Bandwagons and Overgrown Paths

Did you catch the video of me pouring ice water over my head this week? No.

At the risk of pouring cold water on a bandwagon that is already drenched in cold water, why would I choose not to participate in such an obviously compassionate, generous, and fun trend? And why would I choose to blog about choosing not to participate?

I’ve never been much for bandwagons. Bandwagons are fancy vehicles designed to showcase the band as they ride the parade route in their neighborhood. But they generally get poor gas mileage and are not good for getting through rough terrain.

Now, if I was the President of the ALS Association I’d be pretty happy with the multi-million dollar boost in donations this summer.

I’ll have to pass on this bandwagon – and all the other bandwagons as well.

There’s a road less traveled, actually overgrown paths cutting through the deserts, jungles, mountains, and warzones where people mostly live in invisible desperation.

There are no parades or bandwagons in these neighborhoods. Just anonymous people being neighborly, sharing a meal, or tea, and conversation. Connecting heart to heart. Caring for one another.

… thinking together about eternal truths.

I guess I’d just rather walk.

Electrical Power Specialist Needed

Wycliffe Associates is looking for a person with an adventurous spirit called by God to be a part of our Technology Advancement team based in Orlando, FL.  The primary objective is to research, design, build, install, and maintain electrical systems to ensure that remote Bible translation teams have the power they need to do their jobs effectively.

You will impact eternity with your skills by developing electrical solutions (battery backup, generator, solar, etc…) to power Bible Translation Acceleration Kits, Print on Demand systems, facilities environmental controls, and much more.  You will then creatively deploy these systems to the field where you will assist in the installation and train local personnel to manage them through documentation, training, and updating solutions for longevity.

We need an innovator who is able to look at unique power challenges and develop creative solutions. We need a technician willing to answer God’s call and travel to the uttermost parts of the world! Knowledge of computer systems is a plus.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about this opportunity just reply to this email or phone Ruben Garay toll-free at 1-800 THE WORD (800-843-9673). Ruben can give you more details about the qualifications and job requirements as well as connecting you with others on our Tech Advance team.

Help us assure that Bible translation teams have the power they need to speed God’s Word to the nations!

Researcher Needed

What kind of team do you think of when I say “teamwork?” This is a question I often pose to people considering joining our Wycliffe Associates team.

Most people think of a sports team. I often describe our ministry team as similar to a basketball team. We aim for frequent scoring, have very few timeouts, and do a lot of work while we are nearly out of breath.

But imagine a basketball team on the court with moving, or disappearing, baskets. This is one of the ways I describe what Wycliffe Associates is experiencing right now.

For many years the data on Bible translation has been quite stable and predictable. It was easy to know which languages still needed Bible translation.

But since the pace of new translation starts has accelerated dramatically in recent years, and because much of the data on language needs is 20 to 40 years old, we need to update the language data for our strategic planning.
We are building a team of researchers to update this information through collaboration with our partners in Bible translation worldwide.

We are looking for people with research and project management experience to survey language databases, update data through communication with local teams, identify global patterns relevant to Bible translation, and carefully manage data detail at the individual language level.

Computer database skills and high-speed Internet connection are essential. Data mapping experience would be ideal. We can use researchers full-time or part-time from any location.

If you or someone you know would like to know more about this opportunity, just reply to this email or phone Judy Yon toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Judy will give you more details on the qualifications and job requirements, and will connect you with other members of our research team.

You could be a part of the team that helps assure the highest quality of information as we continue our efforts to speed God’s Word to every nation!

Five-Talent Stewards

The parable of the talents is part of Jesus’ response to his disciples’ questions just before he is betrayed, arrested, and crucified. It is part of his final teaching, followed in a few chapters by the Great Commission.

It seems odd to me that modern English translators continue to use the word “talent” to describe the money entrusted to the servants in this parable.

There may be good reasons for doing so, but the obvious confusion with personal abilities could distract us from the lesson in financial stewardship.

Admitting that the master decides how much to entrust to each servant, the clear lesson is that our stewardship choices matter to the master. But what, exactly, is the lesson?

Some see the lesson summarized in Matthew 25:27—put the master’s money on deposit with the bankers so that at least it bears interest.

This sounds like prudent stewardship, right?

What about the servants who risked everything? That certainly doesn’t sound like prudent stewardship. It sounds reckless. Yet these stewards are the ones the master praises.

So, as servant stewards we obviously want to avoid the modern equivalent of burying the master’s resources in a hole. But after this the test is more difficult.

Do we aim for safe and predictable interest, or do we risk it all for the master?

I wish that Jesus would have included a fourth servant in this parable. You know . . . the one who risks it all, and loses it all. It would be nice to know how the master would view that outcome.

But maybe that outcome is actually impossible.

Maybe in risking it all for the Master, we cannot lose.

Computer and Audio Engineering Mentors Needed in Nepal

Nepal’s Christian population is less than three percent of their total population.

With 47 languages without one verse of Scripture, Nepal is in the top 10 nations of the world in terms of needing Bible translation.

The good news is that Nepali Christians are working hard to launch Bible translations in all of these languages as soon as possible. But while these local partners excel in language and cultural understanding, they are asking Wycliffe Associates to strengthen their technical team.

We are currently recruiting for two positions to train and mentor Nepali staff in Computer Support and Audio Engineering. These positions may be full-time or part-time, located in Nepal or accomplished by traveling to Nepal periodically.

The Computer Support trainer will mentor Nepali IT staff in hardware and software support for field translation teams. Experience with Linux is essential. This trainer is needed immediately.

The Audio Engineer will mentor Nepali staff in all aspects of audio recording, mixing, and editing. Recordings will be made both in a sound studio and in village settings. Audio recording of Scripture passages is essential for distribution in oral cultures. This mentor is also needed immediately.

If you, or someone you know, is interested to learn more about how technical experience can be used to strengthen the Nepali translation teams and increase their effectiveness, just reply to this email or phone Jennifer Cunneen toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673).

Jennifer can give you more details and put you into contact with our team in Nepal to learn more about these service opportunities.

Thank you for helping us get the Word out!

Our Legacy

Looking at a child is like looking into the future.

If the child is healthy and happy, surrounded by family, exploring the world and learning new things, our optimism for a bright future increases.

But if the child is gaunt and dirty, alone and afraid, the future looks bleak.  

We are often willing to go to great lengths to improve the physical welfare of a child because we know that it can change the course of his or her entire life.

Wycliffe Associates serves Bibleless people. Sadness, hopelessness, and grief surround people without God’s life-changing Word.

There is a sense that time is running out for the aged, that the scars of sin are etched deeply into their hearts and are consuming their lives. Getting God’s Word to the oldest generation is urgent.

It is their last hope to move from suffering to salvation.

But for the children, Bible translation has the power to completely transform their lives. We understand the implications for eternal life, but with our own eyes we also see the evidence of the impact in their lives here and now.

Our stewardship of time and treasure, are making a personal impact in lives every day, giving kids and those like them hope for this lifetime and for eternity!

Assistant Center Manager Needed in Eurasia

This is a unique position that directly serves local, national, and regional Christian leaders. It requires a unique combination of skill both in serving people effectively and managing facilities efficiently.

For several years Wycliffe Associates has been working with other partners to develop a leadership training center that serves men and women throughout this region.

As the interest in this training increased, facilities have been expanded and improved. And additional land and buildings are planned in order to serve larger groups.

To support this continued growth, we are looking for an individual or couple to serve as Assistant Center Manager(s) while training local personnel to take on this responsibility in the coming years.

The person or couple will be the public “face” of the center for visitors coming from several countries, responsible for creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Service responsibilities include assisting with event scheduling, arranging transportation, guest reception, meal preparation, and meeting the personal needs of the guests.

Facilities management includes maintenance of two houses and an apartment, light construction, and oversight of grounds and housekeeping. Record keeping, stock control, and site security are also responsibilities of this position.

The ideal candidate for this position will have strong interpersonal skills, be service oriented and organized, and has some building maintenance and construction background.

The ability to speak Russian or Persian (aka Farsi) is helpful, but not required. In lieu of the ability to speak one of these languages, it would be a priority for the incumbent to learn basic communication skills in the local language as quickly as possible.

If you, or someone you know, have a heart for serving local leaders that are on the front lines of Christian ministry, just reply to this email or call Judy Yon toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673).

Judy will give you additional details regarding the qualifications required and put you in contact with our team on location to answer any questions that arise.

Pray with us that God will connect us with the right couple or individual to meet this strategic need.

Thanks!

How Pain Inspires Bible Translation

For the past 12 years, pain has been a violent intruder in our family. It began with a torn piece of cartilage in my daughter’s left shoulder, but like a virus, it now infects every aspect of our lives. It exhausts us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Our prayers for healing and relief from the pain have ebbed and flowed through seven shoulder surgeries, each one more horrible than the previous. Hundreds of friends have joined us in prayer, encouraging us with their care and compassion. But the weight of prayers unanswered in meaningful ways compounds our pain. I read Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians and admit that I feel crushed, despairing, abandoned, and destroyed.

And in this moment, I feel precisely what millions of others feel throughout their lives: hopelessness.

For most of my life, pain and hopelessness have been theoretical, abstract problems faced by others. Even though I have spent my adult life attempting to bring hope to hopeless people around the world, I had never felt that pain myself—until now.

In this moment, I have a choice that millions do not have. I choose to translate my empathy into action because although I feel hopeless, I am not without hope. I have God’s Word.

Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (NIV).

Pain has made Biblelessness more personal for me and has deepened my sense of urgency for speeding God’s Word to the nations. Hopelessness is a terrible feeling, and it’s precisely the feeling that people without God’s Word have.

But you and I have the remedy in our hands, and the opportunity to give hope to the hopeless.

Turning the Corner

I sat in the back row . . . listening and praying from a heart overflowing with thanksgiving. The leaders up front spoke with conviction born from perseverance through severe challenges. Their love for God, and for His Word, overflowed from their hearts. At the tables around them, other African and Asian leaders listened intently, taking notes in their own languages, leaning to whisper translations for their colleagues, soaking in every word. The encouragement flowed smoothly from heart to heart like cool and refreshing water. Creativity, energy, motivation, and commitment were rising to new levels!

I wish you could meet these leaders, Alex, Efi, Marnix, and Diolia; Peter, Boureima, Beatrice, and Cyrus. To my knowledge, this was the first gathering of its kind in modern Bible translation. African and Asian leaders in Bible translation came together to share experiences and encouragement, to sharpen one another, and to explore ways to increase the impact of their ministries in the communities they serve.

Normally these gatherings are organized, and their agendas controlled, by Americans or Europeans. When I first heard about the plan for this gathering of African and Asian leaders, I was thrilled. These are men and women whom I have come to know, respect, and love during 14 years of partnership in Bible translation in their nations. They are insiders in Bibleless communities, personal stakeholders in the outcome of Bible translation, with understanding and insight into the implications that outsiders can only understand remotely.

When they invited me to attend this gathering, my first response was to decline. I did not want to compromise their conversation. I wanted them to speak to one another freely and unguardedly. But they winsomely persisted in reaching out to me. They invited me to listen . . . and to follow their leadership. I couldn’t decline.

To me it felt like turning a corner. For a long time, I sensed that this turn was coming, but I saw only uncertain alleyways or apparent dead-ends until this gathering. Now the new direction seems obvious and clear. Our international partners are leading Bible translation into a new season of effectiveness.

Helen Keller once said, “A bend in the road is not the end of the road . . . unless you fail to make the turn.”

Let’s turn together!

Experienced Language Survey Coordinator Needed for the DRC

One of the significant remaining challenges for Bible translation is in the heart of Africa—the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nearly as large in area as all of Western Europe, linked primarily by rivers and seasonally impassable dirt roads through the dense tropical jungle, the physical and logistical challenges to Bible translation are immense.
Estimates for remaining languages needing Bible translation in this area range from 117 up to 175.
The underlying problem is that much of the language data is from regional surveys accomplished more than 30 years ago. Since then, years of regional and internal conflicts have certainly impacted the language populations.
In order to proceed strategically toward our Vision 2025 goal to begin Bible translations in every language needing one, we need to update the language survey information immediately.
For this specialized task, we need someone who can design the research, manage a nationwide team, overcome challenges, and document the findings to support beginning translations in each of these languages.
In order to begin Bible translations as soon as possible, our goal is to complete a comprehensive nationwide language survey within two years.
In order to accomplish this, we will need to recruit every possible partner, working in close coordination with national denominations, church planting networks, and a wide range of mission organizations to gather data.
Ideally, this position should be based in the DRC capital, Kinshasa. However, with extensive travel, it may be possible to manage this survey from a base outside the DRC. French language would be a major plus.
If you, or someone you know, would like more information about this position, just reply to this email or phone Tim Coleman at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Tim will connect you with our DRC team and give you more details about the job requirements.
We are specifically looking for someone with previous experience in language survey. We know that this narrows the field of candidates significantly, so we are relying on each of you to spread the word about this position in order to find the person God has prepared for this vital work.

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