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Bruce Smith's Language of the Heart

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29June, 2017 Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith

What Happens When People Receive Their Own Bible?

“We can do this. God has equipped us to do this. We should do this. We must do this.” The words above aren’t just Christian “happy talk.” They came from a group of believers in Southeast Asia when they finally realized they could have the Bible in their own language.

They had been introduced to the collaborative MAST method of translation, where believers from the local church translate Scripture together for their own people. And they quickly saw what it meant. At last they wouldn’t have to wait for foreigners to translate God’s Word for them. They could do it themselves—and they got right to work.

It’s hard to describe what it’s like for people when they receive their own Bible for the first time. It’s a profoundly emotional experience. The group I was visiting had translated 18 books of the New Testament in just a few weeks. They figured they could have the whole Bible in their native tongue after their harvest season ended—just months later.

They’d been waiting for 182 years—since their first exposure to Christianity. And now, suddenly here it was. The experience was overwhelming.

While they were translating the Bible, another wonderful thing happened:

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14February, 2017 Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith

God's Word for Every Person

Dear Friends,

I was sitting on the floor, cross-legged, shoulder to shoulder, in a tight circle of house church leaders in the Middle East. Each of them had risked his life to get to this gathering. Each of them had risked his life multiple times by following Christ and leading others to follow Him. They invited me into their circle to discuss their vision for Bible translation in the Middle East—and beyond.

The one I call Silas was already leading Bible translation in three languages. He had recruited more than two dozen translators to complete Luke, Acts, and Genesis. In the prior year, more than half of these translators had been killed or kidnapped. 

Silas and the others were undeterred in their vision and commitment. He was ready to publish and distribute these books—the first Scripture ever translated into these languages.

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31January, 2017 Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith

Refugees and Oil Stains

Back in the 1990s, I became friends with a man named Bruce Kennedy. I met him because he was the chairman of the board for Mission Aviation Fellowship, the ministry in which I served at that time. I had known of Bruce for some time before I met him. He was well-known in aviation circles as the president and chairman of Alaska Airlines and Alaska Air Group. After retiring from the airline, Bruce decided he wanted to learn to fly as a pilot. Soon after he got his pilot’s license, he phoned me to ask if I would help him find an airplane to purchase. I located a pristine Cessna 182 in Anoka, Minnesota. He and I flew to Anoka to complete the purchase, then flew the airplane together from Minnesota to Washington State where he lived. During that flight he and I bonded deeply—but that’s another story. Fifteen years later, Bruce died in that airplane—but that is also another story.

As I got to know Bruce and his wife Karleen, I was drawn to them by their down-to-earth practicality. As a corporate titan, they could have chosen to live in seclusion and high society—but they didn’t. I remember a conversation I had with Bruce about wealthy people. I remember it because of one specific comment he made. I can’t pretend to quote him, so I’ll just paraphrase. He said—my friends are the kind of people who leave oil stains on my driveway.

You see, Bruce and Karleen had a personal ministry to refugees.

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27January, 2017 Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith

Thank You!

Praise God! Faithful partners just helped do something bold—raise enough money to bring 153 computer tablets to Bible translators in the field—in one day.

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As President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, Dr. Bruce A. Smith has made it his life-long goal to reach as many people as possible with the Gospel through the ministry of Bible translation—affecting hundreds of language groups who still need the Bible translated into their heart language. Bruce and his wife Jan have two daughters, two sons-in-love, and are the proud grandparents of four grandsons.

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