The Tide

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The following words seem appropriate to the work of Bible translation in our time:

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat.
And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
(William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3)

More accurate statistics on the need for Bible translation, technological advances, greater degree of cooperation among Bible translation agencies, new innovations in the methodology of Bible translation—these are some of the reasons why we are extremely positive about opportunities to accelerate the work of eradicating Bible poverty.

Praise God for these God-given opportunities to see many more people experience what someone once said: “Jesus comes to me through the pages of the Bible.”
Thank you for being part of this work that is close to the heart of God.

Véroni Krüger, President

Bringing Heaven to Earth

One of the amazing gifts of working with The Word for the World is the opportunity to listen and learn from our leaders, who have cultural perspectives vastly different from my own. While attending my first regional training event for TWFTW, I was convicted by one such leader, Davies Malembeka (now our Southern Africa Regional Director), when he started teaching by saying:

“God did not save you so that you can get to heaven. You have been saved to bring heaven to earth.”

These words, said to a group of about sixty Bible translators, many coming from difficult living situations in rural Africa, had a tangible impact in the room. We were encouraged to “be the kingdom of God” right where we live—to not only look forward to own salvation, but to engage in the mission of God now, and to be lights in dark places.

We are not translating the Bible as a means to ensure our salvation, or to prove ourselves to God. NO! We translate the Scriptures to see people and their communities transformed—to see the Kingdom of Heaven expanded on earth!

While teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus says to His Father, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). God is moving amongst people all over the world and you are intrinsically connected with this global work God is doing to expand His kingdom on earth. Whether you are a believer anywhere in the world, a pastor in the developing world, or a potential teacher, translator, or consultant--you have been saved, AND you can help bring heaven to earth!

Get Involved!

Joel Brown

 

Technology in Bible Translation

We live in an incredible time of technological advancement. Humans can send messages across the globe in seconds. There are literally billions* of updates, likes, tweets, messages, and texts sent and received every day. We can even utilize interplanetary communication to control robots on Mars. In the face of the radical changes introduced by this modern take on human interconnectedness and social networking, many wonder if our globalized path of advancement is good? Has technology pulled us together or pushed us apart? Are we forgetting what it is to be human? Have we left God behind?

Two-thousand years ago, in his own turbulent times of question and change, the apostle Paul encouraged his young mentee, Timothy, saying, “God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Here, at The Word for the World, we believe that we are empowered by the same spirit. We serve the same, unchanging God as did Paul, and we do not look forward with fear. Rather, with power, love, and self-control, we embrace the times in which we live knowing “that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

Over the course of obtaining a Diploma in Bible Translation, we help our translators find ways to use technology to bring glory to God. We train our translators in computer-aided translation. They receive tools to help create dictionaries, orthographies, and publications. When a community needs audio Bibles; or scripture for radio; or mother-tongue audio for films; or digital literacy resources; or access to resources from other projects, we find ways to partner, empower, and enable those efforts.

You may find it surprising to learn how much technology we use for translation in the developing world. Mobile computing and global connectivity have come to stay, and we cannot ignore it. Know that we take the discipleship of our translators seriously, and this means helping them and their communities discover Godly ways to use technology for the expansion of His Heavenly Kingdom.

God is not surprised by human advancement.

In TWFTW, we have a wide range of technophiles. We see translators pulling the plastic tape off a laptop for the first time, and have others writing project management software for their teams. God has been using new technologies to advance his kingdom for millennia, and our modernity is no different. Please join us in helping train translators who can help shape the unavoidable technological growth in their communities into something that is truly a light and life-giving blessing from God!

Get Involved!

Joel Brown

*Further reading for internet stats
https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/47-facebook-statistics/
http://www.internetlivestats.com/twitter-statistics/
http://www.pewinternet.org/2008/04/24/electronic-communication/

Eyes of Light

Soli New Testament to be Released Soon!

Jesus made some pretty profound statements while he was here on this earth. Often times, a simple-seeming metaphor is not just food for thought, but a complex, sixteen-course, dining adventure for your mind! One of the great tasks for a Bible translator is to unravel these complexities and to make them clear in his or her own language and culture.

While working through the Gospel of Matthew, Soli translators working in Chongwe, Zambia got stuck on one such passage. In chapter 6, Jesus compares our eyes to lamps and says, “if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” The Soli words for lamps connotate electricity, wires, and switches, so do we have Jesus talk about turning on and off lights? Do we change the metaphor or educate about Jewish lamps? How can we say the same thing differently? And, the questions are not only about a word, but the concepts too—how can light be darkness? Is this talking about the medically blind or the spiritually lost? What does God want to say to the Soli people?

Well, He not only gave insight to the translators but this passage became a larger metaphor for the project itself. Instead of talking about physical lamps and bulbs, the translators were inspired to talk about “sources” of light and darkness. This took on special meaning for the translators, because the Soli Bible Translation project has been a source of light shining in some dark places and situations.

You see, these translators have been working through a period of drought—physically and spiritually. The Soli are subsistence farmers; life with limited water has increased economic hardship and decreased general health. Even though Soli people and churches have embraced Christ-like values, preaching and counseling against polygamy and ancestor worship, hard times breed temptations to seek help anywhere, anyway, and anyhow. The spiritual darkness that was pushed back when the Soli started turning to Jesus Christ has been creeping back into daily life.

The spiritual battle is not just a generalized one either. Over the course of the past few years, the translation team itself has been beset with tragedy. A founding team member died from health-related issues. Another translator was poisoned while working with local churches—later saying that, “I really felt the big man standing in for me.” Recently, members of the translation committee were involved in a horrible car accident—two persons dying from the injuries. However, the team has faithfully sought after God in the face of these troubles, and have found the peace and strength needed to carry on.

Alongside their work completing the New Testament, and using skills they’ve learned while pursuing Diplomas in Bible Translation, the Soli translators have been able: to release a Soli version of the Gospel of Mark, translate and show the Jesus film in Soli, support radio stations and newsletters with translated Soli scripture; begin to gather support for a literacy program; and support local church ministry endeavors. In so many ways, they have become “eyes” for the Soli community, looking into the Bible and revealing God’s truth in deeply meaningful ways. The translators have become a source of light in their dark times.

Now, with great joy and celebration, we get to announce the release and dedication of the Soli New Testament soon. The Soli Translation Committee has received a truckload of New Testaments, and for the first time in their history, the Soli people—children and adults, teachers and students; pastors and leaders—will have the New Testament in their own heart language.

This is a landmark occasion for the Soli people! When crowds were first able to see and hear the Jesus film in Soli, many were awestruck, saying, “Jesus speaks my language!” Now, with the entire New Testament available, Jesus’ powerful and oft enigmatic words can be heard and understood in new and amazing ways! Yes, Jesus speaks Soli and now the New Testament messages of truth, love, and light are available for the Soli people to understand clearly—in their own language.

Please, pray for the Soli Translation Project. Pray for the families affected by the recent accident. Pray for safety and wisdom for the translators as they continue to the Old Testament. Pray that the hearts, minds, and eyes of the Soli people will be open to the light of Jesus Christ!
If you want to get involved, start here.

Joel Brown

A Thread of Resounding Joy

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King. (Ps 98.4-7)

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (The angels in Luke 2.14)

Joy to the world
The Lord has come
Let earth receive her King
(Isaac Watts, 1719)

These represent the thread of joy experienced over the ages at the prospect of the revelation of God, climaxing in the joyous response when Jesus was born.

Similar expressions of joy are repeated many times over when people receive the Word of God in their own language for the first time. Praise God that we have been able to bring Scripture to people groups with a total number of speakers close to 32 million.

As we celebrate the coming of the King, let us remember those who have not yet heard the Good News about Jesus Christ.

Please consider a Christmas gift to help bring His Word to people groups who have not heard the Good News yet.

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Matengo Miracles

A few weeks ago, we told you about John Kapuku, a 90 year-old Matengo-speaking man who received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. You can read more about him here. Three months after this, he passed away and went to be with the Lord.

After he passed away, we received a phone call from one of the Matengo translators, Eda Lupogo, and a Matengo pastor. They told us that in the last few months of his life, he was full of joy such as he had never experienced before he found the love of Jesus. He said that he had seen Jesus through the Word of God, and also through those of us who brought him food and clothing.

Since the day we first visited him months ago to give him food and clothing, Eda had been going to see him to pray with him, care for him, and read the Bible with him. Praise God for John’s life and for the peace, love, and joy he experienced before he died!

The Matengo pastors give thanks to God for their people coming to Jesus and their lives being transformed, just like John’s. Please continue to pray for those working on the rest of the Matengo translation so that they might have access to all of God’s Word in their heart language!

The Word of God in Ethiopia!

Two translation teams in Ethiopia have completed the translation and checking of the books of Exodus and Ruth over the past few weeks! There are 22 ongoing translation projects in Ethiopia at the moment, all at various stages of completion. All of these are first-time translations in which the communities have not had access to Scripture in their own languages before.

How exciting to think that soon this will change! Just last year, the complete Maale Bible was launched, and all 121,000 Maale speakers can now read the Word of God in their mother tongue.

The Guji translation team also made progress with the checking of I & II Chronicles, as well as I Kings. The Guji New Testament was released in 2008, and they only have one book of the Bible left until the whole Guji Bible can be distributed!

Please continue to pray for the Guji translators and the consultants who are working with them as they near the end of their long and arduous journey to bring the Word of God to their people in their mother tongue.

Joy Over the Sakachep New Testament

Recently, volunteers comprised of family, friends and supporters gathered at TWFTW office in Southeast Asia to receive a truck load of 15,000 freshly printed Sakachep New Testaments.

Some days later the Sakachep people turned out in large numbers to attend the launch of their brand new New Testaments. There was great excitement between both young and old and many people eagerly purchased their own copy as can be seen in the video above.

Now the 35,000 Sakachep people can find the treasures in God's Word for themselves. "Your Word is more precious than gold." Ps 19.10.

The Word for the World is continuing to also translate the Old Testament. Please pray for the team and consider helping to support the Sakachep translators, who are based in SE Asia.

Where Christ is, There is Freedom

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Geresu is one of the translators working on the Basketo Old Testament in Ethiopia. He is married and a father of four children, one girl and three boys. He came to Christ in 1981 due to his father’s illness.

Geresu´s father was critically ill and it had become known that one of the best ways for people to get out of any kind of physical and spiritual problem was to become a Christian (or a Misona, as the Basketo say).

When Geresu saw that his father was healed of his illness after becoming a believer, he decided to also give his life to Christ and follow Jesus! Geresu himself had many life challenges that he would like to be freed from, and Christ did the same for him.

Geresu has been serving for a long time now as a leader in the Kale Heywit Church in Ethiopia, and was also one of the translators for the Basketo New Testament for the past 15 years. They are now working hard to translate the Old Testament for their people!

There are well over 90,000 Basketo speakers in southern Ethiopia and they are desperate to have a complete Bible in their mother tongue. They value their New Testament, but need the whole Bible to be translated in their own language. Their culture has been adversely affected by years of demon worship and witchcraft and they sorely need to the freedom that Christ brings!

You can make a difference to this people group through sponsoring the translation team here.