A purpose-filled life

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Nel Claassen is a consultant working with the TWFTW.

She was introduced to the concept of Bible translation while studying theology. She did a specialized course in Bible translation after completing her theological studies.

TWFTW is a Bible translation organization that works only in languages in which the Bible has not been translated. The organization empowers indigenous speakers to translate God's Word into their own language. "Who is able to speak a language better than a person born into it?"

According to Nel, this method is more effective, time-wise as well as money-wise. "A lot of money is saved because it is not necessary to accommodate a foreign missionary family at great cost. Expatriates also have to spend many years learning to speak the language. It takes a trained team of indigenous speakers 3 years to translate the New Testament, and 8 years for the Old Testament."

Nel also spent considerable time in Israel studying Biblical Hebrew. She consults teams translating the Old Testament.

Her many travels to different places have not always been as idyllic. She lost her only child, a son of 20, while she was working in the Comoros. "So many of us on the mission field have suffered severe personal losses. Therefore, I maintain, if the Lord does not call you to be a missionary - do not go!”

Nel recently returned from four weeks of consultation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She says that to her, the greatest privilege is working with God's Word, the greatest gift is the Pentateuch, and working on Genesis is always a revelation.

Even though successful, it was a stressful time, as both her mom and niece were ill during this time. Communication was problematic, which made Nel feel as if she was constantly stumbling through the dark.

While in Ethiopia, she worked with three new teams: Borna, Yemsa and Basketo. She was blessed with two assistants to help her. The Yemsa team completed consultation on Genesis. The Basketo completed Ruth, Obadiah, Esther and Jonah.

Nel is thankful for all the support she receives - through prayer or financially!

In 1 Samuel 30:24 and 25 King David laid down the principle that all share in the spoils of battle. We are in this together! Grace and peace to all.

Nel Claassen, TWFTW Consultant

 

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With God, anything is possible!

Continual training of translators form a crucial part of Bible translation. In some areas in Ethiopia, the trainers encounter many difficult situations. The roads, infrastructure and poor weather conditions can make it difficult to reach translation teams.

The knowledge that God is the provider, and that He makes a way where there seems to be none, keeps the dedicated members of the TWFTW focused on the goal of eradicating Bible poverty in Ethiopia. Therefore, they press forward to complete the task set before them.

In Ethiopia, TWFTW is currently busy with 23 translation projects. That is 23 language groups that are yearning to have the Bible in their heart language for the first time! We are so thankful that the Maale Bible was recently completed, launched and distributed!

Please continue your support through prayer!

“…I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

A Soul-Saving Endeavor!

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Bible translation consultation is a process in which translators and people with advanced training in Biblical languages work together to ensure that new translations convey the meaning of the original as accurately as possible. Earlier this year Joel Brown was part of a consultation team checking the Baiso translation of the New Testament. Nearly three years ago, he had the opportunity to help teach phonetics, phonology and orthography to these very same translators and was privileged to visit a church in the region where the Baiso people live.

The writing system for the Baiso language is still being developed and there are as yet no printed books in the Baiso language. In addition to their work of translating the Bible, the team of four translators have poured themselves into developing a writing system. They are using the Bible portions they have been translating to promote mother tongue literacy in their community.

The Baiso team have completed the final consultation on the New Testament. They will spend the next year proofreading and typesetting the first publication ever to be released in their own language!

“A multi-denominational, community-supported, culture-preserving, soul-saving endeavor – The Baiso New Testament! I feel amazingly blessed to have played even a small part in this monumental achievement. Praise God for what He is doing in Ethiopia!”

Joel Brown – TWFTW, consultant in training

Touching and Changing Hearts!

Hudumo Dimosha is an elderly man. His mother tongue is Maalegna. The Maalegna speaking people settled in Kamba many years ago. A literacy program was established in Kamba, near the border of Maale, South West Ethiopia. Hudumo inspired Maale church leaders to participate in the literacy program.

Hudumos’s children taught the people of Kamba how to read and write. Many participants of this program were not Christians. While learning to read and right, they used the Bible as a text. They have come to understand the message of the Bible in their own heart language. The truth of the Gospel was clearly communicated and touched their hearts!

More than 20 churches were planted. In places like Maale, where literacy programs are combined with Bible distribution, we see effective Bible engagement that results in transforming people’s lives.

Tamene Lale, Maalegna Bible translator, TWFTW Ethiopia

 

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Transformation From Generation to Generation

“What I find incredible and what really touched my heart is that this work that we are doing will be going from generation to generation; it will never end,” said Tago, one of the Basketo translators in Ethiopia. He and his team members, Abate and Tezera, recently completed the final consultation of 1 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah with the help of TWFTW consultant Nel Claassen. This means that these books are almost ready to go to print and is an exciting milestone for the team.

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The Basketo translation of the Old Testament is 28% complete. Since the project started, the impact on the community has been incredible. “Before, there was a resistance to the gospel, and even violence because of it. But because of Bible translation, the door for sharing the gospel is open. People are now asking for it,” said Tezera. “There is a pride that has developed because of Bible translation, because they recognise that they are important enough for God to have His Word in their language.”

Abate also said that a Basketo education program has even started because of the project. “This has given them an opportunity for a dictionary in their own language, something they’ve never had before. It is only because of Bible translation that this could happen. It makes the language precious, and it makes the people extremely happy.”

The impact that Bible translation is having on the Basketo people and the transformation that is happening in every sphere of their society is truly amazing. Your partnership with us is changing history, one people group at a time.

 

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Language: the Human Essence

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“When we study human language, we are approaching what some might call the ‘human essence’…” -Noam Chomsky

Language plays an integral part in our lives, to an extent that we sometimes aren’t aware of, especially when we speak a widespread language such as English or French. Our world caters to our linguistic needs and we don’t think about what it must be like to not fully understand what we hear or read. Our identities, linguistically and otherwise, are respected and provided for. When we go to church, we are spoken to in our first language. When we read the Bible, we read it in our first language.

What if you are a Meqa speaker in Ethiopia, with only 1% of the entire Bible (3% of the New Testament) translated, and not even printed yet? Or a Matengo speaker, with only 10% of the Bible (44% of the New Testament) translated?

Think of the nuanced complexities of the Word of God – and now imagine having to read it in a second, third, fourth, or even fifth language. Imagine feeling like God does not speak your language – does not understand that very crucial, underlying aspect of your identity and your culture.

That is what we seek to change. To learn more and get involved, start here.

-Veronique Kruger

Soli Deo Gloria!

A couple of weeks ago our minister gave a sermon on Jesus telling his disciples that one can tell a mountain to go and jump in the sea and it will be done. That reminded me of a message from the International President of The Word for the World on the same subject, saying that he knew how it could be done: by taking a shovel and a wheel-barrow, going to the mountain, and saying: “Thou shalt be removed!”, and then start working on it.
 
Looking back on my history with TWFTW, I can still see us going to Malawi (the Funnell family), Ethiopia (the van As family) and Zaire (yours truly), with our imaginative spades and wheel barrows and much faith in a good God, doing just that. In hindsight I can only testify about the abundant blessings of God on the work accomplished in His Name, and the fact that he gave us excellent leaders to direct and drive this wild cart and keep it (and us) on track! And we did have some serious road works on the way.
 
I always say I work for God with TWFTW, because at the end of the day one’s walk depends on obedience to God. Herewith I add that there is no other organisation that I would rather work with. Our vision in TWFTW is to have 500 complete Bibles by 2050 – hopefully by then I will be sitting next to Jesus, cheering everyone on. At the moment we are working on 109 projects in many different countries, mainly in Africa. We also have 10 full time consultants and 19 in training; 364 students, and 325 full time translators. We also run literacy courses where people cannot read – because the Bible is not like a lucky charm to be displayed or dusted when the pastor visits. And all this because of God’s grace and to His glory.

Nel Claassen, a TWFTW translation consultant

The Life & Times of Translation Consultants

The Word for the World is currently working on 111 full scale Bible translation projects, each one representing a language. For 111 projects, there are only 10 full-time translation consultants! They have their plates full checking the translations against Greek and Hebrew, usually in person, but sometimes over Skype or email.

Barry Funnell, one of TWFTW’s international consultants, travels approximately 10 times per year to Asia and Africa doing consultant work, which totals about one third of the year in time away from home. He also has been doing Skype consultation in between with the Roma team from Slovakia, as you can see in the video.

Mary* is another consultant with TWFTW and has just returned from a trip to Asia, where she worked with six language teams to check their Gospel of John. The Paratext computer programme enables Mary to check six languages simultaneously because she can look at an English word-for-word translation generated by a computer of all six languages even though they are written in a script she can't read or understand. Please pray for Mary as she goes to Malawi soon to check Psalms and other Old Testament books in the Lambya project!

Please also pray for Nel Claassen, who will be in Ethiopia in May consulting on the Pentateuch, and who will also be doing an email consultation on a project in Southeast Asia. We thank God for technology that makes what we do more accessible and efficient!

If you would like to know more about becoming a consultant, visit our Volunteer page at twftw.org/volunteer.

Veronique Krüger

*Pseudonym

Freedom in Jesus Christ

Geresu, married and a father of four children, is one of the translators working on the Basketo Old Testament in Ethiopia. He came to Christ in 1981 due to his father’s illness. 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 desired to be freed from. Christ did that for him.

Geresu has been serving for a long time now as a leader in the Kale Heywet 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 the well over 90,000 Basketo speakers. Their culture has been adversely affected by years of demon worship and witchcraft and they sorely need the freedom that Christ brings!

You can make a difference to this people group through sponsoring the translation team. Visit twftw.org/donate.