Join me in giving God’s Word this #GivingTuesday! I’m partnering with the Saare people in Nigeria to help translate and publish the first chapters of Scripture in their language. Visit wycliffe.org/givingtuesday or call 1-800-WYCLIFFE to learn more.
Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint – some of them are so hard to live with – but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, Lord, the grace to tell them so.
—-the prayer of a 17th Century Nun
Just a bit of humor for your day….
It was only in the last decade that I was made aware that there was a need for Bible Translations for the deaf. I always thought that deaf people could just read any book and understand it. Why do they need their own Bible?
My ignorance might be shared with others but it was still a subject I knew nothing about! And why would I? I’m not deaf nor do I know anyone who is nor can I speak Sign Language. In fact, when I write “sign language” I’m referring to the American Sign Language, just one of up to 300 different sign languages used around the world.
A recent Wycliffe post called “Every Sign Matters” explained the need for a Bible for the deaf:
Sign languages and spoken languages have completely different syntaxes. The way that we order words in spoken languages differs from the way that words and phrases are ordered in sign languages. And spoken languages are phonetic, relying on connections between text and sound. “For Deaf people … they need something that’s visual. … As hearing people read, there’s a connection between text and sound. For us as Deaf people, we cannot hear and we’re never going to have that connection between the sound and the text. … Visually seeing the hand movement in sign language is very important for us.”
I encourage you to click this link and read the whole article. It was fascinating to see how challenging it is to get the translation right!
Would you pray now for those doing this important work?
We were blessed to get away for nearly a week to the TN and NC mountains. We stayed in a place that gave a good price for missionaries and pastors to rest at. Rest we did. Lots of reading, short hikes, and drives on winding roads just talking was so good for us. We feel ready to return to work and serve our Wycliffe Bible Translation members once again.
Thank you for standing with us, year after year!
Distancing socially means distancing physically. We’ve all limited touching others for the last 6 months and it is not a good thing other than keeping us alive [tongue in cheek].
I’ve often read that a person needs about 13 touches and hugs a day in order to thrive. We may survive without them, but we won’t thrive. I for one, am looking forward to giving warm hugs to others, especially my single friends who might not be getting enough these days.
Jesus did a lot of touching in his short three years of ministry. My friend, Diana, made this list of all of them from the Gospels.
- Mtt. 8:3 (A leper) “Jesus reached out His hand and touched him.”
- Mtt 8: 15 (Peter’s mother-in-law) “He reached out and touched her hand.”
- Mtt 9:25 (Jairus’ daughter) “He went in and took the girl by the hand.”
- Mtt 14:31 (Peter) “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.”
- Mtt 17:7 (Peter, James and John) “But Jesus came and touched them.”
- Mtt. 19:15 (the children) “When He had placed his hands on them, He went on from there.”
- Mtt 20:34 (Two blind men) “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.”
- Mark 1:31 (Peter’s mother-in-law) “So He went up to her, took her hand and helped her up.”
- Mark 1:40 (the man with leprosy) “He reached out HIs hand and touched the man.”
- Mark 5:41 (Jairus’ daughter) “He took her by the hand…”
- Mark 7:33 (the deaf mute) “Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue.”
- Mark 8:23 (the blind man) “He took the blind man by the hand…and put His hands on him…Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes.”
- Mark 9:26 (the demon possessed boy) “But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet.”
- Mark 9:36 (the little child) “Taking the child in his arms…”
- Mark 10:16 (little children) “And He took the children in His arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them)
- Luke 4:40 (the people who were sick) “and laying hands on each one, He healed them.”
- Luke 5:13 (the leper) “Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.”
- Luke 7:14 (the dead man from Nain) “Then He went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on.”
- Luke 8:9 (Jairus’ daughter) “But He took her by the hand..”
- Luke 13:14 (the bent over woman) “then He put His hand on her.”
- Luke 14:4 (a man suffering from abnormal swelling in his body) “so taking hold of the man, He healed him.”
- Luke 22:51 (Malchus) “And He touched the man’s ear and healed him.”
- John 9:6 (the blind man) “He made some mud with the saliva and put it on the man’s eyes.”
- John 13:5 (the disciples) “…began to wash the disciple’s feet”
- John 20:27 (Thomas) “Reach out your hand and put it in my side”
What can we do when we can’t physically touch people? Phone calls, coffee from afar, have them over for dinner on your back porch, write a note….
I know that reading the Bible each day I feel a touch from God when He speaks to me in the way I need to hear it most. Jesus touches me with Joy when I think about spending eternity with God because Jesus died on the cross for me.
How can we touch others this week?
What do you think Jesus would do during a pandemic?
Fear is normal for us mortal beings. God has created us with emotions and when I read the many Bible verses that talk about fear, I am reminded that I am in good company with that particular one! Men and woman have suffered from fear for hundreds of years.
Fear grabs me when someone jumps out from behind a door. It also sneaks in when I’m home alone and can’t figure out what that bump in the night was. Watching the news the last several months can bring more fear than hope at times.
Knowing that the world is suffering together under a pandemic, some terrific writers at Wycliffe Bible Translators have made devotional so that we can tackle our fears together and not just the virus.
Click here to join me! Let’s replace our fears with peace!
We get to observe many Seniors in our organization. Often, someone knows them from decades ago and shares stories of the wonderful ways they contributed to the Bible Translation task before they retired.
When we were recently in Pennsylvania helping to care for Anne’s mom, Anne was sharing with a visiting nurse about what a fabulous piano player her mom was. She wanted the nurse to see beyond the aging woman in front of her.
John E. Roberts wrote a beautiful poem about growing old.
They say that I am growing old
I’ve heard them say it times untold
In language plain and bold
But I’m not growing old
This frail old shell in which I dwell
Is growing old I know full well
But I’m not growing old.
What if my hair has turned gray
Gray hair is honorable, they say
What if my eye sight’s growing dim
I can still see to follow Him
Who sacrificed His life for me
There on the cross of Calvary
Why should I care if time’s old plow
Has dug some furrows in my brow.
Another house not made with hand
Awaits me in the glory land.
My hearing may not be as keen
As in the past, it may have been
Still I can hear my Savior say
Come faltering child, this is the way.
The outward man, do what I can
To lengthen out this life’s short span
Shall perish and return to dust
As everything in nature must.
But the inward man the Scriptures say
Ah, the inward man
Is growing stronger every day.
Then how can I be growing old’
I’m safe within the Saviour’s fold
‘Er long my soul shall fly away
And leave this tenement of clay
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize
I’ll meet you on the streets of gold
And prove that I’m not growing old.
Thank you for supporting us as we serve the wonderful servants of God of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
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
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!!
We lived in Southeast Asia for 10 years, serving in an International School, starting in the early 1990’s. Our luggage weight was limited when we traveled so we had to be careful about each thing we packed. We would not return to the States for three or four years. But we also had to bring items that we knew we could not purchase in our new country.
One of those items we always tried to bring with us were Ziplock bags! These bags will still rather new and as well were expensive since no “knock offs” had yet been manufactured. But they were so good to have in a country with great humidity and lots of tiny ants.
I would purchase one or two boxes of large Ziplocks and a few small ones, take them out of the boxes and lay them down in a suitcase. Then, I would use them very surreptitiously while overseas. My family knew that if they got a Ziplock in their lunchbox, it had to come home with them!
I would then take the dirty, used plastic bag and wash it out in hot, soapy water. I’d hang it up in our kitchen. After it was dry, I would carefully fold it up and put it away to be reused. I never put something in the bag, like raw chicken, because that might contaminate it permanently and I needed to reuse this bag. Those bags would last for years, but would finally start to break down little by little.
Fast foward 10-20 years…one of my daughters was dating a guy and when he came to stay at our home, he was surprised to see Ziplock bags drying around my kitchen. “Why do you rewash Ziplocks?”, he’d ask. I felt kind of sheepish answering him…it seemed like I was so poor or backwards! But then I’d explain how they were “like gold” to us in the past.
Eventually I started to throw out the small Ziplock bags, even though my family would still come in to the kitchen, emptying out their lunch boxes and asking, “Can I throw the bag out or do you want this?”
But the large bags? No way. If they are “clean”, I still wash those things and hang them up to reuse. Why? Can’t I afford more bags? Yes, but those things are perfectly good to use and it just feels wasteful to me to throw them out.
The other day I laughed as I went through the Aldi ad. They now sell reusable “Ziplock” bags! Recycling has caught up with my frugal ways and it’s now “cool” to reuse, rather than throw out.
Hmmm. for once I am ahead of the game.