Context of Scripture

One of the important parts of TWFTW’s work is partnership! The Word for the World is a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies International, or FOBAI. A few weeks ago, FOBAI had their regular annual meeting, but for the first time ever it took place in Jerusalem, hosted by the Jerusalem Centre for Bible Translators. The theme of the conference was “The Contexts of Scripture in the Land of the Bible”.

For obvious reasons, Israel offers significant resources for Bible translators! It is a huge advantage for a translator or consultant to be able to see and experience the land of the Bible. JCBT, as an accredited and established Hebrew University study program for translators, with its focus on the study of the language as well as the land, has been an innovator in the forefront of such training for translators and consultants. As they themselves say, “What better investment than to support a translator who will provide accurately and naturally translated scriptures for a whole people group!”

Janet Morgan, FOBAI Chairperson wrote: “I am sure that our immersion intellectually, emotionally and physically in the Context of Scripture will be inspiring and impact members’ work well into the future ”.


Piercing the Darkness

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In the region around Lake Abaya in Ethiopia is the language community that speaks Baiso. Soon, the Baiso-speaking people will have the Word of God in their heart language for the first time!

One local elder, who is a member of the Baiso review committee, had this to say about their excitement at having a Baiso Bible: “I and my community are now sensing our own identity as people who are loved by God, and becoming part of a global community through the Word of God. We were locked in the Island from the rest of the people group, and lived in darkness, worshiping lifeless gods. Now we are enjoying God’s light as we anticipate having the Bible in our heart language.”

How incredible that the light of God’s Word will soon be piercing the darkness and bringing life and salvation to the Baiso communities!

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105, NIV

Life-Giving Water

Photo courtesy of Rafal Cichawa

Photo courtesy of Rafal Cichawa

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them…” Romans 10:14, NIV

And how can people truly understand the Word of God unless they can read or hear it in their mother tongue?

There is a man in Ethiopia named Galaso Gambazo. He is 45, married, and has 5 children. He heard the Word of God in his heart language (Dawro) for the first time through an evangelist. The story he heard was from John chapter 4, the one about the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the well. The evangelist was reading and explaining this story to Galaso Gambazo, telling him about the water which gives life and never runs out, unlike ordinary water. Mr. Gambazo understood what was told to him and he came to believe in Jesus Christ as his personal savior. His life was transformed by the Word of God, which was translated into his heart language. God is always at work through his Word!

Rosemarie Chimbiti's Story

One of the main focuses in TWFTW is training and empowering! Rosemary Chimbiti is the wife of Robert Chimbiti, the national director for TWFTW Zimbabwe. She started our Diploma in Bible Translation in 2015, and although she was intimidated at first, she has persevered and excelled! The DBT (Diploma in Bible Translation) is comprised of several components designed to train students to engage with the Biblical text, become familiar with the historical context, and learn to get down to the meaning of the text. All of this is crucial to producing a clear, natural, and accurate translation of the Bible.

Over the last 33 years 1,024 people from 27 countries have participated in TWFTW’s training program, and 353 students from 130 different language groups are currently enrolled. We are extremely blessed to play such a vital role in their development and to be able to help them come to a place where they can translate the Bible into their own languages.

Well done, Rosemary! She is doing the DBT while also taking care of their children, running a home, and supporting Robert in his own work with TWFTW. We are extremely proud of you!

A Tribute to TWFTW Translators, Featuring a Team in South East Asia

The whole translation team (all with Hindu background) accepted Jesus as their saviour. The Gospel is spreading wherever we go and changing communities. Entire villages are hearing the Gospel for the first time. Translators keep on working, despite bad weather, power failures, illness and local opposition.

It is the beginning of a great Revival in all six languages groups that started translation work in April 2016. Many people came to know Jesus as Saviour and were baptized.

The Key to the Door

When a blind man who was 94 years old received the Word of God in his mother tongue (Ndendeule) and it was read to him, he believed and was healed from his blindness. He and his family accepted Jesus as their saviour. Their local community was intrigued by this miracle. However, his body was still frail and sick.

A few days later in a dream, he saw a house with a beautiful door. Someone with a huge key opened the door for him, saying “welcome home.” He woke up feeling very sick but refused to be taken to hospital by his family. He told them that his “safari” was coming to an end. His only request was to be taken outside the next morning to see the sunrise.

The following morning after he watched the sunrise, he “walked through the open door.”

This was the last testimony of Maulidi Kimbunga from Tanzania. What will yours be?

Opportunities

The Word for the World is an organic machine with many parts, and many people all doing what they are called to do so that the great work of Bible translation can be accomplished. But the parts of the machine are not only those who work full-time in TWFTW! You are an equally important partner in this work, and without you it could not be accomplished.

How, you ask? There are several ways in which you can work alongside us so that every person in the world can have the Word of God in their heart language. Here are a few of them:

  1. Pray: This may seem like something we all say just to say it, but prayer is honestly the most effective way for you to be involved. Any kind of missions work is on the front lines of spiritual warfare, and your prayers are crucial to TWFTW work.
     
  2. Social media: TWFTW is active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Come and connect with us and help us to spread the word about the work we’re doing. You can also sign up for a monthly email newsletter that will keep you up to date on what we’re doing and how the work is going.
     
  3. Donate: We have several options available for you to donate to TWFTW and partner with us financially, thereby enabling us to train translators, facilitate consultations, and get the Word of God into the hands of the people who need it.
     
  4. Volunteer: There are multiple volunteer opportunities with TWFTW, particularly for English teachers, computer teachers, academic lecturers and supervisors, communications and technical experts, IT trainers, and financial/bookkeeping trainers, among others. Contact us now!

Only when we all work together can we accomplish the vision of God’s Word for every person in their heart language.

Training in Slovakia

Although it may seem that we’re all about the end result of having completed first-time translations of the Bible, a huge part of our work is training! Part of TWFTW’s vision is empowering nationals to do the work of Bible translation. This means that an incredible amount of effort and funds go into training mother tongue speakers to do translation work so that they can translate the Word of God into their own language. This results in a much clearer, much more natural, and much more accurate translation than we could have achieved otherwise.

Earlier this year, TWFTW had a highly successful training session in Slovakia. We focused on the subject of Biblical Exegesis of the Old Testament (“exegesis” is the explanation or interpretation of a text, which is critical for successful Bible translation). The students involved in the training found the lectures interesting and helpful, and they were enthusiastic about doing their assignments.

The next training event in Slovakia will most probably be in April. Please pray with us that it will go well and that the right lecturers will be found for the classes! Together we will press on until every person has the Word of God in their heart language.

Many Hands Make Light Work

“Many hands make light work.” – John Heywood

Last year in July, we had the wonderful opportunity to launch and distribute the first-time translation of the complete Bible in Maale. The speakers of Maale live in an area of Ethiopia known as Maaleland, and around 10,000 people from all over the area attended the launch. However, our work in Ethiopia is far from over!

Starting on February 5th, Nel Claassen, a consultant with TWFTW, will be working with the Guji and Gedeo translation teams in Ethiopia to consult on several books which they have finished translating. The process of Bible translation is a slow and steady one, involving many different people with many different skills. But step by step, verse by verse, and book by book, the work will be completed.

Please pray for the translators and for Nel as they begin the consultation!