An ocean of trees.
That’s how the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) impressed me the first time I visited. I had just flown a small airplane across the Atlantic, so I had a fresh impression of the ocean’s vastness.
Then I had flown across the Western Sahara desert. From horizon to horizon, an ocean of sand. As I flew into Central Africa, the contrast of emerald green trees was breathtaking. It truly is a jungle out there!
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a high strategic priority for Bible translation in Africa, with around 3.5 million people without Scripture—speaking 91 different languages.
In recent years we’ve been steadily increasing our support for Bible translation there, partnering with local Christians committed to getting God’s Word to their people. Today we have the opportunity to share in launching translations in several of these languages, and you may be the key!
We are recruiting for a Language Program Manager to coordinate the teamwork and budgets for these new translation teams. We also need an IT Specialist to manage the communications network, linking remote teams to their main office.
Both of these positions are located in Gemena, DRC. This is the provincial center in the northwestern region, a city of around 138,000 people. The international team there uses French as their working language; so get ready to learn conversational French!
No language experience is required for the Language Program Manager position, but we are looking for someone with solid management experience. Naturally the IT Specialist needs to have network, hardware, and software support skills.
If you or someone you know, would like to know more about these opportunities, just reply to this email or call Tim Coleman toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Tim can give you the details and connect you with our team and partners living in Gemena.
Give us a call!
According to the Joshua Project, approximately one third of the people groups worldwide that are unreached by Christianity live in one nation—India.
It has more than five times the number of unreached people groups than the second largest country of need, China.
For several years, we have been strengthening our support for Bible translations in India. Much of this support has been focused in the northern regions of the country, close to the translation teams that we are serving.
But several of the key Indian partner organizations we work with are based in the southern regions of the country. While we are continuing our support in the north, our next step to strengthen Bible translation in India will be in the south—in Bangalore.
We are recruiting a Team Leader to join our Indian partners, identify high-priority roles that will increase the strategic impact of these partners in Bible translation, coordinate with our Recruiting team to assign qualified personnel, and provide local planning and support that maximizes their effectiveness and efficiency.
The ideal candidate for this position will have strong planning and administration skills, ability to work with an international and cross-cultural team, a love for people, and a heart for getting God’s Word to those still without it.
If you or someone you know is interested to learn more about this opportunity, just reply to this email or phone Jennifer Cunneen toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Jennifer will give you more details and connect you with our team members and partners in India.
This is a great opportunity for an individual or couple to increase the effectiveness of key partners working together to speed God’s Word to the largest population of Bibleless people in the world.
Take a step of faith. Give us a call!
When people think of Tanzania, they may picture wild animals migrating across the Serengeti, the majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro, or exotic offshore Zanzibar.
All of these visions are compelling. But beyond the natural beauty is the second-largest population of people without Scripture in Africa.
With 129 unique languages spoken in Tanzania, more than 60 are without one verse of Scripture. The good news is that an international team is hard at work to advance Bible translation in all of these languages.
Cluster translation strategies, working in several related languages simultaneously, are speeding Scripture to new communities. And technology is being leveraged to improve collaboration and connectivity of remote teams.
Today our highest priority need for the Bible translation team in Tanzania is for an Operations Coordinator.
The Operations Coordinator is responsible for planning, coordinating, and managing maintenance and construction of all facilities for the team.
They also plan matters relating to housing and office priorities, office personnel, operational procedures, security, and operating expenses. There are also opportunities to participate in national training.
Building construction or maintenance experience, good planning and organizational skills, and an interest to work in an international team are essential.
If you, or someone you know, are interested in learning more about this opportunity to advance Bible translation in Tanzania, just reply to this email or phone Tim Coleman toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9763). Tim will give you more details and connect you with our team in Tanzania to answer any questions that arise.
For anyone that enjoys God’s creatures and creation, and has a heart for His Word, serving in Tanzania is a unique opportunity.
Take a step of faith — give us a call!
Because of the international nature of Bible translation most of the high-priority positions we need to fill are overseas. If that has been an obstacle to your involvement in the past—today might be YOUR day!
In order to support innovative Bible translation strategies we need to fill two key positions in the U.S.
The Operations Manager position is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This manager will report to the President of one of our strategic partner organizations and be responsible for delegating work assignments, managing workflow milestones and timelines, coordinating with marketing and accounting functions, problem solving, and providing executive reports.
The ideal candidate for this position will be a self-starter, comfortable working with business computing software, detail oriented, with strong oral and written communication skills, have a basic understanding of accounting, and have a heart for reaching people with God’s Word.
The Network Engineer and Systems Administrator will report to the IT Manager and be responsible for organizational information technology and architecture.
Ideally, this person will have server management, security, and data continuity expertise. Cisco networking, MySQL, and Linux administration experience is preferred. Occasional travel to the Minneapolis office will be required but this function may operate from any technically accessible location. Some international travel may be needed to support field teams.
If you or someone you know would be interested to learn more about either of these positions, just reply to this email or phone Erika Herman at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Erika will give you more details and connect you with the hiring managers.
These are great opportunities to support innovative strategies to accelerate Bible translation worldwide from a base in the U.S. Give us a call to see how you can be a part of the Bible translation team!
Bruce Smith President/CEO
Wycliffe Associates PO Box 620143, Orlando FL 32862 — 1-800-THE WORD http://www.wycliffeassociates.org
In our ongoing evaluation of remaining needs for Bible translation in Africa, we have solid strategies in place across central Africa, but recognize that we need to strengthen our strategies for Southern Africa.
Approximately 120 languages in South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar are targeted for Bible translation to begin in the coming years.
We are responding to these opportunities along with other partners in the Southern Africa Initiative. Our most important response is recruiting for high-priority positions.
At this point we need to fill three specific positions, all of which will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa. English is the working language for these translation teams, and direct flights to Johannesburg depart from several US locations.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about these opportunities to advance Bible translation, just reply to this email or phone Erika Herman toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Erika will be glad to give you more details and connect you with other team members.
Give us a call to learn more about how you can share in speeding God’s Word to 120 language communities throughout Southern Africa!
PO Box 620143, Orlando FL 32862 — 1-800-THE WORD
In recent years, Wycliffe Associates has been increasing our personnel and financial investments in Indonesia to expand and accelerate Bible translation.
Physical infrastructure, information infrastructure, aviation resources, and partner relationships are in place to speed God’s Word to hundreds of language communities across Indonesia in the coming years. With all of these resources in place, our highest priority is recruiting people for key positions.
Just last year, we completed a guesthouse facility in the southeastern Indonesian city of Kupang. It serves translation teams that are currently working in 20 languages throughout the province, with plans to begin translations in 60 additional languages in the coming years.
The couple that has been managing this guest facility for the past year will be completing their commitment this December, so we are now recruiting for their replacement.
We are looking for a couple or individual with the gift of hospitality, administrative strengths, and a love for God’s Word. The team in Kupang includes people from several countries and works closely with the Indonesian partner staff.
This is a unique opportunity to be a part of an international team impacting Bible translation on the front lines.
If you, or someone you know, would like more information about this opportunity to support Bible translation in Indonesia, just reply to this email or phone Erika Herman toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673).
Gary will provide additional details on the job requirements and connect you with other members of the translation team in Indonesia.
Thank you for your support for Bible translation. This could be your opportunity to serve!
An exciting opportunity is opening for us to advance Bible translation in 18 languages on the island nation of Madagascar. Initial translation work is underway in 10 languages, but is limited by a lack of physical and technical infrastructure.
Our recent evaluation of the challenges and opportunities convinced us that developing a support center for existing translation teams, and for training additional national translators, will be essential to speeding God’s Word to the people of Madagascar in the coming years.
Maximizing the benefit of the physical and technical infrastructure will require an experienced and entrepreneurial leader.
The location for this center is in the city of Toliara on the southwest coast of the island. Experienced linguistic and literacy teams are already working from this location, giving their best effort to cover all the responsibilities of a growing strategy.
But this is not the best use of their time and talents.
Building a team with appropriate managerial and information technology skills, engaging both nationals and expatriates, will strengthen the current teams and set the stage for launching Bible translation in the remaining eight languages in the next few years.
If you, or someone you know, would like more information regarding this opportunity, just reply to this email or phone Tim Coleman toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Tim can give you more information about the team, location, and job requirements.
We are trusting God to provide the right person for this position so that His Word can reach every language and every heart with every verse.
You could be this person!
One of our key strategic partners in Bible translation in the Middle East is a commercial translation company. Providing document translation services for the business community has proven to be a great way to build experience for national translators preparing to begin Bible translation in local languages. We had a Business Manager preparing to lead this team, but we recently learned that he is not available. This puts us on a tight schedule to recruit another manager.
We are looking for someone with small business management experience to lead an entrepreneurial team of eight translators. As with any small business, the management challenge includes marketing, administration, financial management, and team building. Working cross-culturally adds both an additional challenge and a deeply enriching experience.
If you, or someone you know, would like more information about this opportunity to advance Bible translation in the Middle East, just reply to this email or phone Gary Hand at 1-800 THE WORD (800-843-9673). Gary can give you more detailed information about this position and put you in contact with other members of this team.
This is a unique opportunity to serve side-by-side with dedicated local Christians committed to seeing God’s Word impact their language community. You could be the encouragement they need, the partner to strengthen the team, the answer to their prayer. We are praying that YOU will respond!
Fifteen minutes after the SIL airplane left the weather in Mt. Tawa actually cleared enough for it to land, but by then it was halfway to Ukarumpa. We arranged for another radio rendezvous at 3pm to update the weather and consider plan B. Then it rained some more.
Neil, Heath and I gathered in the living room to pray. When it came to my turn what came to my mind was thankfulness for the safety of the plane and passengers. The Mt. Tawa airstrip is not easy on its best days. At least one airplane has been damaged when downdrafts forced a plane dangerously below the approach end of the runway. More than a few others have had hard landings as they descended into rising terrain. It has been 13 years since my phone stopped ringing in the middle of the night to let me know about an airplane incident or accident, but I have not forgotten the anguish of sitting with a widow and children after a fatality. The SIL pilot made the safe decision. That was a good thing. We admitted our dependence upon God and prayed that His will be done.
After praying I stared out of Neil’s living room window up the ridge at the airstrip, as if the heat of my stare could make the rain and fog evaporate. I thought of all the upcoming connecting flights that would disconnect if I didn’t get to Ukarumpa Tuesday. And it kept raining.
The rain stopped around 245pm. As it pushed north we began to see the clouds thinning to the south and blue sky peeking through. The fog began rising from the valleys on the afternoon air. When Neil gave the 3pm weather update to the pilots in Ukarumpa he reported that the ridges to the south were clear, the ridges to the north were clearing, and the normal traffic pattern was open. After weighing the implications of a return flight Tuesday afternoon against adding a flight to get us on Wednesday the pilot decided another flight Tuesday was a better option. That decision was made around 320pm. At 321pm Heath and I walked out the door with our suitcases and backpacks, as well as Neil’s, to make the hike to the airstrip. Neil would stay back to give the pilot another weather update at 4pm while the plane was en route.
During the hike up to the airstrip our entourage grew to between 80 and 100 people. Everyone wanted to carry our cargo, shake our hands, and hug our necks. Walking alone the hike might take 10 minutes. With a crowd it took about 20 minutes. We made it to the top end of the airstrip and parked our gear to wait another 35 minutes for the plane. Heath entertained the crowd first by pulling out a bag of mini-Snickers candy bars and boxes of Nerds. He wisely delegated the distribution responsibility to our Folopa friend James. As always, distribution was by clan and family. That distracted everyone for several minutes. The kids held three or four tiny Nerds candies in their hands like they were priceless treasure. When the candy ran out Heath regaled the crowd with tales of jumping out of airplanes and other military adventures, all translated by James.
Neil was winding his way through the village as the SIL plane came into sight. The plane made its normal circle to approach and touched down around 415pm. The pilot loaded our gear while Heath and I made another round of hugs and handshakes. Neil moved from embrace to embrace toward the plane. More than a few eyes were misty. Some of those were mine. I never know if the next time I see these dear people will be when we stand around God’s throne. I remembered the words of the old Folopa warrior who spoke in church describing their uncertainty whether Neil would ever return.
As the plane lined up for departure the Folopa waved helplessly at us. The pilot eased the throttle forward. We tumbled down the hill and fell into the sky. With multiple cloud layers and scattered rain along our route back to Ukarumpa the options were to go high and hope for a way to descend visually at our destination (since there is no instrument approach in Ukarumpa) or to go low and hope that the gap between the clouds and the ridges was sufficient to allow the Kodiak to slip through. The pilot opted for the low route. The copilot (me) was appropriately supportive. Flying low in spectacular mountain terrain, over deep canyons, by sheer rock cliffs, above cascading waterfalls and past isolate villages is breathtaking – in a good way. For most of the flight the clouds and rain posed no particular problem as we cruised along at 165 knots. But as we got closer to our destination the weather report, and view from our windshield, indicated low clouds and rain at the airport. About 20 miles out from Ukarumpa clouds and ground began noticeably converging. The pilot slowed the plane to 110 knots in order to have more time to evaluate options and to increase the maneuverability of the plane. We hugged the ridges to our right so that we had maximum space to turn left if needed. Rain blocked several ridges. We passed them by as we continued to survey the options. Airports behind us were open if needed. Our pilot made radio contact with another SIL on the ground at the airport for a weather update. The ridges surrounding the airport were covered in clouds. The only possible approach was from the northwest. Fortunately that was precisely our location at that moment. Through light rain we could see a gap between the clouds and the ridge, so the pilot turned across the ridge. As we crossed into the Aiyura valley we flew out of the rain and saw the airport just a mile away. The pilot quickly transitioned for the landing and brought us to a soft touchdown. As the ground crew unloaded our baggage a light rain began falling. If we had been 5 minutes later we probably would have had to spend the night at another village. Instead, by God’s grace, we were back on schedule for our onward flights.
The SIL pilots here know that I used to fly with MAF. We all came from the same schools and had the same flight training. There is high respect and good camaraderie between SIL and MAF pilots. I told the SIL pilot that he was good enough to fly for MAF. He smiled and accepted it as the compliment I intended.
As I changed my shirt later that evening I noticed that I both the left and right sides were stained by the sweat of Folopa embraces. I may not wash that shirt.
Heavy rain began falling at 4pm on Monday afternoon, complicating our computer training and satellite Internet connection. We managed to run the BGAN under an umbrella for a little while during the rain, but the wind was blowing the rain and we had to quit. We had some trouble coordinating Oliver’s editorial authorization in the Paratext translation software, but managed to get it sorted out during the evening. Heath also installed printer software on Oliver’s computer so that he can print translation drafts for village testing.
Even with the rain pouring hard all evening we had visitors stopping by to say goodbye. The stream of visitors slowed around 730pm, so we sat in Neil’s living room, drank Milo, read scripture, talked, and prayed. These are precious moments. After Sunday’s exertion I was fading early last night, so I headed to bed around 845pm. I figured I’d fall right asleep but the pouring rain was worrying me for our flight today. I don’t know how long I laid awake before I fell asleep. Throughout the night I kept waking and falling back asleep. I was imagining every kind of nightmare about not getting home for some undefined period of time, missing appointments and expectations. I think I woke for good about 4am and just kept praying away the worry as it continued to rain. I was also trying to imagine what kind of weather pattern might create 12 hours of continuous rain, hoping that it was a frontal passage that would push through and leave clear air behind. When the rain stopped around 5am it didn’t actually feel like an answer to prayer, but I figured at least the pilots might not have to fight their way through rain to reach us.
Neil normally gets up around 6am to boil water for coffee and tea. The HF radio comes on just before the 630am aviation radio schedule. When Neil gave the weather report for Mt. Tawa it was 100% cloud coverage all the way to the ground. They made a plan to reconnect on the radio at 1130am for another weather check before the plane was scheduled to arrive around 130pm. Neil decided to celebrate our departure today with another pancake breakfast. We ate pancakes soaked with Australian honey and had hot tea to drink. We stayed at the table a while to read scripture and pray together. I cleared the table and as I did the dishes I was looking out the kitchen window to the south and began to see the clouds thinning and patches of blue beyond.
After breakfast we walked up the path toward the school to watch the kids assemble and listen to them singing. As we walked the clouds continue to rise and thin. Neil wanted to go up to the airstrip “phone booth” to call Carol, so we continued walking up the path. Oliver’s two youngest boys, Craig and Keison, walked the entire way holding Heath’s and my hands. They loved swinging around on our arms. Naturally we had to shake hands and hug everyone along the way. We got up to the airstrip about 830am. By then the airstrip was clear, but the approach was still cloudy – similar to conditions when we arrived last week. By 10am the clouds were continuing to rise and thin, so it seemed likely the plane would be able to get in to pick us up.
About 1130am it began pouring rain again. As the rain fell from the clouds overhead into the already saturated jungle fog began filling the valleys. It didn’t look good. The rain actually stopped a few minutes before we heard the SIL plane approaching. Through the cloud layers I occasionally glimpsed the plane as it made a wide circle overhead, surveying the weather. The pilot called on the radio to let us know that he was not going to be able to land.
Normally I’ve been the pilot sitting in the airplane making these decisions, secure in the knowledge that I would get home. As the sound of the airplane faded into the distance I was reminded what it feels like to be left behind.