church and you turn to them and “look” at them? Or maybe it’s at the dinner table! Everyone is holding hands so you can pray and then two kids start arguing because one is squeezing the hand of the other too hard? They get “the Look” from the parent.

Stop.

Cut. It. Out.

It might look like this:

Credit: Dreamstimes.com

Or this:

Credit: business2community

When my dad gave me “the Look” or when my husband gave our girls “the Look” they usually stopped what they were doing immediately and settled down. While each of us love our children immensely, sometimes we don’t love their behavior. “The Look” gets them back on track.

In John 18, we read the account of Peter who denies Jesus three times when asked if he was a follower of Jesus. The book of Luke (22:61-62)  records that Jesus “looked straight at Peter” after he refused to admit three times to others that he was a follower of Jesus.

The difference between my parenting look and this look of Jesus was that this was not a gesture of condemnation. Instead, it was one of complete love and of one who knew Peter’s heart. He knew that Peter loved Him deeply, he knew that Peter would deny Him (he had warned him), yet he still loved him.

What struck me again was the difference between Peter’s remorse over his sin and Judas’ actions after he had turned Jesus in. While Judas immediately ran out and hung himself, Peter didn’t. He wept bitterly, but he still came to the place where Jesus was hung on a cross. We know from later chapters and church history that Peter went on to be a great leader and writer in the church.

Why the difference?

Because one had a relationship with Jesus and the other didn’t. Judas hung out with Jesus and looked like he was a disciple of Him, but his heart had never really changed. He was the same sinful Judas, whereas Peter spent the same amount of time with Jesus and had a changed life. Yes, he was loud and impulsive (sounds like me) but little by little, he turned different areas over to the Lordship of his Savior.

We don’t have the privilege of physically walking and talking with Jesus, but we do have the Holy Spirit with us here on earth who guides us as we have a relationship with the entire Trinity.

We have been given God’s very words to read and study so we can learn from people like Judas, Peter, and even Jesus Himself. That’s why we are committed to getting God’s Word in to the hands of the Bibleless people of the world!

Who will you be today? Choose to be a Peter…a follower…a sojourner. Then when you get “the Look” you’ll know it is one full of love, not condemnation, and you too can look forward to the day when you see Jesus face to face.

 

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Celebrate with us! You did it!

Here is a short video from Wycliffe Bible Translators, USA president Bob Creson. This is the progress we made in giving everyone God’s Word in their mother tongue in 2016. Your prayers and support made it possible! Let’s praise God together!

 

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On Weddings and Funerals

Churches: For weddings or funerals.... Credit: Annie Spratt @ unsplash

Churches: For weddings or funerals….
Credit: unsplash

Attending someone else’s wedding is good for my marriage. It reminds me of all of the vows I once made publicly 33 years ago.

Attending someone else’s funeral is good for me too. It reminds me to think of how I want to be remembered after I die.

This week we went to a neighbor’s funeral who, along with her husband, was also a long time Bible Translator with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We listened as her daughters, sons-in-grace (not “sons-in-law!), and grandchildren regaled us with stories of her crazy antics and her love for her family and God. She was a nurse, a Bible translator, and an author later in life. A prominent speaker, she and her husband had many stories of how God had worked in their village with the Awa people of Papua New Guinea.

What resonated with me were phrases such as, “She didn’t worry about offending people, but about offending God” and “She told everyone she met about the love of God.” There were no conversations about how clean her house was, whether she was a good cook, or what her favorite TV shows were.

God and family.

Stephen Covey, author of the popular book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests to his readers to imagine their own funeral. Think about who will attend it. What will they say about your life? What did you stand for? Who were you as an individual?

The older I get, the more I see the importance about being intentional about my time. While I have a vague “bucket list” that I want to complete, what is paramount is serving God and family. Doing that well takes conversations with all involved. Using my gifts to do something that lasts beyond my own short life is most important.

So if you ask, “What are you doing this year?” my answer is “Supporting my family and serving God.” Being available for my extended family is intermingled with my service to Wycliffe Bible Translators, Bible Study Fellowship and volunteering at my church, Forest Hill. Hopefully, by the grace of God, that will come out at my own funeral.

 

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Throwback Packing

 

Circa June 1997

Circa June 1997

Just came across this photo from 1997. We had just moved into our newly built home in North Carolina three months prior and now we were packing to return to Indonesia. Some of our stuff was staying in the house for renters, some was being stored off site and the rest I was trying to fit in our bags. Each item was a decision making moment and it was EXHAUSTING! We knew it would be three or four years until we looked at everything again. Upon the advise of my husband, I called a friend with years of experience and she helped me decide what we needed and what we could live without. I really don’t miss doing this!

 
 

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